The airline with the best average rating is LOT Polish with 7.0/10.
The average flight time is 2 hours and 31 minutes.More information
Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone in every time zone!
And welcome to this short trip report series covering my last minute COVID holidays in France, on Cote d'Azur. I was really desperate to fly somewhere in the end of August (and even left myself a free week from my summer job). My initial ideas were either Zurich, Hamburg or Riga. But as soon, as I realised that LOT Polish Airlines, my national carrier put 787-8 Dreamliner on flights to Nice (and Malaga but I have been to Malaga before), I changed my mind and picked Nice as my end-of-Summer destination.
Interestingly, this leg (WAW-NCE) was only 20 PLN (5 EUR) more expensive in Premium Economy than in Economy saver (no luggage) so I booked the higher class with no hesitation. Lots of bonuses for a good price. From what I remember, the WAW-NCE flight in W was about 340 PLN (80 EUR) so a very good value for money.
Unfortunately, as this flight (and many others in LOT's Summer network this year) is a part of #LOTnaWakacje campaign (All flights with numbers LO8***), you don't earn any Miles&More miles for it. Which is a shame…
Lots of "first times" again for me: first time on Dreamliner, first time in France, first time in a cabin higher than Economy.
A few days before my flight, I spotted the Dreamliner I would be flying on, during some shopping in a garden centre in Warsaw :)
Flight number: LO8535
Route: Warsaw Chopin - Nice Cote d'Azur
Flight date: 21st August 2020 1555-1825 (actual 1613-1810)
Scheduled flight time: 2:30 (actual 1:57)
Aircraft model: Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
Aircraft registration: SP-LRG (named “Cichociemni” or Silent and Unseen Home Army Parachutists in English)
Seating configuration: C18W21Y213
Aircraft age (at the time of flight): 3.3 years
Seat number: 5AB
Departure gate: 25/26 (jet bridge)
Arrival gate: A04 (jet bridge)
Load factor (approx.): 100% in all classes
I started today's journey from home, by packing up the suitcase and backpack. Once ready, I waited outside, in the garden, for my mum who was still packing. This time, I only flew with my mother. Dad refused to go with us ;)
Perfect weather for flying this afternoon.
From my home it's only a 15 mins ride to the airport (by car) and my dad was so kind to give us a lift.
New and good quality motorway (dual carriageway) leading to Warsaw Chopin Airport. Can you spot the airplane landing in the background? It's one of the LOT's Embraers.
We arrived at the airport a bit more than 1 hour before scheduled departure. Still the same, strict measures are taken at Warsaw Airport: temperature screening at entrance (which is restricted to passengers only), social distancing, lots of disinfecting stations throughout the terminal. For some reason, there was a huge queue to one of the entrances but no queue at all to another. We opted for the second choice.
Zones D&E in terminal A (only terminal at WAW) are solely used by LOT and you can see their logo here and there in those two zones.
A part of zone E, northernmost in the terminal is reserved for LOT Business class & Premium class passengers, as well as for Star Alliance status passengers.
Only 3 counters for Business/Premium Eco passengers were open at the time we arrived and this wasn't enough. We had to wait about 10 mins to be served and a queue also started to form behind us. But I have to say, the lady at the counter was very polite, professional and super nice. She confirmed that we both don't have any COVID symptoms and then placed tags on our luggage. She even made sure that our suitcases are checked in on "us" i.e. one on my mum and one on me. LOT Premium Eco passengers also get the Priority Tags on their bags and so we did. I also asked the lady if we have the Fast Track as W passengers. She confirmed we do but unfortunately we can't use the VIP lunge. All in all a very high standard service at check in.
There is also this wonderful 787-9 Dreamliner in the business class check in area, I didn't hesitate to take a picture with it!
From check in we proceeded to the Fast Track security which was nothing special, although fast and without queue, as you'd expect. Then we had a little bit of time to spare as boarding was scheduled to begin at 1525. My mum went to some shops, although she didn't buy anything. I decided to walk through the terminal to see what planes there are today ?
And I got the lovely nice and beautiful paper boarding pass by LOT again.
I really appreciate the weather we had that day!
