Tried & Tested

LOT B737-500 business class

26 Jan 2009 by Sara Turner

BACKGROUND LOT Polish Airlines flies three times a day from Warsaw to London Heathrow, with a morning flight at 0745, an afternoon flight at 1450 and an evening flight at 2005. BA also serves the route.

CHECK-IN All of LOT’s international flights depart from Terminal 2 in Warsaw Frederic Chopin airport, a 10- to 15-minute drive from the city centre. The flat rate in a Hilton/Marriott taxi is 60zl (£13.50). While you cannot check in online from London Heathrow to Warsaw, you can check in via lot.com when flying from Warsaw. I arrived at 1250 for the 1450 LO279 flight to London. There was no queue at the business class check-in so I dropped my bag swiftly, collected my boarding card and made my way to the business class security channel. While there were many people waiting to get through economy class security, I was through in a few minutes.

THE LOUNGE There are two executive lounges at the airport – Ballada for the Schengen area (on the right, just after security control) and Bolero for non-Schengen. I was departing from Gate A35 so had to use the Bolero lounge (open 0600-2200), which meant following the signs to passport control and then downstairs to ground level. The room, looking out on to the runway, was spacious and flooded with sunlight. There are several seating areas fitted with dark grey/lime green felt sofas and armchairs, oatmeal-coloured carpeting, and low coffee tables, as well as several workstations with PCs and free wired internet access. Wifi is not available in either lounge. A bar area has a selection of wines, spirits, tea, coffee, crisps, nuts and chocolate, and fridges at either end are stocked with local beer and soft drinks. There was a TV showing a Polish film and, as there are no announcements, screens displaying flight times.

BOARDING The gate, a minute’s walk from the lounge, opened at 1405 but boarding didn’t begin until 1450. There was a single queue for all passengers.

THE SEAT I was sitting in window seat 3A, which was comfortable for a short flight. The B737-500 is configured 3-3 across two classes (a curtain separates the two), although the middle seat is kept free in business class. Seats upholstered in royal blue fabric are fitted with orange headrest covers in business and white in economy. In both classes seats have a pitch of 81cm/32in, a width of 43cm/17in, and a recline of 14cm/30 degrees. As this is a short-haul aircraft there is no in-flight entertainment on board. The best seats are probably in row 1 as you get served first and can disembark quickly, as well as have a little extra legroom owing to their position behind the bulkhead. However, on such a short flight any seat in business is going to satisfy your needs.

THE FLIGHT Once in my seat, the cabin crew offered a selection of Polish newspapers, orange juice and a refreshing towel. The plane started taxiing at 1505 and take-off was ten minutes later. Once we had reached cruising altitude at 1540, a stewardess placed white tablecloths on each tray table. This was followed by a drinks service with a choice of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and a packet of peanuts. At 1555 the meal service began and I was given my pre-ordered vegetarian option, which consisted of hot steamed vegetables and dumplings, a side of cold broccoli and roasted red pepper, a salad of iceberg lettuce and fresh orange chunks, and chopped kiwi and pink grapefruit to finish. Cutlery was plastic but of good quality. We were also given a warm roll, a large chocolate wafer bar and offered another choice of drinks, including wine, beer, tea and coffee. Those opting to eat meat had the choice of turkey or pork with noodles, a side of ham, cheese and bread, and chocolate cheesecake for dessert. Cabin crew were friendly and helpful and spoke reasonable English.

ARRIVAL The plane landed at 1650 local time and passengers disembarked promptly. There was a short queue at passport control but at baggage reclaim in Heathrow’s Terminal 1 I had to wait 40 minutes for my suitcase to appear. When it did, I noticed my security lock had gone and the contents seemed out of place, but nothing was missing.

VERDICT A decent short-haul offering with a welcoming crew and pleasant environment.

Fact file

CONFIGURATION 3-3

SEAT PITCH 81cm/32in

SEAT WIDTH 43cm/17in

PRICE A return business class flight from London to Warsaw booked on Lot’s website typically starts from £662.

CONTACT lot.com

Jenny Southan

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