Review of Air Belgium flight Warsaw New York in Business

Airline Air Belgium
Flight LO26
Class Business
Seat 9L
Aircraft Airbus A340-300
Flight time 09:40
Take-off 08 Mar 19, 16:50
Arrival at 08 Mar 19, 20:30
KF 6 reviews
EuroAirport68
Published on 22nd May 2019

Dear readers,

This flight will lead me to my final destination Toronto. There was a direct flight VIE-YYZ operated by Austrian Airlines. However this changed at the end of April 2019. AC took over the YYZ-VIE-YYZ route and AUA started VIE-YUL-VIE. 

Here is the following routing for the whole trip: 


Routing

  • VIE-WAW / LOT Polish Airlines / Business / Embraer 175 Past
  • WAW-JFK / LOT Polish Airlines operated by Air Belgium / Business / A340-300 You are here
  • JFK-BOS / JetBlue Airways / Economy / Airbus 320 Not available
  • BOS-YTZ / Porter Airlines / Economy / DHC-8-400 Not available
  • YYZ-VIE / Austrian Airlines / Business / Boeing 767-300 Coming soon

Are you surprised to read A340-300 for a LOT flight? This is no mistake since LOT leased an Air Belgium aircraft to operate 6 flights a week to JFK. It was supposed to go on till mid-April with the Saturday flight remains with a LOT Dreamliner. LOT decided to extend the Air Belgium operations till the end of September (Source).

The trip started in Vienna and I had 6 hours between my flights at WAW. After a short break sitting in the terminal I headed outside of the terminal. I wanted to take a picture of my aicraft landing from its previous JFK flight. 

Here it is, OO-ABD. The registration will matter in that case as you will see later on in the report… 


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It was very windy outside and I didn't stay long. I headed back to the terminal. 
After a long walk I was back at the terminal at the departures level. 


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Many long haul flights of LOT leaving at the same time.


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Since I was on a connecting flight, my bag was already checked-in at VIE. Out of curiosity I decide to have a look at the check-in counters.


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LOT celebrated 90 years as can be seen at the right top corner.


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Economy check-in.


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Business check-in is quiet.


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The meeting point displays a LOT Dreamliner. 


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The LOT counter is located opposit to the Business check-in.


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I headed to the security check point and later was airside where I was a few hours ago.


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I was looking for my plane. At that moment it was still parked away and the DO&Co truck was supplying our aircraft.


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I still have some time before boarding which means that I have time to go to the Polonez lounge.


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The lounge is located on the first floor.


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The lounge is overcrowded and I can hardly find an empty seat. There are also a few fancy seats as you can see.


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Magazines are available and even one related to aviation in Polish.


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I decided to head to the business lounge located inside this same lounge. It's not better there. Also crowded and no seats available. Some people use the magazines/newspapers counters as table. I found a table at the back of the lounge. No seat. A short while after the seat on the right of the picture was available. However it's a bit too dark to see what I'm eating.


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The lounge is narrow like a corridor. At the back you can see the main room with food.


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Hot dishes (1).


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Hot dishes (2).


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Soup.


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Sorts of bread.


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Cold dishes in the fridge.


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Deserts also in the fridge.


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Snacks and fruits.


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Selection of tea and sweets. In the mirror we can see a passenger seating on an improvised ''seat''.


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Of course drinks are also available.


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I didn't want to eat too much in the lounge so as to eat everything during the flight. I had green salad with a yogurt dressing. Not really a great choice of taste, but it's light for sure.


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I had a desert. It looked good but it didn't taste very natural.


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The ladiesroom look nice and clean.


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The list of cosmetic treatments. I didn't test it.


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At the lounge's entrance you can find the opening hours for the treatments.


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I head to the boarding gate and I see that our neighbour is a LOT 787-9.


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What I suspected happened. Our aircraft was moved to our gate for a direct jetbridge access.


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Boarding was delayed. I waited there.   


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Boarding is ongoing and I head to the first entrance for the business class.


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It's quiet at the first door.


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Nobody to welcome me at the doorstep. The boarding of the business was mainly done. A flight attendant headed towards me as she saw me entering the aircraft.
Our crew was mainly from Air Belgium with one flight attendant from LOT.   


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Here is the surprise. The seats are blue/grey. A reminder of the former operator of the aircraft, Finnair in that case. That's where the registration of the aircraft has it's importance, since the aircraft has not the Air Belgium cabin (yet?). Registration OO-ABD was originally delivered to AY. 

In this aircraft there are 2 business class cabins: the big one at the front of the aircraft and the smaller one, only 3 rows and where I'll be seated. I selected seat 9L close to the window. As you can see seat 10L has a misaligned window which would make it more difficult to look outside. The cabin has a 1-2-1 configuration.  


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Middle seats in the small J section. 


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The footrest of the middle seat is damaged.


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The cabin has been adapted to the LOT flight.