In the photos you can see (in this order):
1) Air France A320 to CDG (I was supposed to fly that one in a few days and than to Mauritius but COVID……)
2) some standard livery LOT Embraer
3) LOT 738 SP-LWB (I was flying that one from Vienna 2 years ago) - this time it was heading to some sunny summer destination - Heraklion as far as I remember
4) Lufthansa A320ceo (Sharklets) flying to FRA soon
5) LOT Embraer in a special livery "Śliwka Nałęczowska" - this is a traditional Polish sweet - basically candied plum surrounded in bitter chocolate. It's really good and definitely a must if you come to Poland. You can also get one of those on some LOT long-haul flights in Premium and Business class.
That's what the terminal looked like. It's really bright inside. Although I have to say that due to those huge windows, it gets really warm (or hot even) in some places and the AC was inefficient this time. This applies to the area of my gates 25&26 for instance.
It's nice to see that the airport is getting busier and busier after lockdown has finished :)
And this is our jet, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner registered as SP-LRG, delivered to LOT in June 2017. It has a special sticker in the front: (“Cichociemni” or Silent and Unseen Home Army Parachutists in English).
Boarding started exactly on time, at 1525 and I could see some gate lice as our flight turned out to be nearly full. LOT used a "reversed priority boarding" on our flight, meaning that passengers were boarded in 3 groups: rear economy section, front economy section and all remaining passengers (Premium and Business) so no really priority boarding this time.
And that's our gate area. Although they used two gates (25&26) for boarding, the airplane was only docked to 1 jet bridge (well, at least to one! so we didn't need to use the bus). As you can see, the gate area is a bit smallish, to small, I'd say for boarding a Dreamliner (especially on such a busy flight and in times of COVID when you'd appreciate a bit of social distance).
I love those jet bridges in Warsaw. Provided that the glass is kept clean, you can take some wonderful photos of the airplanes. The bad thing, is that those air bridges don't have air condition inside so they can get really hot when it's sunny in the summer.
As we entered the aircraft, two friendly crew members welcomed us, alongside this LOT logo. Unfortunately, another striking feature that welcomed us is a very cold interior of the LOT's 787. It is kept in grey-blue colours which don't seem to warm things up.
During boarding, some kind of boarding music was played, but not the one I heard on some flights before. It's strange how this feature differs on different LOT aircrafts. Some aircrafts (DH8D & ERJs from Azul for instance) don't have boarding music at all and the melody/song differs on other jets. But it was still nice to have some boarding music at all :)
As boarding was done through the first door, we passed through the Business (or previously Elite Class) cabin. It features 18 lie-flat seats in 2-2-2 configuration. Business class passengers had earphones, napkins and a sanitising tissue waiting for them.
We then passed through the galley to get to our small cabin section - Premium Economy. It features 21 seats in 2-3-2 configuration with seat pitch of 38 inches and 19.5 inch width. The seats also have quite a decent recline, a footrest and an adjustable leather headrest. Again, cold colours used in this cabin.
We were seated in those two seats by the window in the middle row of Premium Economy cabin. And that was not the best choice, make sure you take row 4 if you have such opportunity. This is why: the quite wide armrest, which is between 5A & 5B leaves very little space between itself and the back of seat 4A & 4B (this little space was about the size of my thigh, which isn't the biggest). This makes seat 5A unbearable to get to and stand up from, especially if the person in 5B has a TV screen open. I don't unfortunately have the photo of what I'm talking about, but I hope you understand me. The message is, don't take the window seats in rows 5 and 6 in this Dreamliner! (I thing the situation might look different in the 787-9 from LOT as Premium Eco gained some inches of legroom there).
Anyway, at our seats 5AB, we had 2 napkins and 1 pair of earphones waiting for us. No refreshing tissue (and this is actually the only or one of the only differences between the service in Business and Premium on this flight, I think ?).
As I settled into my seat, I started enjoying this wonderful view. Next to us is the bigger version of LOT's Dreamliner, 787-9 (SP-LSG).
Soon a flight attendant passed with a pre-departure snack: either dried carrots or salted peanuts. We went for the latter option. No pre-departure drink, however, besides a bottle of still water which was already waiting in the seat pocket.
A quick check of the monitors and IFE content. The screen was of a decent size and quite responsive, I have to say - much better than I expected. On the other hand, the interface was counterintuitive and hard to use, even for me (and I'm rather good in IT stuff). The content could be better as well, if this was a long-haul flight.
But we have to remember, this was a 2-hour flight. So, overall the entertainment was amazing and should be rated very high!
A quick shot to show you the legroom. I'm 1.86 m tall.
