The airline with the best average rating is LOT Polish with 7.0/10.
The average flight time is 0 hours and 50 minutes.More information
As I promised a week or so ago, I am here with a brand new report of my "during-COVID" flight, which I took after Poland has lifted up its lockdown rules. Feeling inspired by one of my avgeek friends, I decided to book this weekend trip to Kraków as a Father's Day present for my dad (we flew together). The flight took place on the 4th of July, already a month after the domestic flights in Poland have been re-started and I do know there are at least some differences in flight experiences between 4th of June and 4th of July and of course both of those are much different from the pre-COVID times…
I booked the tickets via LOT.com website and I have to say, the whole booking process is clear and intuitive. LOT also clearly states how many Miles&More miles you'll earn for each flight, at the time of fare choice, which I find really nice and helpful. As this was only a weekend trip, I opted for the Saver fare which only includes hand luggage, but also allows you to book your seat during check in. A snack & beverage and ePress is also included on the ticket. Once I booked the ticket, I immediately received a booking confirmation on my email. Now… here comes the problem. The information given on the confirmation were inconsistent (see photo below).
Apologies for that it's in Polish but I hope you can figure out the mistake. At first LOT states, you can take 1x8 kg hand luggage + a small personal item (standard allowance) and then at the bottom they write, you can only take 1 piece of hand luggage of increased weight - 10 kgs ?♂️. They changed the limit when they restarted the flights on the 1st of June but then changed it again from 1st of July, from what I understood. This is where, I think, the mistake comes from. I tried to contact LOT to clarify this issue but no response. I took only 1 piece of hand luggage anyway, as this was only a short trip, but I can imagine how baffled people going for a longer trip may be. (Update: I received a reply today (9th July) = 1 day after I wrote the previous sentence = 5 days after the flight, the limit is now 1x8 kg in the wheelie bag + 1 small item (handbag/backpack). Better late than never!
Another thing is this e-ticket which I received in an email after booking. LOT sends you that alongside the booking confirmation (itinerary). In my honest (albeit biased) opinion, it's illegible and poorly designed (and as far as I remember it has always been). If LOT aims to become classified among the top European airlines, they should definitely work on the design of their materials, consistence of fonts etc.
Together with the introduction of other COVID-19 measures, LOT also changed the time, when you can check in online. It used to be 36 hrs before departure and is now shortened to 24 hours before departure (don't know how it helps combat COVID), and this is when I checked in. I did it via LOT's mobile app, which honestly could work better and faster… I was able to select my seats for free. And here is another change comparing to the flights in June this year (when only 50% of seats in the airplane were available) - all seats are now allowed to be occupied.
I picked 2C & 2D for this morning flight. Even though the system showed lots of already selected seats in the front of the cabin, they were actually free, as it turned out once we boarded.
This seat map is, as you can perhaps spot, a bit misleading (another poor design of materials). There is only 1 toilet on Dash Q400, not 4, as the picture shows.
A few flight details for you:
Flight number: LO3903
Route: Warsaw Chopin - Kraków John Paul II
Flight date: 4th July 2020 (Scheduled: 0715 - 0810, actual: 0725 - 0758)
Scheduled flight time: 55 mins (actual 33 mins)
Aircraft model: De Havilland Canada Dash 8 Q400
Aircraft registration: SP-EQB
Seating configuration: Y78
Aircraft age (at the time of flight): 8.4 years
Seat number: 2D
Departure gate: 31 (bus gate)
Arrival gate: bus gate (remote stand)
My flight route this morning. Courtesy Flightradar24.
In one of my earliest reports, I promised you to post some pictures of Chopin airport, my hub. And the COVID times seem to be the best opportunity to take pictures of airports, actually, as those are so empty! So here we are. I took a few photos of WAW and a few of KRK (next report).
