Poland’s flag carrier LOT has launched twice-daily flights between Warsaw Chopin and London City Airport.
As the first flight touched down in the UK capital this morning, senior LOT staff said it would be a convenient new way to get to Poland and beyond with the option of premium economy or business.
Flights leave Warsaw at 0715 and 1615, arriving at 0900 and 1800. The returns leave at 0930 and 1830, arriving at 1300 and 2200. However due to restrictions on London City’s operating hours, there are no flights on Saturday evening or Sunday morning.
LOT has leased four new 106-seat Embraer 190s from Nordic Aviation Capital. The Star Alliance member is also set to launch flights to London City from Budapest and Vilnius this year.
LOT said the new Warsaw route would allow passengers to connect to regional destinations like Kiev, Lviv, Riga, Bucharest, Larnaca and Tblisi, plus Asian destinations such as Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing, in premium economy or business class.
“The biggest advantage is for passengers connecting onto a long-haul flight who want a premium product from the airport of their departure, and only with LOT do they have this,” LOT’s Head of Communications Adrian Kubicki told Business Traveller at the route launch today.
“It is also an advantage to travellers whose corporate policy doesn’t let them book business class but who want an upgraded product,” Kubicki continued.
LOT Polish also offers flights to Warsaw from Heathrow, as does British Airways, while Easyjet operates from Gatwick, and Wizz Air from Luton.
“Premium economy and London City go hand-in-hand,” added David Bentlet, LOT’s regional director for the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia.
“The idea is not to downgrade our business class passengers but upgrade our economy passengers. It gives us a benefit over our competition in short-haul at an affordable price.”
A curtain divider between economy and premium economy/business will allow LOT to change the class configuration according to demand.
Short-haul business class passengers get a bit of extra leg room, an empty seat next to them, lounge access, porcelain plates, and a hot meal, salad, dessert and alcohol options.
Premium economy passengers don’t get a spare seat, but do get fast-tracked at check-in and boarding, the same meal options as business (but on plastic plates), and a greater luggage allowance. Lounge access comes at additional cost.
“This product has been very successful, and even if we had in the past thought of rethinking the concept of premium cabins on our short-haul aircraft, not any more. We are convinced this is the right thing to offer even on short-haul,” Kubicki said.
Asked about the WAW-LCY summer schedule, he said:
“Right now we are happy with two flights a day, but we just started. It’s a schedule suited to the needs of our business travellers.
“Adding more connections would give them more flexibility, but we need to see the performance and the availability of the slots.
“We are always open to increasing and we grow very fast.”
Another ‘new’ route also launched at LCY this morning, with Eastern Airways’ Aberdeen-London City flight becoming Aberdeen-Newcastle-London City, landing a little after 0915.
Flights leave Newcastle at 0805 and 1750 and return at 0945 and 1930.