The airline with the best average rating is LOT Polish with 7.0/10.
The average flight time is 2 hours and 25 minutes.More information
And welcome to this brand new report covering my stay on Cote d'Azur and the flight back from there to Poland. The flight was unfortunately not on a Dreamliner, rather on an ordinary Embraer but still, as you'll find out, it wasn't that bad!
Thanks everyone for coming along and I hope you'll enjoy the report.
Here's the boarding pass and some flight details below:
Flight number LO8536
Route Nice Cote d'Azur - Warsaw Chopin
Flight date 26th August 2020, 1935-2200 (actual 2004-2154)
Scheduled flight time 2:25 (actual 1:50)
Aircraft model Embraer ERJ-195
Aircraft registration SP-LNG
Seating configuration CY118 (but Economy only on this flight)
Aircraft age (at the time of flight) 11.8 years
Seat number 4B
Departure gate A00 (jet bridge)
Arrival gate Bus gate in Warsaw, remote stand
Load factor (approx.) 90-95%
I will, however start with a few memories from the Cote d'Azur itself. If you wish to skip the tourism bonus, please move to the "before the flight" section.
Nice, Cannes and Monaco are amazing places and the whole trip was wonderful. Cote d'Azur is absolutely a must, if you haven't been there yet. 5 full days (we had that much), is I'd say enough to capture the most important things there and also to have some rest on the beach.
Nice is the city we stayed in, and I'd recommend you do the same. It's 30 mins from both Cannes and Monaco (train ride). However, I'd not recommend our hotel - Best Western Nice Cosy…
From the moment you reach the Promenade des Anglais, you can see the azure colour of water and amazing old architecture of Nice. As you can see here, it was also not too busy!
Although the elevator wasn't working and we had to climb it on foot, the Castle Hill in Nice was worth it. The waterfall and breathtaking views over the coast, make it a great attraction to start the sightseeing with.
So that's the view from Castle Hill towards the west…
… and towards the East. Both are fabulous!
So far, I definitely Love Nice!
Another day & another city, Cannes. A bit disappointing though, the Festival Palace and the ares around it is rusty an unkempt. But of course we waited 30 mins in the queue to take this one photo on the red carpet, which is said to be a must in Cannes…
And so here I am, on the red carpet.
As we came back from Cannes a bit early, we still went for a dinner. I had this lovely salad with pear & gorgonzola (alongside many other fruits).
The next day we decided to see some more sights in Nice, including two museums: Matisse Museum (picture above) and Chagall Museum. I'd definitely recommend the latter but not the former (it's really disorganised).
The next excursion was Monaco & Monte Carlo and it was the most beautiful city of all three in this trip.
The very well-known Casino Monte-Carlo.
A distinguishable F1 turn next to the Fairmont hotel.
A quick break in the shadow with some mango ice cream from Haagen-Dazs.
And as we started to climb the hills again, the breathtaking views started to emerge.
(One of my most favourite photos from Monaco, to be fair!)
And I'll end the short overview of Monaco with this photo of the Prince's palace.
The last day, before departure, we were just chilling on the beach, where we rented sun beds - in the first line, just next to the sea. It was a fabulous idea :)
Before we've left our hotel, about 5pm, it was time to remove the "priority" label - we'll be flying regular economy today :(
As we were already on our way to the NCE airport, so was our airplane, SP-LNG. It was scheduled to arrive in Nice on time, which was great.
To get to the airport, we took the tram 2 from the city centre. It's a really convenient, quick and cheap connection. The tram was a bit busy at the time but it was still ok and we found seats for us both.
We're approaching Aeroport T2. Terminal 1 is currently closed and all flights operate from T2. However, the tram still stops at T1, to make some passengers confused ;)
From the last stop of the tram, the departure hall is within a very short walking distance. You need to climb one floor, either by stairs or using the lift. The signs guiding to the hall could be better, as once you get off the tram, there's basically no sign and we didn't know which direction to go.
One of the entrances to terminal 2. No temperature screening or document check at the entrance, unlike Warsaw.