In terms of COVID measures at Polish airports:
- only 2 entrances at WAW are open
- only people with a booking confirmation/boarding pass for a certain day can enter the terminal building
- there is a temperature screening at the entrance (using thermographic camera)
- wearing a mask is obligatory throughout the journey (including the airport), excluding the time you're having a meal
- you have to self-scan your boarding pass at the gate
- online check-in is recommended, however it's not a problem if you want to check in at the airport
The flight was at 7:15am. Fortunately, we live quite close to WAW, so we left home at 6:15 and arrived at WAW at 6:30. 45 mins were more than sufficient for this domestic flight. I collected the boarding pass at the check in counter. I had a mobile one as well but I really like LOT's design of printed Boarding Passes (one thing they designed well! ?) so I got a printed one as well. There were about 6-8 LOT's counters open but there was no queue at all. Open counters were well-spaced, respecting the COVID measures.
The airport entrance, not very busy as you can see.
Check in area. Very very empty. Normally it'd absolutely packed at 7am. *Update: My dad flew today (11th July) to Gdańsk, and said it was actually quite busy. He waited 20 mins for security
LOT has its own, well-looking check in counters. Our agent was helpful, kind and efficient.
And this is the boarding pass I received at the counter.
Security was relatively busy as for those strange times. However, we cleared it in 5-10 mins to quickly be at the airside. Very fast shopping in one of the duty free shops (Baltona) and soon it was time for boarding. We actually arrived when it was already a final call. All passengers were put into one bus which later took us to the remote stand at which our Dash 8 Q400 was parked.
Already on the bus.
Once on the bus, it turned out there will be 36 people on the plane this morning. But this isn't the whole truth :D Half of those (approx. 20 people) were actually the crew, who were being re-positioned to either KRK or KTW. This is because LOT (in cooperation with Polish government) has recently announced a new campaign called "LOT na wakacje" or "Flight for holidays". They launched about 130 routes from Warsaw and regional Polish airports to places like Spain, Croatia, Greece etc. all for 99 PLN (25 EUR one way). To serve those destinations from KRK or KTW they first need to re-locate their crew and hence the whole situation!
A relatively short bus ride this morning and soon we arrived at our Dash 8 Q400, reg. SP-EQB. Everyone boarded the airplane swiftly and was greeted by a friendly, smiling crew member. There was enough space in the overhead compartments, so no one (including me) had a problem putting their luggage there. We only waited a while more for one passenger that was late (she was from LOT crew ?). But after that we began our short taxi to runway 29 and departed 10 mins late towards north.
Obligatory fuselage shot before stepping onto the airplane. The advantage of bus boarding.
I took this picture a while before they closed the doors, 1AB remained empty.
Before takeoff, we were given refreshing tissues, this is a novelty in LOT economy, due to the COVID measures, I believe. Those tissues were previously only given to Premium Economy and Business class passengers. Even though I could smell alcohol in the tissue, there was no information that it actually had disinfecting properties.
Beginning our taxi from the remote stand. No pushback needed for those stands.
The takeoff roll was very short, as it's nearly always the case for Dashes. After departure we made a 90 degrees left turn to be on our way to Kraków. A this is a very short flight (33 mins this morning), the crew started on board service very quickly (~ 5 mins) after take off. The purser, who greeted us on board was kind but the two other members of cabin crew… could be better. The quality of English announcements by the purser could also be improved, in my opinion (and there were several non-Polish people on the airplane, so I'm not mentioning it without reason).
Cleared for take off.
Wonderful Warsaw panorama and Chopin airport in the background.
On this short domestic hop we were served a sweet apple bun, which was very tasty and seemed fresh. There was no choice of drinks, all passengers were served a bottle of still water, "Ostromecko". [A quick digression on this water: It was the first time I have drunk this "Ostromecko" water but it actually turned out to be the best water I have ever tried! So now you know I am also a water-geek, not only an avgeek ?] Overall, very good job with catering on this flight, LOT. Fully comprehensive and much better than what you got pre-COVID (a glass of water and a chocolate bar Grześki and no refreshing tissue).
I haven't mentioned it earlier but I believe it works pretty the same all around the world right now. Face masks, apart from the airport, are also mandatory on board the plane, throughout the flight, except when you're eating your meal (so it's better to be a slow-eater ?). If you happen to damage your masks, there are a few spare on board and the crew will provide you with one. In terms of other COVID changes, after takeoff the purser gave an announcement that passengers should not gather anywhere on board and of course that masks are still obligatory. Shortly before landing he also told that we should disembark "from the front" starting with people sitting in row 1/2.
