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As we are all pretty much grounded nowadays due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (and because I've only joined Flight-Report very recently), I decided to post a few reports from my old trips. I am going to do that over several subsequent weeks. I hope you'll enjoy them even though some of the reports will be from a good few years ago. Apologies in advance if you feel the FR is too outdated or it is missing a few details. I'll try to make it best as I can!
In 2017 I had a dubious pleasure of flying Ryanair 5 times in a row (to Wrocław, Memmingen and Naples). This Wednesday, I'd like to share with you a report from my flight from Wrocław back to Warsaw. As some of you might be aware, Warsaw has two airports (Chopin & Modlin). Ryanair mostly operates from Modlin (until recently it was actually the only airline flying there). However, for some time in 2017, FR was flying 3 domestic routes to Gdańsk, Wrocław and Szczecin from the main airport in Warsaw (WAW = Warsaw Chopin). I decided to try one of them out, as the flights were ridiculously cheap. 42 PLN / 10 EUR / 8.5 GBP for a return flight. And this was also my first time in Wrocław, which turned out to ba an amazing city.
Many thanks for joining me today :)
Flight number: FR5034
Route: Warsaw Chopin - Wrocław Strachowice
Flight date: 13th August 2017
Scheduled flight time: 1:00 (1210 - 1310)
Aircraft model: Boeing 737-800
Aircraft registration: EI-DYZ
Seating configuration: Y189
Aircraft age (at the time of flight): 8.2 years
Seat number: 2F (first row on the right)
Quite unusually, today I'm going to start with a few shots from the trip. This one was to Wrocław, Poland's 4th biggest city. Having visited a good few Polish cities, I can with no doubt say, Wrocław is the most beautiful city in Poland. Maybe my photos don't confirm that, but trust me if you go there in the Summer, you won't regret it! Wrocław is located on a plenty of small islets, connected by multitudinous bridges… because of that it's sometimes also called the Venice of the North.
The old town market. Looks more or less similar to all old town markets in Poland, however I'd say it's more spacious than most of them. In August, when I visited Wrocław, there was a renowned film festival being held in the city, hence the big white screen in the middle of the market.
Oder, the river. This is where the majority of city is located, on the small islands divided by the river. You can take a stroll along the river or take a break in some fantastic restaurants, e.g. Przystań (overviewing Oder). The last picture shows the National Museum, also located by the river, which I unfortunately didn't have an opportunity to visit this time.
Racławice Panorama. Definitely a top attraction in Wrocław. A 15x114 m circular painting that depicts one of the battles that took place in 1794. The painting was created in 19th century and is absolutely stunning. With its perspective, special lighting in the room and narrative from the museum staff, you really feel as if you were in the middle of action.
Modern Wrocław. Wrocław is however not only old stuff. Modern architecture fans will also find something for themselves. The first few pictures show SkyTower, the highest building in Wrocław (tip: you can find reasonably cheap apartments on one of the top floors of SkyTower, so worth considering if you'd like to go to Wrocław). The last picture is the apartment building I stayed at.
If Wrocław itself is not incentive enough, then its airport certainly will be. For me, one of the most beautiful regional airports! The airport's patron, Mikołaj Kopernik (or Nicolaus Copernicus) was a famous Pole, a mathematician and astronomer, who "placed the Sun at the centre of the universe" (Heliocentrism).
WRO airport can be easily reached with public transport or a taxi. We took an Uber and the ride was approx. 20 mins and very cheap. The experience at the airport was very smooth. We only had hand luggage, so we direct proceeded to security. No queue whatsoever. The airside is relatively spacious, for such a small airport. It has also big windows, good for spotting. There's also quite a few shops, including a duty free boutique and a shop with folk Polish art, for tourists :)
I don't think any words are needed to describe that area in front of the entrance. Simply beautiful!
Soon after we finished discovering the duty free area of this fabulous regional airport, we were called for boarding. From my experience, Ryanair often starts pre-boarding before the plane has even landed… but this wasn't fortunately the case this time! The plane parked just in front of the terminal, so the boarding was "by walking". Quite a few aircrafts could be observed on the tarmac but the airport still didn't feel busy.
Smartwings 737-800 (OK-TSF), operating for Travel Service to perhaps some nice holiday destination. In the background you may also notice the tail fin of Small Planet's A320. Small Planet was in my opinion one of the better charter airlines serving Poland but unfortunately it doesn't exist anymore, went under last year, I believe.