That's different places of the check in hall. You can see the queue to our check in desk in the first picture. It was not that long but as there were only 2 desks open and also the staff were working really slowly, we waited approx. 35 mins to check our bags. I don't even want to think how long you have to wait, when Dreamliner operates this flight! Some passengers in front of us in the queue have been reseated by the system (no-one knows why) and the staff at check in seemed to be very unhelpful (or even rude) to those passengers. They were OK to us but nothing that could draw my attention, no smile on their face as well. So to sum up, the check in experience could definitely be better…
Security, on the other hand was a breeze this time!
Then we went for a small shopping in Aelia Duty Free. The shop was alright although the cashier was a bit disorganised to be fair.
As you can see, most (if not all) other shops are now open in Nice.
Our Embraer arrived from Warsaw a bit ahead of schedule and docked into a jet bridge gate. Soon after our gate was announced, it'll be A00 - strange gate number, isn't it? After the next 5 minutes, boarding was commenced.
I'm giving a huge PLUS to Nice Airport for a well-organised boarding. The gate area of A00 was big and so there was more than enough space for everyone. The staff also boarded passengers from the rear to the front, in 3 groups. All that resulted in no "gate lice", at least in front of the gate. We however had to queue later on, in the jet bridge, as everyone had their temperature checked at the plane entrance. Due to the very high temperature in the air bridge and lots of sun getting through the windows, nearly everyone had the temperature of about 37.5 or so… The cutoff was 38 degrees.
Now, to a very peculiar story for which someone should be penalised, in my honest opinion. The crew of our flight asked two passengers, whose temperature was higher than 38 degrees to stand in the jet bridge, next to all other passengers, and cool themselves down. Well, I understand the crew didn't want to leave anyone at the airport but if those two passengers turned out to have COVID, ALL other passengers were in close contact with the two… After all, one of the "hot passengers" managed to cool down and was allowed on board whereas the other one was denied boarding and was left in Nice for another couple of days (or maybe they found another flight next day?)
As we stepped on board the aircraft, we could feel the cold - nice cool air, and not-so-nice cold atmosphere due to the fuss around temperature check. The crew didn't seem to be warm as well, at least at first. My attitude to them will change later, as you'll see.
The aircraft that we were flying that day, was SP-LNG Embraer 195, which was taken by LOT from Azul. Therefore the interior is not LOT's hard product. First 5 rows of seats are in beige upholstery (this was formerly business class in Azul) and the rest of seats are black (no photo, sorry). The light-coloured seats are more or less the same as the dark ones, but feature more legroom.
The legroom in 4B (I'm 1.87m). Not bad, right? Unfortunately there was no space for my backpack in the overhead bins but it wasn't that much of a problem.
As the crew continues boarding, let's have a look at the seat pocket content: SkyBar offer, safety instruction card and a waste bag. Pretty standard offer. Kaleidoscope magazine is no longer being printed but is available online. All passengers can also download one other piece of newspaper from the ePress section of LOT's website. I didn't try it out this time.
When I was continuing to check out different features of the aircraft, the crew was "trying to cool down" the one remaining passenger. This lasted for at least 10-15 minutes and no-one informed us about what's happening… Finally they told us, one passenger won't be flying and we were pretty much ready to go.
As we kept waiting, I was able to observe the sun starting to set over Nice.
At last, we started our taxi to the runway and the crew did the safety demo manually, in Polish and English. It's worth taking note of that even though there was a curtain divider installed in this Embraer, it was not closed inflight. That's because today's flight was a part of the LOTnaWakacje campaign - the flights were Economy only and fares started from 25 EUR/99 PLN (excluding Dreamliner flights).
We departed north-east about half an hour behind the schedule. Shortly after takeoff we made a sharp right turn and then another one to the left - then continued climbing. I'm glad I chose the seats on the left hand side (seat reservation is free during booking in the standard fare with LOT), as the views were simply stunning. I could spot: Villafranche sur mer & Monaco, to say the least. The sunset added even more charm to the already beautiful scenery.
Thats our initial route after takeoff. Strangely, we kept climbing for quite some time, like 30 mins or so and then once we reached the cruising altitude, the flight continued "in the clouds" which made it a bit bumpy.
The inflight service started about 20 minutes into the flight with a refreshing (or sanitising) tissue. It was of decent size and had nice smell, actually.
