This series of flight reports chronicles my journey from Europe back to North America. The first portion of the flight was purchased from a cheap LOT fare sale between Zurich and Toronto, with a continuing flight to Vancouver on AC on a separate ticket. Like my previous TR, the journey can also be read in my blog for the original format.
The flights for this journey was as follow: LX1348 ZRH-WAW - Please read it here LO045 WAW-YYZ - Current Report AC149 YYZ-YVR - Please read it here
Magazine shelves in the Bolero Lounge
There are 2 lounge for Business class passengers to use while transiting with LOT in Warsaw Chopin airport. One is the LOT Polish lounge before the Schengen passport check and another is the Bolero lounge after passport check for international departures. Since I had plenty of time before my connecting flight, I checked into the LOT Polish operated lounge first, and with the review of this lounge conducted once before, I would not write about it again, though would add some new photos of the LOT Polish lounge and its food offerings.
Inside the LOT Polish lounge within the Schengen departure area
I had some snacks in the LOT Polish lounge and decided to head over to the Bolero lounge, where there is another passport check before leaving the Schengen region for an international flight. Fortunately there was no queue though the immigration guy seems confused about my travels. It took a while before he figured it out and cleared me through.
Entrance to the Bolero lounge for international departures
The lounge was easy to find with signs and located one floor down. This meant a different view from the LOT Polish lounge which is located one floor up from the main floor. In fact the LOT Polish lounge has no view whatsoever. And the Bolero lounge also functions as a contract lounge to several international airlines flying into Warsaw.
Airlines using the Bolero lounge
There is a lounge reception by the door of the lounge and I was let in after showing my boarding pass. Next to the reception counter there is several workstation cubicles with a green wall.
Workstations with a green wall
Compared to the LOT Polish lounge, the Bolero lounge is definitely smaller. There is a bar area right beside the workstations with the lounge chairs spread across from the bar.
Lounge foyer from the workstation
The lounge area can be split into 3 sections with the main central section located between the tarmac and the windows. By the windows there is another lounge section.
Finally, there is another section at the end close to the bathroom and shower area. This section has some dining tables and another bar setup. There is a flight information display in the middle section and the lounge was generally quite full in the afternoon with not much free seating space. Lone travellers would probably need to share if heading to this lounge in the afternoon.
Central lounge section with flight information display
As I mentioned, there is a shower area and bathroom at the end of the lounge. The area is nicely appointed with the bathroom sinks being the first space upon entering. There is natural light in the bathroom sinks as it faces the tarmac.
Beyond that there is a shower room that offers guests privacy. I like the shower room here better than the one in the LOT Polish lounge. It just seems brighter with a spacious walk-in shower equipped with a rain shower. It also has its own sink and toilet.
Shower room in the Bolero lounge
In terms of food, I think both are about the same in terms of quality and variety. There are a couple of hot food like quiches and bacon rolls along with one type of soup. Given that the timing is between lunch and dinner, there was enough for a snack.
Quiche and bacon roll
Soup pot and condiments
This lounge also has the sweet chocolate wafers and other snacks which was more or less similar to the one in the LOT Polish lounge.
Chocolates and snacks
For beverages there are the usual juices, iced tea and water in a jug along with some salad and yogurts in the fridge.
Juice and tea
A selection of wines and liquors are displayed by the bar and free for guests to consume. There is also chilled beer and soft drinks in the fridge below the buffet counter.
Wine and liquors
Beer in the fridge
Compared to the LOT Polish lounge, the Bolero Executive Lounge feels more or less similar. With more guetss in the smaller footprint, it can get quite crowded inside. The fact that it is a contract lounge serving multiple airlines and open to pass users, they offer adequate food and beverage but it can be a bit of a squeeze and for that I suggest passengers with a long layover to head to the LOT Polish lounge instead since the food and beverages are about the same.
