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    Ciprian Hirlea
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    CHECK-IN, LOUNGE and AIRPORT EXPERIENCE

    There was no queue at check-in and the attendant was very polite, engaging and efficient. One interesting point to note that was because I received an upgrade by way of a bid, I was only entitled to my original economy class checked baggage allowance – this necessitated a couple of quick moves between my hand baggage and checked bag – I didn’t recall this being pointed out but sure it was hidden in the small print of the confirmation e-mail or booking terms and conditions.

    I used the lounge very briefly to have a quick drink, however, as I was with a friend who was travelling in economy and neither of us have Star Alliance status, we decided to head down to the gate and do some last minute vodka shopping (!) and go for a pre-boarding coffee at a small cafe near to gate 18 (which was the departure gate for the flight). The lounge was quite busy when I arrived and there were limited places to sit. There was a decent selection of drinks and whilst I didn't try any of the foods, the selection looked fairly limited – albeit there were several cheese platters in the lounge which looked good.

    Shortly after ordering, the flight was announced as being delayed – initially with no estimated time of departure. I asked at the gate and was told it would be an approximately one hour delay – the monitors initially stated that boarding would commence at 8:20pm and 8:40pm.

    BOARDING AND HARD PRODUCT

    Boarding finally commenced at around 8:40pm. Boarding was fairly chaotic and though there was a priority boarding lane it did not seem to be respected by a number of the passengers and was not enforced by the gate attendant (albeit that was arguably understandable given the delay and the fact that a number of people seemed eager to board with small and tired children). There were checks at the gate and I was about the tenth person to board the aircraft. There was a short walk to the aircraft door and there was a warm and polite welcome on boarding. The aircraft was a Boeing 737-400 and I was sitting in seat 1A. The female flight attendant quickly brought me a glass of water on request, which was particularly welcome as the cabin seemed very warm. There was an announcement to stay that all passengers were onboard at 8:55pm and the door was closed at almost exactly 9:00pm. Almost immediately a flight attendant appeared with a tray of glasses of water and orange juice in small clear plastic cups. Push back was at 9:02pm. The captain made a welcome announcement initially in Polish and then in English – the estimated flight was 2 hours and 10 minutes and we were told that it was very good conditions for flying. Take off was at about 9:10pm and it was a clear night there were great views of Warsaw (albeit sadly I didn't see the Palace of Culture and Science).

    In terms of the hard product, the aircraft was very old – for example, there were still ashtrays in the seats. However, it seemed reasonably well maintained and the carpet and windows were considerably cleaner than the BA aircraft I'd flown out on three days before. The seats are in 3-3 configuration with the middle seat being blocked (the middle seats had white headrests with 'The middle seat is blocked for your comfort' written on them). The seats are fabric rather than leather. The legroom was 34 inches, which was decent. There was no one sitting in seat 1C and row 2 only had 2 people in it. There was no curtain drawn between business and economy class.

    MEAL SERVICE (DINNER)

    The service started at around 21:25 where a male flight attendant came round with white tablecloths for everyone and helping to pull out the tray tables. Quite annoying, one part of the tray table sloped to one side and had to be supported by my left knee throughout the meal service! I did ask the flight attendant if I was doing something wrong, but I was just told the seat was broken and unfortunately there was nothing he could do accept help me move to another seat.

    There was no menu so I cannot provide the details of the drinks available although I was told that there was a 'range of juices, beers and wines available'. There was an option of peanuts and carrot crisps with Cajun spices as an accompanying snack. I asked for a glass of red wine and there were two types available: one from South Africa and another from Germany. I had the German wine out of intrigue which was a Dornfelder Halbtrocken, which was pleasant.

    Dinner comprised (in summary, as again there was no menu) a starter of sliced duck and spinach; there was a choice of main course between fish and turkey – I opted for the turkey which turned out to be a turkey escalope in breadcrumbs with creamy mashed potato and broccoli and cauliflower; a dessert of two differently coloured small meringue cakes and 2 Lindor chocolates. The service was excellent throughout and at the same time as I was given the main course I was also given a small bottle of the South African red wine (which again was decent) and offered a bread basket which contained a selection of warm white and brown breads. I was really impressed with the quantity and quality of the food provided – it was considerably better than my average meal experience in many Club Europe flights with British Airways. After the meal service gin and tonic was brought promptly on request and I was then asked if I wanted anything else. A tea and coffee commenced shortly afterwards.

    The rest of the flight was uneventful and I read, including a flick through Kaleidoscope which is LOT's inflight magazine (my tip would be to sort your reading material before you get to the airport – there were limited English language magazines and newspapers in the lounge and neither offered either before boarding or once onboard). The cabin crew came round to take another drinks order about half an hour after the meal service ended. I had a peppermint tea which was served very quickly (I was given hot water and lemon and the tea bag in a packet to use myself, which was great as you can make it your personal preference).

    ARRIVAL

    An announcement was made at 10:57pm to state that we would be landing shortly. The flight landed at 11:20pm (10:20pm London time). Disembarkation was from gate 233.

    PASSPORT CONTROL AND BAGGAGE

    There was a long walk from the gate to passport control. The T2 EU passport queue was reasonably long but fast moving and I was through in a few minutes. After arriving at baggage reclaim there was a reasonable wait for my bag and it arrived after a number of bags that didn’t have the Star Alliance priority tag. The wait wasn’t a huge issue but I’ve generally found that priority baggage doesn’t work which is one of the supposed benefits of flying business class!

    In summary, this was a decent experience, however, I personally wouldn't be prepared to pay much extra to fly LOT business class. The lounge was fairly mediocre and once onboard, with the exception of the blocked middle seat and the food, there really is limited difference between business class and economy. My checked bag also arrived at the same time or after much of the economy baggage. The food and drink service were hard to fault for a 2 hour flight, however, I can't help but think that your money is better spent at one of Warsaw's many excellent restaurants before getting to the airport.

    Review courtesy of Seatplans.com. Original review by user Aspirational Flyer can be found here

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