The wipe proved to be quite useful as well… My mum found a huge jelly on her tray table, a bit disgusting. And ironically, before takeoff she asked me, whether the airplanes are now cleaned after every flight because of COVID. I'm happy I didn't lie and said NO ;)
Anyway, when it comes to the aircraft cleanliness, it could generally be better, ranging from the seats (and tray tables) to the toilets and the carpet.
The interior was far from being fresh either. This included the old curtain and the light which shows whether lavatory is free or occupied (it kept flashing throughout the flight).
Now it's time for a short digression, I know you love them :)
A week or so before the outbound flight to Nice, I booked a meal upgrade for this flight back to Warsaw. For the price of 65 PLN (or 15 EUR), I was supposed to be served: Grilled chicken with Caesar dressing and pasta pesto, a salad with grapes, feta cheese and seeds, a white chocolate cake and a bread roll, alongside champagne or wine.
And because I was sure we'll have a dinner on the plane, we didn't eat anything beforehand - in the town and at the airport.
This is what the meal was meant to look like. The photo was downloaded from LOT website.
As we, however kept waiting, for our meal to be served, the crew made a few rounds with the trolleys: they served water, then either blueberry bun or spinach roll and then the paid service.
I even had enough time to complete my flight data sheet and the passenger locator form… When finally crew seemed to have finished the service, I stood up from my seat and went to the toilet (with a plan to ask about the special meal on my way back).
A short interruption to the story, as I show you the very typical Embraer toilet with a very low ceiling (too low for me!)…
I asked the purser, whether the meal will be served any soon or whether they have it on board at all (I tried to be as polite as I could). It turned out, that the carts you can see in this photo, didn't contain our wonderful dinner :((( It hasn't been packed by Do&Co back in Warsaw. What a pity! The purser expressed compassion and said she'll double check if the meals are definitely not on board. Unfortunately, they weren't. So I asked for a little compensation, as we were really hungry. The purser behaved really kindly (unlike how I felt during boarding), and offered us multiple drinks and snacks.
We were given (for free) this bottle of Pepsi, a whole 1 litre carton of orange juice and two spinach rolls, alongside the blueberry bun which we took earlier. We asked if we could have some wine but unfortunately no wine or champagne was available on board. Instead of that, the purser offered us some stronger alcohols like vodka or whiskey, on the house, but we denied.
Once we finished that, ALL passengers were offered mini pretzels and salted peanuts for free, but the crew insisted that we take two packages of both :) They kept being super nice to us for the rest of the flight, I have to say they dealt with the problem very well!
For the rest of the flight I kept watching Netflix on my mobile (unfortunately no power sockets were available on this Embraer - but as I said it's not LOT hard product yet). I also helped the purser to write a report from what happened - i.e. that no meal was given to us. If you're curious, I already have my money back and I also received an apologetic email from LOT, after I sent a refund claim online, the whole procedure was surprisingly quick.
Landing into Warsaw was quite turbulent as we surfed through multiple layers of clouds. We landed a few minutes before 10 pm, which meant an on-time arrival. We parked at a remote stand, not what I expected to be fair… as it was really cold and windy in Warsaw that evening. But pretty much all jetties were already taken here at WAW.
As I was leaving the aircraft, one more view at the front section seats.
I even managed to take a photo in the flight deck and thank the captain for today's flight! We were then transferred to the terminal by bus.
That's the whole route of our flight, LO8536.
The experience in Warsaw was pretty much seamless. Our bags arrived quickly and we were ready to go back home.
That's the Schengen arrival area for bus gates.
And the baggage reclaim area, not our belt, however. Everything is modern and fresh. Kept simple but nice.
And the view on the toilet in arrivals hall… not to clean, I'd say. More attention should be put on cleaning in WAW in times of COVID.
I am sorry to finish this report with this toilet photo, I hope you won't get mad at me.
All in all, this was a great flight to finish my holidays on Cote d'Azur. A few areas for improvement would be:
- better procedures for checking temperature, to not put potentially ill passengers next to others
- improve the cleanliness (LOT & WAW)
- improve check in efficiency at NCE
- Upgrade the cabin and the entertainment stuff
I have to say, on the other hand that many things were also done quite alright on this flight:
- well-organised boarding in terms of ground staff
- comprehensive snack offer (even though my special meal wasn't offered)
- more than acceptable legroom in the front rows
- the crew dealt with my problem in a really good way
- Arrival procedures in Warsaw were smooth and fast