Once everyone got into their seats and boarding was completed, we started the takeoff preparations. All announcements were mad both in Polish and English. But I have to say, I could hardly understand anything. There must have been a problem with either the microphone or the speakers, as the messages (from both the crew and the captain) were absolutely illegible and unacceptable. I'm sorry. Safety demo was however played on the monitors and this had a normal sound quality, so I don't know where the problem lies… There are only 3 monitors for W section, placed on the bulkhead, so you better take good glasses to see the safety demo if you happen to sit in row 6 ?
As we started taxiing to the runway threshold, we passed by multiple LOT aircrafts. It was actually hard to spot anything other than LOT in Warsaw this afternoon, only 1 KLM, 1 Airfrance and 1 Lufthansa.
This yellow Embraer from LOT on the first pictures was the one, my friend Krzysiek flew to Krakow the same morning :) Another friend of mine flew to Poznań on DH8D from WAW the same day, so we were all away in different directions. I bet, my flight experience was the best of all those three ??
As we had a heavy load, we were departing quite unusually, from runway 33, towards north. The takeoff roll was approximately 50 seconds. I could feel the take off was very smooth (except for a few bumps but nothing scary) with this 787 and really quiet as well (at least in front of the engines). I'd actually say that, similarly to A350, the Dreamliner is more quiet during takeoff than during cruise ?♂️.
I can spot my house below in the last picture, yeey!
As we started to reach our cruising altitude but before the crew started the on board service, I tried to capture some (important) features of the Premium Eco cabin in this 787-8. And I'll share my thoughts on those here. I'll try not to be too long-winded but please bear with me.
1. The windows - they are standard Dreamliner windows but as this was my first time on 787, they were a huge novelty for me - literally and figuratively - their size is immense. Plus it was nice fun to play with the dimming system, although I didn't really need to dim the windows on this flight ?. I have to say, this "dimming" feature is really helpful but would be even better if it was accompanied by the normal window shades (but I understand they wanted to save on weight perhaps).
2. Power on board - is located quite uncomfortably in the armrest (but its bottom part) and hence this photo was extremely difficult to take (you should have seen myself when taking this picture ?). Anyway, there is a universal power outlet and an old-style USB port for all seats plus there is a headphone jack port at the top, for the IFE system.
3. The screens - are located in the armrest (as well as the remote control) and have a decent size of 10.6 inches. It was, as I already wrote, quite responsive but not intuitive to use.
4. The adjustable headrest - leather and comfortable with a blue antimacassar, indicating that's Premium Class (and not Premium Economy so that you feel better!). Now a bit of "disappointment". The headrest is designed in such a way, that if you lift it up, it leaves a very hard, metal part below, well, it's covered by the material but still you can feel it's hard and uncomfortable. So a little design faulty here.
5. Coat hooks - one located on each seat back.
6. PSU - features a reading light and air vent for every seat - which is always great ?
7. Overhead bins - are spacious and located at a good height so that everyone can reach them. And although I'm flying LOT today, British Airways is here as well (5BA ?).
About 30 mins into the flight, 2 members of crew started to deliver the on board service. Every passenger was given the same set on a plastic tray. This included:
- the appetiser - smoked salmon with couscous - a really nice one
- A cheese sandwich with salad, tomato, cucumber and some mayo sauce - very tasty as well but I'd appreciate a warm meal even more
- cheesecake with white chocolate - had a great taste as well (although I like everything that's sweet so you don't need to trust me here)
- a small chocolate
- a refreshing tissue (or rather disinfecting tissue as they changed the package, comparing to my flight with them in early July)
Shortly after the meal trays were served, the same crew members passed with drinks trolley. All available alcoholic and soft beverages were free of charge. The wine and champagne were rather of those cheap ones but still great to have them included on W ticket. Strangely, apple juice was not available, only orange one. So I went for a champagne and orange juice. My mum took the white wine.
All in all, a comprehensive, nice and tasty meal.
The meal is served in a pre-packaged box on a plastic tray. Nice design, IMO.
And that's what I found inside
And the drinks. Served in plastic, unfortunately. Plastic cutlery as well.
Once the meal was finished, the crew did something that I deem a bit unprofessional. They passed through our cabin with a rubbish bag, not a trolley, but simply with a pink transparent rubbish bag - to collect what was left after the service. But maybe that's just my thoughts…
After the meal, it was time to check out the toilet. And unfortunately (and that's a big issue actually), Premium Economy cabin doesn't have its own lavatory on the smaller Dreamliner (#8 version) - it has a dedicated toilet in the #9 version. But here you need to use one of the Economy class toilets - the nearest one is behind row 19. I was stuck for a bit in the aisle as the crew was finishing the paid service in Eco class.
