That's me back on Flight-Report after a longish break, with a brand new report of my flight from Heathrow to Warsaw on a LOT Polish Airlines' 787-9 in Premium Economy. If you want a spoiler, it was a great flight (if that's not enough please read on)!
That's already my second flight on LOT's 787 on a short-haul flight, the first one being Nice in August 2020. However, NCE was on a 787-8, whilst now I flew on a 787-9. The Premium Economy cabin has a few differences in the bigger version of Dreamliner and I'll highlight these in my report.
NB. The price difference between Eco and Premium Eco was only approx. 20 Euros
Flight number LO280
Route London Heathrow T2 - Warsaw Chopin
Flight date 10th March 2021 1825-2205 (actual 1911-2157)
Scheduled flight time 2:40 (actual 1:46)
Aircraft model Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Aircraft registration SP-LSE
Seating configuration C24 W21 Y249 (huge Economy!!)
Aircraft age (at the time of flight) 1.9 years
Seat number 6G
Departure gate A18 (jet bridge)
Arrival gate 15N (jet bridge)
Load factor (approx.) All cabins 50%
My journey starts in Bristol and leads through Paddington, Kew Gardens and Heathrow. If you don't wish to read through the whole travel day, please jump to "The Flight" section.
A rainy, cold and windy March day in the UK. My journey started, as usual, in Bristol. I took a bus to the main railway station (Bristol Temple Meads) which is a bit outside of the centre. From there I caught a Great Western Railway train to London Paddington (the train journey takes a bit less than 2 hours). I would normally take a coach directly from Bristol City Centre to Heathrow but due to national lockdown in the UK, all coach services are suspended until the end of March… Ehh
The train journey was nevertheless very comfortable and reasonably priced (20 pounds). Around 10-15 people in my carriage (out of 80 seats). We arrived at Paddington on time, at 12ish from where I continued to Heathrow on the TFL Rail (the Elizabeth line) which is a new service. It was really empty. I have to say, it's quite convenient, the price and length of journey is somewhat between the Tube and Heathrow Express, which makes it a nice alternative.
The TFL rail train inside.
Once I arrived at LHR, it was 1pm and so I still had a lot of time to spare (flight at 6.25pm). I decided check in my bags already. The agent at LOT counter was really friendly and had a little chat with me as well.
(NB that from 11th of March onwards, LOT suspended the possibility of downloading a boarding card online. You MUST go to a check in counter to get one. This is to enable a document check at the desk and not during boarding, to avoid delays.)
After dropping off the bags, I went for a COVID test, down at level 0 at LHR T2. This is to avoid having to quarantine after arrival in Poland. A test is not obligatory but exempts you from self-isolating.
The testing centre is very well organised and it didn't take me more than 15 mins to get it done. I did the rapid antigen test, which cost 59 pounds at LHR, comparing to 130 pounds in Bristol and 25 pounds in Poland!!! Whilst I was waiting for my results, I decided to quickly go to Kew Gardens for a walk.
Kew Gardens - it is certainly one of my favourite places in London. Always enraptures with its beauty and diversity. And it was really empty that day, but probably because of terrible weather.
After a lovely walk, it was time to head back to T2 of LHR to catch my flight to Warsaw. I took the District and Piccadilly lines. The trains weren't massively busy.
I really like the entrance to T2 with this massive metal sculpture, it's impressive! (But overall, I'm a greater fan of T5 than T2 - personal opinion)
At the entrance, there were officers carrying out random checks (I guess), they didn't check me at least. From the 8th of March 2021 you are required to carry a document where you state the reason for travelling abroad (it must be an "essential" reason) but no one checked mine.
This was actually already the second time I entered the terminal that day. Like I said earlier, I left the bags at check in a few hours ago. And the airport was much more deserted at 1pm than it was at 5pm, yet it still wasn't busy at all… Both the check in hall and the airside were unusually quiet (I haven't yet travelled from LHR since the pandemic started, I only travelled to LHR).
In theory, with LOT Premium Eco, Fast Track is included, but the one at Heathrow T2 didn't seem to be open that day. But it wasn't needed anyway, the "normal" queue was short anyway and the security check didn't take more than 10 mins.
Meanwhile I received a text message from LOT that my departure has been delayed until 7pm… which wasn't surprising as this rotation is delayed every single day. That's due to additional test/COVID locator form checks that they need to do in WAW at boarding. I also met a lady who was travelling on my flight and later transferring on a domestic to Krakow, she was really worried she's not gonna make the connection due to the delay. But I assured her that she will - since LOT plans LHR flight for 2:40 and the flight takes 1:50, we even landed before schedule after all!