Dining section at the end of the lounge
Considering the small Bolero lounge and I was getting quite bored, I head to the gate earlier than usual. Since the gate in Warsaw is such that passengers cannot get a nice direct view of the airplane, I was lucky to capture a nicer photo of the 787 in the sunset before reaching the gate. I got seated beside the boarding counter and noticed that they have yet to start boarding at the time listed on the boarding pass.
LOT 787 in the sunset at Warsaw Chopin airport
In fact, the agents were proactively offering passengers waiting by the gate if they wanted to upgrade to business class. There seems to be some delay here for boarding, as it was a good 10-15 minutes before they got around to board the Business class, HON Circle, Star Gold and Premium economy passengers at the same time. It was fortunate I was close to the entryway so that I manage to be one of the first to few to board.
Waiting to board by the gate
LO045 Warsaw Chopin WAW - Toronto Pearson YYZ STD-STA: 1650-2020 Actual: 1711-1942 Boeing 787-8 SP-LRE Gate 23 Seat 3F
Small Business class cabin onboard the 787
LOT Polish has a standard lie-flat Business class which is quite small as it comprises of only 3 rows of seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. The airline is positioned in the mid-tier and the service was basic for Business class passengers. On the seat itself, there is that 'table cloth' looking thing that functions like a bed sheet, a blanket and an amenity kit.
Business class seat 3E and F
Beverages of water, champagne or orange juice were offered and the crew were just doing their routine service with no small talk in between. Instead of the usual hot towel, there is a small pack of refreshing towel. There was no special greeting for any of the Polish passengers either. Cabin crew also came around with tray of newspapers and magazines, though the magazines are all in Polish language only.
View from seat 3F
Next, an amuse bouche of coconut prawn with spicy sauce was offered while passengers were still boarding. This was no issue as the boarding for Economy class was done on the door behind row 3. The amuse bouche tasted not bad at all. Menus for the flight and and dinner orders were taken after that since the boarding process took a while. With the time on the ground, I checked the contents of the amenity kit, which was a lot nicer than the one I received on my last LOT flight into Warsaw. It seems flights out of Warsaw gets the nicer amenity kits with more generous contents.
Amuse bouche onboard LOT Business Class
Inside the amenity kit
After all the passengers have boarded,the front cabin was more than half full but I got an empty seat beside me, giving me both aisle and window access.
During the taxi, the safety video was screened for business class and then separately afterwards for the back cabin. That was certainly a weird process and LOT was one of the airlines I have seen this before.
Seat back monitors
While the take-off was quick which was expected of a smaller European airport like Warsaw, the Captain announcement upon reaching cruising altitude was very long and slow. The captain did indicate an expected arrival time of 7:50pm which was earlier than expected even with out slightly delayed departure.
Immigration forms and hot towels were then distributed after the seat belt signs are turned off.
Immigration form to Canada
Aperitif orders were taken though I was surprised they did not take it with the meal order while on the ground. The full beverage menu is as follow:
Since I am onboard a Polish flight, I ordered the mead, only to discover it taste a bit like cough syrup if I must say. Thus I was glad to have the drinks served with a ramekin of cashews, since needless to say, I did not enjoy the mead at all. Fortunately, I also ordered a blackcurrant juice to go along with snack.
Nuts, mead and blackcurrant juice
Over the ear headphones
With a shorter trans-Atlantic flight, the meal was served shortly after that and the menu for the flight was as follow:
Bread was offered from the basket and the sesame roll was tasty and recommended. There was whole wheat slices too. Salad was served as starters and it came with olives and pine nuts while the other plate held the salt and pepper shakers with butter and olive oil.
Salad and bread
I had the tomato soup for my appetizer, and the soup was fresh and hearty. Garnished with tortilla chips and spinach, the soup has excellent texture and flavour.
Tomato cream soup
Service and menu orders starts from the A rows from front to back and that meant I was served last, though I did not really have to wait a long time. Main course of Gołąbki was recommended by the crew member as a Polish specialty and it was the dish that I ordered. The main course was a bit like meat balls and I would appreciate more gravy but the dish was good. As the portion was not large and I was feeling hungry, I cleared the plate.