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The light is adjustable.


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Headphones and water are already in place.


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Headphones ready to use.


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Pillow and blanket.


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No logo on the seatbelt.


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I have enough space for my legs.


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From this point of view I feel like on an Air Belgium flight. Unfortunately the literature pocket looks a bit damaged. 


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A flight attendant offered newspapers before leaving the gate. 


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I'm seated next to Engine Number 3. 


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As pre-departure drink I had an orange juice. 


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PSU is modern.


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Controls for the seat until it reaches a full flat position.


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Remote control for the IFE.


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Safety demonstration displayed on the IFE.


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The main screen of the IFE proudly shows an Air Belgium A343.


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As I was exploring the various IFE's sections I found the camera option.
There is a selection of movies but no music or no games.


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It looks like the camera is not working. Well it's already dark outside and the whole flight will be during night time, so quite useless on that flight.


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At least the airshow is available. 


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We took-off 50 minutes after our planned departure time. 


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The city center of Warsaw is on the right after take-off.


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Flight time on that day was 8:30 hours.


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Once we were above the clouds it was brighter.


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I switched briefly to the other side to see the sunset from seat 10A. 


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I was offered LOT slippers.


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The electrical socket is working.


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Now it's time to refill my battery! I had to look at the menu to order.


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There are 2 choices for the first course (cold dish or soup, whereas Austrian offers both of them). 3 choices for the main course.
The menu for the second meal service is on the right. It looks like there is no choice, everything will be served on the table at the same time.



I don't drink wine which means that you can make up your own opinion from the following pictures. 



Hot towel.


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The tablecloth wears the LOT logo.


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Blackcurrent juice and snacks.


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We are already flying over Norway as I was having my apetizer.


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The flight attendant brought me the first course on a tray. 
Roasted chicken breast in pepper flakes
served with tomato and pinapple salsa 



Salt and pepper.


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Cutlery branded with LOT's logo.


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No more tray for the main course.
Goose fillet in peppercorn sauce
served with rösti potatoes, red cabbage and caramelised apples 


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The meat is good and not dry.


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Still no tray for cheese and desert.


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New set of cutlery for cheese and desert.


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The cake is fresh and good.


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I finish my cake while we were cruising at the North of Scotland roughly 2 hours after take-off. 
I didn't mention the FA's job and service so far. The big J cabin was not full and the small J cabin had only 2 passengers. I thought the service was a bit slow. Although I was at the back of the J cabin the FA's didn't forget about me. The Air Belgium (KF) FA's were polite and smilling a lot. I could hear their comments in the galley about how they were going to prepare and proceed with the service. I was under the impression that they wanted to do their best to stick to LOT's instructions. It was not an easy task for them since KF was only flying for LOT for a few days prior to my flight and it was probably the first LOT flight for some of these FA's. 


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I had a hot chocolate. Not a great taste with water.


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Unfortunately outside it's dark.


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Moodlighting in the small J cabin.


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Bathroom was clean.


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I found snacks in the galley between both J cabins. The croissant was nice.


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Back at my seat to take a nap.


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5 hours left before I took my nap.


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The nap lasted roughly 2:30 hours. We were already flying over Canada.


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I think the amenity kit is quite elegant. 


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The content of the amenity kit.


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I went to another bathroom where is a window.


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Same products as in the other lavatories.


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I found another proof of the former operator of the aircraft.


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I had a chat with a few FA's. They are from various countries. I was also offered a drink. Please, another glass of black current juice.

Back at my seat I looked at the literature pocket.


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The Air Belgium safety card is only valid for aircrafts registered OO-ABD et OO-ABE.


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Other side.


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Roughly 1:15 hours before landing I received a tray with tea.  

Roasted turkey roulade with wine jelly
served with cranberry chutney

Shrimp with fennel mousse
and balsamic cream

Lentil stuffed potato dumplings
with ratatouille sauce
and green asparagus, served hot

Fresh fruit salad 


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Another set of cutlery for the meal.


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Despite the chutney the turkey remained rather dry to eat. 


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Two stuffed dumplings. I thought it was a bit too much in quantity as I already had a full meal a few hours before.


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Stuffed damplings.


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Chocolate and water to end the meal.


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The flight is nearly over.


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Fying over Long Island.


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We landed slightly earlier than expected.


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Taxying was a bit slow as we had to let some aircrafts take-off.
Passing an A380 of SQ on the way to the gate.


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Behind the 380 there was the B744 of BA's with the recently painted BOAC livery.


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We parked at Terminal 7.


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Passengers in J deboarded first but I waiting till the Economy cabin was empty to have a look and take some pictures. Configuration is 2-4-2.


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IFE in Economy.


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I was one of the last passengers to leave the aircraft. Thus I waited 1:15 to go through immigration. 
I picked up my luggage and left Terminal 7 also used  by BA.


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Flight radar 24 flight path.