Most shops at LHR T2 remain closed, due to lockdown. A few cafes and restaurant are open for takeaway, and there is also WHS Smith, World Duty Free, a Pharmacy and some other shops open. I didn't need to visit any of those that time.
Before boarding started, I made a stroll around the terminal but there wasn't much going on. There weren't too many flights left that evening either.
As a short interruption, I wanted to thank Flight-Report for this lovely luggage tag for gold members. It looks great with my backpack, doesn't it? ;)
Boarding started at 6.30ish and was done in a strange way. They first did pre-boarding of passengers from the rear Economy section, and asked them to wait squeezed in a tiny space. Then they boarded all status, Business and Premium Eco passengers altogether, directly into the airplane. And only after that did they board that rear and then front cabin Economy passengers.
About to board the beautiful 787-9. I'll be one of the first on board this time.
And here I am on board. Temperature check was carried out at the entrance, then a friendly welcome from a cabin crew member and a few shots of the empty cabin of course. How lucky were I to be able to take a picture of an empty cabin. By the way, as much as I love LOT's Embraer and 737 MAX interior, I find the one on Dreamliner's quite cold and "raw" if that makes sense… (I think I said that already in my report from the flight to NCE)
As Economy passengers kept boarding, I kept taking pictures of the cabin and seat area :) Unfortunately, the personal IFEs and monitors in the cabin were disabled during boarding and first 20 mins of the flight.
This is the legroom in 787-9 W class, quite impressive and definitely much better than legroom in the equivalent class in 787-8. It's really a significant difference! I'm 1.87 m by the way.
Boarding went smoothly and quickly and we were ready to depart a few minutes after 7pm.
Now a really special and positive surprise! During boarding, one of the flight attendants came to me and gave me a present:
My friend was flying the same 787-9 on the way to London that day and was seated in 11G. He knew I was going to fly the same jet the way back and so he handed a little letter to the flight attendant and asked her to give it to me :)
I couldn't unfortunately find anything else than this bag. It's a pity, we're flying in opposite directions today. I hope, we'll be able to meet some time in the Spring. Have a great stay in Warsaw.
It is really one of the nicest surprise I've ever experienced on board!!! By the way, there was a little gift, a Lufthansa pen, inside :)
When we started our pushback, we were given a bottle of water and a refreshing tissue and then a safety video was played on the big screens in front of the cabin. It was showed in both Polish and English and so were all the announcements. The level of English amongst the Polish crew was quite good, I'd say, yet not perfect.
Pushing back from gate A18 in the very rainy and windy weather…
We taxied quickly to Runway 27R and departed in no time, as there was no queue whatsoever. It's such a comfort to fly a wide body on a European route. So quiet, so comfortable, so smooth, no turbulence noticeable.
As it was dark, it was really difficult to take any picture of the outside, sorry for that.
It took us around 15 mins to climb out from London and then the seatbelts signs were switched off and I went to explore the aircraft a bit. First: lavatory. In contrast to 787-8, where W passengers need to use Y toilet at the back, here in 787-9 we shared toilets with business class which is a major upgrade. The lavatory was clean and reasonable size, yet nothing special in terms of design and amenities.
Next: a look into business class, I wanted to take a closer look but it was quite full (mostly of people from LOT on standby) so I didn't want to interrupt. But it looks a bit outdated comparing to what other airlines offer in J, especially that the aircraft is only 2 years old.
Soon after I came back from the bathroom, we were given the usual paperwork these times - a locator form and a health declaration for Poland that they collected later on in flight. They won't let you disembark if you don't fill the forms out. I have to say, this procedure gets faster with each flight when you get used to what the forms ask you :)
Before the meals arrived, I still managed to explore the IFE a bit. It's modern and intuitive to use (much more than the one on 787-8) and also quite responsive. And although the choice of movies and tv series is not as big as on some other airlines, it's still decent. I was only missing exterior cameras which are installed on some other airlines :( Also, since the monitor is in the armrest, you can't use it for the first and last few minutes of the flight.
One more downside to the seat design/IFE - the IFE remote control is located in the left armrest and it's very easy to press buttons with your knees accidentally. I pressed the light and bell call buttons a few times…
Flying quite fast this evening!
