The airline with the best average rating is LOT Polish with 7.0/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 25 minutes.More information
Welcome to the new series of flight reports covering my latest trip to Moldova with a day stopover in Kiev with Ukraine International Airlines.
01.05.2019 - FLIGHT PS804, WAW-KBP, B737-800
01.05.2019 - FLIGHT PS897, KBP-KIV, B737-800
05.05.2019 - FLIGHT PS898, KIV-KBP, B737-800
05.05.2019 - FLIGHT PS801, KBP-WAW, B737-800
I wanted to go to Moldova for a long time. It is the least popular country in Europe, the one that still looks as if time stopped there 30 years ago…. but what tourists may expect there is a very warm welcome from the locals, low prices, great wine, genuine nature and atmosphere of the times that are long gone, let's say it's a kind of a journey back in time - something much more attractive at least for me than a weekend in Paris or London.
In Poland we have bank holidays on the 1st and 3rd of May, we usually take a day off on the 2nd of May and if, like this year, we can combine it with a weekend, then we obtain a 5 days holidays. Of course, everyone wants to travel somewhere in this period, so the prices are usually higher and the offer is limited. Happily Moldova is still not very popular, so we managed to get rather standard prices for this destination.
There are direct daily flights from Warsaw to Chisinau by LOT, but the price is usually high as there are not many seats available cause the flights are operated by Q400, so 1:30 in turpoprop is included in the price. No, thanks! Especially when the other popular option -> Ukraine International Airlines seems significantly cheaper if we decide to fly with hand luggage only, offers all the flights on 737-800 and a possibility to visit again the beautiful city of Kiev during 11 hours stopover.
Having already bought our tickets, I realized that we would need at least one big bag that has to be checked-in and decided to buy one piece of luggage up to 23 kg both ways. The price of 40 euro one way a little bit shocking as I was used to the price of 20-30 euro in most of the airlines. Anyway I had no choice. LOT ticket without checked in luggage would still be more expensive.
Every time I buy a ticket for an early morning flight I say to myself I don't care waking up early. Every time I wake up at 3:00 a.m. for an early morning flight I seriously consider going back to bed and forgetting about the whole trip. I used all my forces this time not to do that. A flight departing at 06:00 a.m.? I must have been insane while buying the ticket!
The airport seemed quite empty at first when we got there at 04:15 a.m. but it happened to be quite crowded due to some charter flights and the early morning scheduled ones.
We headed to UIA check-in to drop the prepaid luggage. A very important thing is you have to have your boarding pass printed or downloaded to your phone as UIA charges 20 euro for printing it at the check-in desk (they provide no self check-in kiosks). So after the very high price for checked-in luggage, there is another thing you have to be aware of. Our boarding passes were happily printed at home. .
Both safety and passport control were very fast, so we had plenty of time. I was wondering what would the ground staff do if I went inside this LOT plane… ;) Actually I was quite happy to do that but my friend warned me it may be designed for a little bit less than my 70 kg, so the idea was abandoned.
Our boarding area was quite empty
I had no idea there are direct flight to Marrakesh, would like to come back there one day
Our 737 that arrived form Kiev the previous evening and will soon be going home
LOT 737-400 seen from our jetbridge. Its service will be a little bit longer than initially planned as the 737MAX8 are still grounded.
The nose of our 737
As a result of UIA seats policy, we would need to pay if we wanted to change our seats, even during online check-in. I decide not to and wait for a luck with empty window seat. At least our assigned seats for both flights were next to each other, but I must admit I hate both the aisle and the middle seat. Our fellow passenger finally appeared and she didn't want to change her seat, so I took these photos when the seat was still empty
UIA is well known for limited legroom, yet it may always depend on the aircraft and row. This time we have hardly any legroom
The cabin. This particular 737-800 must be one of the oldest in the fleet after all the classic 737s were finally removed. Flying UIA has always been like a box of chocolates (as Forrest Gump used to say), you never knew what you gonna get. Now, when the old 737-300s and -500s are finally gone, there are not so many options but as the airline's 737-800s come from different times and sources, you may either fly a brand new or a quite old, as this one.
After a long taxi, we finally got airborne. I took this one and only inflight picture thanks to my fellow passenger that seemed to understand my hobby. She was generally quite a strange girl, coming from Charkiv in eastern Ukraine, she tried to talk with us but spoke a very limited English, ordered a small bottle of wine, emptied it within a while, told me that the UIA meals and generally the service have deteriorated lately and that her favourite airline is TK, then tayed silent for the rest of the flight.
If you can't look outside, let's focus on what's inside. UIA has lately introduced new safety cards that are much better than the almost ancient ones
New fleet facts from the inflight magazine with addition of 777-200 and no classic 737s. The 777-200 has been a great improvement for the long-haul fleet that used to consist only of old 767s. The new aircraft has 3 classes, IFE and I will seriously consider trying it on my next trip to Asia.
And BOB menu with complimentary cup of water. Thr crew on this flight was very efficient, professional and smiling. I have always had good experience with UIA crews, but this and next flights leave the impression that the level of service has, contrary to what my fellow passenger said, improved
There is quite a wide range of things for purchase but the flight is short and I'm not really hungry at 06:00 a.m..
There is also a wide range of pre-ordered meals that I will try on the next flights in these series ;)
The flight lasts only 1:10 and soon we descend to cold and rainy Kiev
The cabin during deboarding
These hooks say it all - this cabin is not the newest anymore
Deboarding in heavy rain and blowing wind is not funny at all
I'm seriously worrying how we are going to spend a whole day in Kiev in such weather conditions (8 degrees Celsius and rain that doesn't seem to stop) but we decide to give it a try. I will post some bonus pictures in the next report. Many thanks for reading!
After two years break in flying with UIA I must say the airline has improved many things, while it becomes less and less passenger friendly becoming more and more low cost airline. The prices of additional services (luggage, boarding pass, seats) are extremely high and the hand luggage policy (only one piece, next piece, even a small one or anything bought at duty free for 15 euro) seem exaggerated. A good thing is the airline no longer flies the old classic 737s. The crew on this flight left very positive impressions.