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Thank you for reading.
Emilie 

See more

Verdict

Air Belgium

9.0/10
Cabin9.5
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering9.0

LOT Schengen Polonez

7.8/10
Comfort6.0
Meal/catering8.5
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Services8.5

Warsaw - WAW

8.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

New York - JFK

8.1/10
Efficiency7.0
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

The flight was really nice and too short to enjoy both meals, a longer nap and the IFE.
- the J cabin and especially the small one were nearly empty which was good for comfort. Full flat is an advantage. The throne seats are located on the left of the aircraft whereas my seat was a half throne. I was ok with that choice as I prefer to be closer from the window. The cabin was showing signs of wear.
- the content of the IFE was a bit light. A LOT aircraft would probably offer more. However it's better for me to take a nap instead of watching tv!
- Meals were good, espacially the first one. I was only disappointed with the dry turkey and the hot chocolate made with water.
- I was served by some Air Belgium FA. They were polite and smilling most of the time. From their conversations that I heard from the galley they did their best to implement LOT's guidelines in the service. The chat with them was nice.

Lounge Polonez:
Wide choice of food although my selection was not the best. My intention was to eat both meals during the flight thus I wanted to avoid eating in the lounge. The lounge was overcrowded and there was not enough seats available. No place to phone someone as my neighbour gave us a lound explainations about his work's business. No exterior views from the lounge except the view on the terminal. Good selection of cosmetic treatments but I didn't try them.

WAW: place to walk or seats available at the gate for most people who want to seat.

JFK: Long waiting time queuing at the immigration but that was my choice to wait for an empty Economy cabin.

Related

7 Comments

  • Comment 503768 by
    JW19 117 Comments

    Great report with proper length and amount of pictures. Also appreciated that it wasn't too wordy. Nice to have a female with such keen interest and meticulous to a geek details in the community. Looking forward to more reports.

  • Comment 503769 by
    ThomasDutch GOLD 385 Comments

    Hi Emilie,
    --
    While I am not familiar with LOT's J class in any terms, I thought their product (performed by Air Belgium) is quite solid for transatlantic flights. It's definitely more generous than most European carriers on this segment and with two proper hot meals. You definitely must have been stuffed on board.
    --
    I also am surprised that Air Belgium is still operating. They've made some weird choices by having their own routes from Brussels Charleroi to Hong Kong (which obviously would fail with no connecting partners) which was cancelled after just a few months before starting to wet lease their own aircraft mainly due to problems of the B787.... and according to another article, they might be ready to make another weird decision by connecting Charleroi to Fort de France twice a week.
    --
    Thanks for this great flight report.

  • Comment 503770 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4987 Comments

    Hi Emilie, as always your report is beautiful. And so exotic! You got some really nice shots of your A343!

    The seats are blue/grey. A reminder of the former operator of the aircraft, Finnair in that case.

    Wow, ok, so a LOT flight operated on an A340-300 leased from Air Belgium, which still have a Finnair cabin! Yep...that's exotic!

    That being said it looks like there was no W cabin on this AY bird--I believe other 3 Air Belgium A343s all have a W cabin and LOT normally sells W on this route (when operated by 787 anyway). Must makes sales of that cabin a bit messy.

    Luckily in your case, you were in J and that is pretty consistent across the small Air Belgium fleet (except for seat covers in this case haha), and it's not terribly different from LOT's J given that you have full-flat seats...and in a way, with the direct aisle-access for all seats, it can be considered better than LOT's 2-2-2 on the 787.

    The meals looks really nice and are well-presented--not surprising with Do&Co catering, of course! All in all a very solid product offered on this exotic Air Belgium/Lot/Finnair flight 😊

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment 503774 by
    757Fan 561 Comments

    Nice report! Great that you got to fly on basically 3 different airlines for one flight - Air Belgium, LOT, and Finnair!

    I was seriously considering earlier this year a trip to Poland for later this summer and we were considering booking a flight with LOT as the prices looked not that bad. It looks like you had a good flight with them, and the 2nd meal service certainly looks quite impressive for a pre-arrival meal service.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Comment 503819 by
    Concordino 37 Comments

    Thanks for the report. I just got back from a GVA-WAW-NRT return flight on lot on their 787-800 and 900 and I have to say that their own product is better. I'm also quite surprised to see that the service protocol is quite different on the Air Belgium operated flight. I had no trays for starters and a lot of the serive was done form a old fashioned service trolley (not a cart). Also, there's a new lounge "Maburek" once you pass the passport control which is much nicer than the Bolero once. Happy you had a nice flight none the less.

  • Comment 504168 by
    Andyw 31 Comments

    Excellent flight report. Well photographed and selecting the right shots with good commentary.

    Shame the second meal not perfect, looked great on the screen.

    One of the more interesting flight and plane options !

  • Comment 512223 by
    YuRor 1 Comments

    I think this is a PERFECT flight report! Thank you very much!!!

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