Here is my report from a trip I made last week to Vilnus onboard LOT Bombardier Q400. After visiting Riga and Tallinn in January Vilnius and Lithuania was a natural choice for a summer long weekend. There were 2 options to reach the Lithuanian capital: direct flight with LO or a WAW-RIX-VNO trip with AirBaltic and there was just a small price difference in favour of BT while no luggage included and flight back in early morning hours made LOT a much better choice. You can of course go from Poland to Lithuania by car/bus or even by train and the prices are quite competitive, especially those of the bus companies but the journey lasts ages as the roads between the two countries are not the best and a trip without flying is not a trip… :)
We arrived at the airport 2 hours before the flight as the NATO summit was about to begin and additional security measures have been introduced at the airport. We didn't notice anything unusual, printed our boarding passes at a self check-in kiosk and proceeded to the LOT bag drop point. I've checked us in the previous day online to find out our seats were already chosen by the airline itself with no possibility to change them as all the other seats were marked as occupied - a great strategy to make us use in the future "may favourite seat" option for an extra fee of course…. Dear LOT, you're getting so low cost style!
The security check was as unpleasant as always with staff barking at the passengers in a language that seems to have nothing to do with Polish or English. Is this ever going to change?
The airside seemed quite busy with some charter flights, LO wide bodies and the flights to DXB and DOH. The weather changed from while to while, strong wind blew away rainy clouds and finally some sunshine appeared.
Travel Service/Sunwings to Olbia
EK 777 departing to DXB
QR A332 to DOH
AF A320 to CDG
My flight was from the gate number 1, it didn't seem at first the flight would be full.
A standard bus ride and we were on the Q400 tarmac. Good that the weather conditions changed as the boarding was so long…
LOT still uses the Q400 in Eurolot livery despite Eurolot not existing anymore. I hope they'll repaint them one day.
There are a lot of young athletes on this flight, junior rowing championships as we find out later take place in Trakai, close to Vilnius. We wait 20 more minutes for passengers arriving from other destinations and finally the cabin is full with someone in the business class too.
That's why I wanted to change my seat… the engine takes it all!
We leave our stand 20 mintues later than the departure hour, a quick taxi and we are about to take the runway. It's very windy and that can be felt while the aircraft accelerates. The take off itself in such weather conditions and such a small plane is very unpleasant and bumpy but in a couple of minutes everything is ok.
The airport view after we turn right
Flying over Warsaw city center
LOT inflight magazine - ICN is LOT's new destination from October 2016
Safety card both sides
Air sickness bag
Standar LOT service in economy is a chocolate bar and a glass of water, fortunately the BOB offer is quite resonable. A small bottle of white wine costs 2,5 euro.
I have to admit that the FAs on this flight are very nice and professional. In LOT you never know what you gonna get, especially if it comes for the "experienced" FAs that in many cases kept the rudness characteristic for the old communist times. On this flight however the senior female FA and younger male and female are more than nice, very attentive, present in the cabin all flight long. There was a lady sitting not far away from me looking somehow sad or ill and a FA approached her, asked if she was fine, had headache or something and if she could help in any way. Haven't seen that before in LOT. Congraulations for this young lady, she was doing exactly what she is supposed to. Sad it is still so rare.
As we approach VNO the weather seems not to be any better. Looks like it's gonna be a rather windy and rainy stay.
Refueling starts even before we deboard. Only the front doors are in use so it takes some time to leave.
The airport seems quite empty. I've been to VNO in the winter having a combined flight RIX-VNO-WAW and not leaving the aircraft. The terminal and apron make it feel small and quiet.
Departures board and BT advertisment (it operates some direct flights from VNO and connects it 5 x day with RIX)
Baggage belt display, it takes not more than 7 minutes for the bag to come
Found this one in one of the lavatories. Yes, a renovation is needed!
The arrivals building seems ancient and doesn't look like airport at all, rather like a railway station. Anyway it is well maintained and interesting inside and outside.
The bus number 3G takes us to our hotel located in the city center.
I'll describe my stay in Vilnius togehter with some pics in the report on the flight back.
Thanks for reading.
Warsaw - WAW
Vilnius - VNO
I enjoyed the flight despite being disappointed at first with the seating policy. Q400 is ok for a flight lasting 0:55, the legroom is very good and the service for this flight is enough. Positively surprised by the cabin crew on this flight, good job!
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