Inflight. Very good & smooth flying conditions this morning, no turbulence at all, apart from a few bumps before landing. The last time I flew Q400 was in 2017, and I already forgot how loud it is! Very loud and the vibrations from the engines could be felt throughout the flight which definitely decreases the comfort of the journey.
After I finished my meal, I wanted to do a lavatory trip, to take some photos for you guys, but it turned out the fasten seatbelt signs were already turned on and I was not allowed to do that. Well… I am a slow eater. The rest of flight was pretty uneventful apart from the fact that it was VERY loud in row 2 due to those turboprop engines (but at least a bit more fuel efficient than Embraer on the same route). I managed to take a few more photos of the cabin but no photo of the cabin overall. Apologies for that but it was quite busy this morning and I didn't want to take pictures of all those people.
The bulkhead in front of seats 2CD. Nothing special, really. It has 2 coat hooks but they can't be used during takeoff and landing (so pretty much the entire flight).
I'm 1.87m. Legroom in seat 2D was ok, but 2C (and 1B) has no bulkhead so has "infinite" legroom. Plus for 2D the window is misaligned so you really have lean a lot to take some photos.
And a photo to show you the seat design. That's rows 3 & 4. From what I remember from my previous flights on those Dashes, all rows have decent amount of legroom on this turboprop. However, the seats are a bit narrow. No adjustable headrests, as you can see, as well. But the seat design is decent, isn't it, for a turboprop.
A few words, as I always do, on the poor intra-European entertainment. Due to COVID measures, no inflight magazine (Kaleidoscope) is available right now. No overhead monitors, no WiFi but to be fair, no one expects that on a domestic flight, especially on Dash Q400. However: LOT now offers a new service for all passengers, including Economy: ePress. Every economy passenger can download 1 newspaper/magazine per flight leg. The choice is extensive and involves lots of titles (both Polish and international in variety of languages), older and newer. Initiating this service is a very good change in my opinion. However no power outlets are available on this Dash aircraft so if you run out of battery… it's your problem.
A few minutes before landing we made a right turn, then landing gear down and reasonably smooth landing into Kraków airport. The taxi back to our remote stand was a bit long for a regional airport but at least the bus that took us to the terminal was already waiting for us so we disembarked quickly (from the front!) and in no time arrived at the terminal building. I am just thinking… what is the point of the whole social distancing at the airport and on the plane, when everyone is packed into the same stuffed bus?
A right turn and we'll soon be landing in KRK.
And already on the ground. Nice weather here as well. It will be 24-28 degrees Celsius throughout the weekend and clear skies.
A few still unused aircrafts, mostly from Ryanair (or rather Buzz) could be observed at KRK.
LOT aircrafts are handled by LS Airport Services, both at KRK and WAW.
The terminal in the background and Wizz A321 preparing for take off, I believe.
And another fuselage shot of our SP-EQB. Nice that LOT finally changed the livery from Eurolot to their own.
Kraków airport, I have to unfortunately say, was even more stranded than Warsaw. The lights in arrival hall (baggage reclaim hall) were dimmed so it was really dark. This didn't create friendly atmosphere… You'd also think that if there are so few passengers, the toilets should be kept in perfect cleanliness. Not at all :(
As we didn't have any checked luggage, we quickly left the terminal (through the only one open exit) and ordered an UBER to the city centre. The ride took approx. 25 mins and cost 25 PLN/6 EUR, so really cheap. Then we could start our wonderful weekend in Kraków, from which I'll post a few photos in my next report.
But for now, thanks for reading!
PS. If you have any questions regarding COVID measures in LOT or generally in Poland, don't hesitate to ask.
Very exciting flight, after 3.5 months of not flying :D But now seriously, this flight to KRK is a great alternative to driving or taking the train. From doorstep to doorstep the journey took us 2 hours and 30 mins. Relatively comfortable seats, very good catering and free press was enough to give a good impression of LOT domestic service.