Lavatory was of comfortable size although I feel as if the one on Qatar's A350 was bigger. As you see it was also clean.
On the doors you have 2 coat hooks.
In terms of amenities: soap, hand cream and air freshener were available, alongside paper towel and toilet paper (which is rather not surprising).
On my way back to the seat, I managed to take a picture of an absolutely packed Economy cabin. It looks, nice, fresh and modern although cold - same as other cabins. There is another section of Economy of similar size behind me as well. That one was similarly full.
And behind the curtain you can find our small cabin section with only 3 rows. I have to say, the small size of this W cabin makes it cosy, even despite the cold colours.
For the remaining time of the flight, I decided to watch an Episode of Friends on the IFE. There were multiple languages available and the sound quality was alright (unlike some movies on Qatar Oryx One A350). The Episode turned out to be just perfect in length as when I finished watching, we started descent into Nice and all the monitors had to be stowed for landing. This is a bit of nuisance, as you basically can't use the IFE for the last 30 mins of your flight which wouldn't be the case if the monitors were located on the seat backs.
As I am watching Friends, we're passing above the Alps, which have very little snow on the top. Surprisingly, no turbulence at all above the Alps, and no turbulence at all during the entire flight, actually!
So here we started the final preparations for landing in Nice. Curains get opened and the Business class emerges :)
During the descent I had some time to capture the seat pocket content: safety instructions, waste bag and a duty free magazine. Of course it's too dangerous to put the inflight magazine in the seat pocket (COVID) but not dangerous at all to place a duty free offer in there… This makes you feel they don't actually car about safety but about their budget more.
This Friday, we were approaching Nice from the South-West (fortunately) which gave me amazing views on the coast. We entered the Sea area somewhere above Monaco and then made a right turn to be on our final approach.
That's the landing tracking.
A few photos from the descent and landing. Absolutely picturesque. One of the most beautiful landings in Europe, in my opinion.
We arrived in Nice Cote d'Azur a bit before our Scheduled Arrival Time which I appreciate. After a relatively short taxi we docked into A04 gate (jet bridge). After 5 mins or so, when nothing happened, the crew said we need to re-park the aircraft so that the jet bridge is docked to door 2L instead of 1L, because for some reason they couldn't open those doors. After another 8 minutes we were free to go, Premium Economy disembarked just after the Business class which was great.
Taxiing to our gate.
This is a nice touch!
And docking into our gate, next to an Air France A321.
From the gate we had a short walk to the baggage reclaim hall. No temperature screening as you enter the airport, after arrival. No one also collected the locator forms that we were given on the airplane.
The reclaim area felt empty, though when our whole airplane came forward to belt 3 it got much busier. The luggage priority worked pretty fine and our bags arrived fast.
From the reclaim hall we left the terminal to catch Tram 2 to the city centre (Jean Medecin) and we then spent 6 wonderful days on Cote d'Azur, visiting Nice, Cannes and Monaco.
I'll finish this report with the overall routing for this flight and you can already wait for the report of the return journey which should appear on flight-report.com in more or less a week. This will be LOT Polish Airlines ERJ-195 from NCE to WAW in Economy.
Thank you for stopping by!
Great and actually pretty flawless experience with LOT Polish Airlines this afternoon. Although their Dreamliner's Premium Economy isn't perfect (but it's quite good as you could read), you should bear that this was a 2-hour intra-European flight and all my ratings will be based on that, comparing to my expectations for a Premium Eco flight within Europe and other flights within Europe that I took.
Cabin: Comfortable seats with decent legroom, adjustable headrest and footrest, coat hook and a good size tray table. No separate toilet for Premium Eco and cold colours of the cabin are the downsides.
Cabin Crew: They were ok, but nothing that stood out. Little professionalism with rubbish collection (my opinion) and all the announcements were of a very bad sound quality (and none of the cabin crew members tried to improve that).
Entertainment: Absolutely comprehensive entertainment for an intra-European flight with personal monitors. Although WiFi would be a nice additive to this already modern jet.
Meal: It was fresh, tasty and comprehensive. However, the LOT website said, they serve a warm dish on a flight to Nice in Premium Eco and didn't say anything that they stopped doing that because of COVID. So I expected something a bit better than a cheese sandwich as the main course.