The meal in Premium Eco was served around 30 mins into the flight and was a warm meal served on one tray. Unless you've ordered a special meal, there was no choice and everyone was given the same option. The cabin crew member, Małgorzata, who served me this evening, after serving the meal passed through the cabin with a drink trolley and offered us some beverages. She was really kind, warm and professional too. Provided a home-atmosphere service.
- Starter: A shrimp with salad, tomatoes and mushrooms in cocktail sauce (tasty)
- Main dish: A piece of baked pork in peppercorn sauce, potato gratin with cheese on top, grilled vegetables (very tasty)
- Dessert: White chocolate mousse (Not sure?) (was a bit bland)
- Bread roll: As you can imagine was hard and dry
- Drinks: Pepsi, Red wine and black tea before landing
The meal was served on one tray, main dish on porcelain, the other dishes in plastic which decently imitated porcelain. Big plus for metal cutlery as well. Drinks were unfortunately served in plastic/paper cups.
One more word to mention about the cabin crew member Małgorzata. She even went around the cabin a few times after the service to collect any crockery that we've used already, like the starter plate, and asked if we wanted a drink refill too. A very good job!
After the meal, it was time to watch something not too long, since we didn't have much time left. I opted for one episode of the Big Bang Theory.
The monitor size is quite decent. Good sound too but I used my own headphones. We were offered complimentary earphones from LOT before departure, if someone didn't have their owns.
Shortly after I had finished Big Bang Theory we started our descend into Warsaw Chopin. Before that, I managed however to order myself an after-meal black tea (photo above). Mrs Małgorzata said it's not a problem and brewed a fresh one for me.
A few more views of the cabin before we start our final descend. There was no one seated in the whole first row of Premium Eco (row 5) but in contrast to 787-8, here in 787-9 the first row of W doesn't seem to give any advantage in terms of legroom in comparison to row 6 (my row).
The one thing to be aware of with LOT's 787-9 is that there are no personal air vents unlike 787-8! And it got really hot during our flight… But the cabin and seat overall are very decent.
The last picture shows LOT's inflight magazine, Kaleidoscope, which always contains interesting articles: this time there was one about rice, about the first Polish female pilot and many more. The magazine was very fresh (I think I was actually its first user) and I decided to take it home with me.
In no time we started our final descend for landing into Warsaw, which was very smooth. We landed at 2157, a bit ahead of schedule despite the late departure. But we had an unusually short flight time this evening of 1:46 (usually about 2:00). We quickly docked into gate 15N/16N in WAW (jet bridge, attached to doors 2L). "Priority disembarking" was respected and I was one of the first to leave the aircraft, after business class passengers.
And since I was one of the first, there was no queue at immigration :) The eGates are closed because of COVID now but it didn't take me more than 5 mins to get through the control, where apart from my passport, I also showed the negative COVID test to be exempt from quarantine in Poland.
Going towards the baggage reclaim hall. The check in area was so empty but that's because the check in for all flights this evening has already closed.
I don't know if I've ever said it in any other of my flight reports but I really really like Warsaw Airport. It's clean, modern, well-organised and easy to navigate (not too big).
Baggage reclaim was fast, and I waited for my bags maybe 10 mins from the time I reached the luggage belt, which is a good timing. In the reclaim area there was also this billboard of KLM's Embraer E2. Warsaw is the first destination where KLM uses that jet. They started these flights maybe 2 weeks ago only.
I then left the airport through the "nothing to declare" gate. The lady in front of me was asked was asked to come for an additional control by the custom guard. It was the first time I had seen someone being stopped at that point by the guard.
Anyway, I managed to get through and quickly left the airport to wait for my transport to home.
WAW entrance (zones A-C) at night.
And back at home, with my two luggage that safely arrived :)
Thanks everyone for reading my report. I hope you enjoyed it. Apologies for the length of it but it was quite an exciting flight so lots of things to talk about. If you have any comments or questions, please use the comment section :)
See you soon
A very nice flight with LOT this time, hence the high marks!
Cabin: Very comfortable seat with great legroom, footrest and adjustable headrest. However the colouring of the cabin is a bit cold and feels outdated despite the aircraft is new. Big plus for dedicated lavatory, big minus for no air vents.
Cabin crew: My cc member was very professional, polite and kind. The others seemed ok but not as nice to be fair.
Entertainment: The IFE is alright, screen is responsive and movie choice is wide enough. It's a pity though that you can't use the IFE screen for the first and last 20 mins of the flight since it's in the armrest. WiFi would also be a good additive to LOT's product.
Meal: It was a decent meal and drink service for that flight and not really anything to complain about (except for the bland dessert).