Meat stuffed cabbage in mushroom sauce
Dessert tray has a selection of cheese, fruits and cakes. There was tiramisu, chocolate mousse and cheesecake on offer and I had the tiramisu with some fruits and a chocolate covered strawberry on the side. The dessert tray was good though the portions of the meal could have been better in my opinion.
Dessert and fruit
After the meal, I head off to the lavatory to clean my teeth and amenities inside the lavatory was decent, which is comparable to other second tier carriers. That means there are the usual lotion and refreshing towels with the lavatory maintained well enough. Do not expect any premium brands inside.
Back at my seat, I had to prepare my own bed as I switched my seat to the lie-flat mode. This is after all, Business class! Though I was not yet feeling sleepy and I continued to watch my movie and asked for a cup of tea. A lie-flat seat and a decent inflight entertainment with some movies and TV shows is all it takes to make a flight comfortable but to make a flight great, there are obviously other things at play.
Lie-flat seat for the journey
The flight continued on and I was still able to see some sunlight as we cruised past Iceland. This allowed me to take some nice shots from the air. I always enjoy seeing things from up in the air as I wonder about the people living in these parts and maybe plan for my next adventure. Being night time, I was also able to spot the settlements as it was lit up!
Town of Siglufjörður
Eventually with the cabin light already dimmed, the majority of the passengers have gone to sleep though some were still awake and that is one of the drawbacks of this cabin. The lack of privacy also meant the light diffuses easily onto the rest of the cabin. A herringbone cabin design adds more partition that cocoons each passenger, though not this one.
Dark cabin for sleeping
I had a couple of hours of sleep that was adequate since it would be night time in Toronto when I arrive. I woke up in time for the crew to offer snacks and drinks before they served dinner. Though I noted that some passengers were still asleep at this time. A blackcurrant juice and another small ramekin of cashews were placed on the table.
Shortly after a light dinner meal that was carb-heavy was served. There was no choice for passengers and a tray consisting of the salad, appetizer, a main course, a fruit salad and 2 chocolates was placed on the table. The dish was cafeteria grade and nothing exciting. Though it did keep me from becoming hungry and I was able to survive the night without any more dinner, since I just wanted some sleep after the trans-Atlantic flight.
Dinner service before landing
After the dinner service the crew cleared the tray and it was a bit chaotic with the crew busy preparing for descent and passengers hurriedly heading to the lavatory to freshen up. It was appreciated when the crew came around with candies to thank every Business class passenger as we started our descent into Toronto. The landing was smooth as we made a short taxi into the gate. Even the immigration was not that long as Business class passengers had priority disembarking. However there was a wait for the luggage and I did not notice a crack in my luggage until I arrived at the airport hotel.
Candy before arrival
For this flight, the nicer amenities and tastier food onboard made it a good flight. Especially with the prices LOT offers, the flight seems to be a good value. There was really nothing to complain about for this flight, since their customer service agent handled my request for the damaged luggage promptly and I was reimbursed fairly since the luggage was beyond repair. However I have nothing really good to say about LOT Polish as an airline either and would probably rank them on par with China Eastern and Malaysia Airlines, amongst the airlines I have tried. That means fly with them if the price is cheap, otherwise give them a pass.
Flying with LOT
Polish Airports State Company Bolero Executive Lounge (Non-Schengen)
Warsaw - WAW
Toronto - YYZ
A nicer amenity kit and tasty catering out of Warsaw (which is LOT's home base) meant the flight on LOT was not bad at all. There was a lie-flat seat and the price for their flight to North America is quite worth it for the seat and the space. A less-crowded cabin made the experience more pleasant too. I would still continue to fly them if their prices remains the same though if their competitors have the same fare, I am inclined to try other airlines as well just for the experience. Overall, it was an average flight with nothing bad but nothing outstanding either.
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