And that's our 737-800 (EI-DYZ). As you can see, a very chaotic embarkment. I can never understand why all the people board through the front, instead of taking a look at their boarding pass to realise that maybe it'd be better to board from the back! I was seated in 2F this afternoon so boarding from the back would make no sense ;)
One more peculiarity of Ryanair, which always "impresses" me. The front stairs in-built into the aircraft. I wonder how much money Ryanair saves by doing that!
Soon I was able to board this 8-year-old aircraft through the famous stairs (or infamous as there was once an accidents someone slipped on them). First impression of the cabin - bad. It was packed and worn out, and full of confused passengers searching place for their bags. The one more thing that always makes me feel puzzled in FR is the smell in the cabin when you first walk in - it really feels uncomfortable in my throat and makes breathing hard. I don't know if any of you who flew Ryanair, had the same feeling? There was also no more space for our cabin bag next to our seats so we placed it in the compartment a good few rows behind… At least, one thing to rescue the flight experience is that I was seated in 2F, which is the first row on the right hand side (my assigned seat was 1B but I swapped to 2F).
Speaking of cabin, it was disgusting (perhaps I shouldn't use that word but I deem it appropriate). Dirty and as I elucidated, time-worn. The seats were ripped, uncomfortable (at least I got decent legroom) and the yellow colour throughout made me feel sick. Too strong words… I don't think so.
The legroom at 2F. Not bad, I have to say! Although you can clearly see, the cabin is not really furnished properly, looks rather like a quick fix - notice the wooden element on the wall next to the carpet…
And the bulkhead design. Makes you feel as if you were already on holidays ;)
Different aircrafts have different bulkhead designs. That's the one from the previous flight (WAW-WRO).
Once the boarding was completed, the crew announced a flight time of 40 mins and started manual safety demo. After a quick taxi to the runway we departed westerly and turned right to soon be on our way to Warsaw. Shortly after take off the BoB service started. However, I didn't see anyone buying anything, at least not too many people. It's a really short flight after all. Nevertheless, I took a look into BoB magazine, the options were pretty expensive. Seemed more expensive than Wizz Air, for instance. The choice was however wide.
But… the short flight time didn't discourage the crew from selling the (in)famous scratch cards. Actually, one of the cabin crew members started explaining what the whole game is about to passengers (through the microphone) and it took her 15 mins!!! on 40 mins flight. I have to say, her story was touching and I saw that she actually convinced some passengers to play the game. Nevertheless, I think it took a bit too long.
Climbing out from WRO.
In terms of entertainment, you don't expect a lot on such a short flight, do you? But still, Ryanair offers nothing, not even an inflight magazine. The only things are the ads on the overhead compartments and views outside the window. Well… of course you can entertain yourself with scratch cards.
The rest of flight was uneventful, I'd say.
The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful. After a few minutes we started our descent into Warsaw to soon land from the south, exactly at the scheduled arrival time. After landing, the usual cheesy Ryanair fanfare was played and we made our way to the "most remote" stand in WAW for the time being.
A 40 mins domestic flight, where after landing you have a 10 mins bus ride to the terminal seems to make little sense, right? Ryanair quite often used those very remote stands in Warsaw which I normally don't mind unless they're given for domestic flights…
Finally we arrived at the Schengen bus arrivals at the bottom floor of Warsaw Airport, from where we could directly go to the "exit to town" as we didn't have any checked luggage. From there we caught an Uber to take us back home.
The whole journey from doorstep to doorstep took us approximately 3 hours, pretty much the same as it would with a car or a train. So this connection to Wrocław from Warsaw was a great (and cheap!) alternative for people who like the air travel but didn't really give any time advantage :(
Thank you for reading this review and I'll see you soon.
Ryanair is definitely not my favourite airline, hence my poor rating for this flight. The cabin was old, smelly and filthy. The inflight service took nearly the whole flight (including a lengthy story about scratch cards). The remote stand at WAW for a domestic flight is a joke. The things that made up for this journey were: very cheap price, amazing Wrocław Airport, extra legroom seat received for free and the on time arrival (which is pretty important on those short fights).
Despite my low rating for FR, I found the flight a good alternative to going to Wrocław by car on train, especially that I love flying. Maybe it doesn't save you time, but I think it is less tiring that a 3-hour journey by car.