Tried & Tested

LOT Polish Airlines B737-500 economy class

25 Nov 2008 by Sara Turner

CHECK-IN The LOT economy check-in desks in Heathrow’s Terminal 1 were empty and I was checked in immediately at 1545. (Passengers can also check in online within 24 hours of departure.) I was also through passport control and security within a few minutes (shoes and coat off) leaving about an hour to spend in departures. LOT Polish Airlines offers a decent selection of daily flights to Warsaw at 0650, 1035 and 1750, with the only other airline serving this route being British Airways at 0820.

BOARDING At 1655, I noticed the screens were advising passengers for the 1750 flight to Warsaw to go to Gate 27a, which is about a seven-minute walk from the main duty-free area. Boarding began at 1720 with a single queue for all passengers. I was in my seat five minutes later, after picking up a newspaper on my way in. (Copies of the Financial Times, Evening Standard and the Daily Mail are available to everyone, and the cabin crew later came round with a trolley of them for those who didn’t get one.)

THE SEAT I was sitting in 17C, an aisle seat almost at the back of the 18-row B737-500. The plane is configured 3-3 (A, B, C – D, E, F) across two classes (roughly 36 in business – depending on how many tickets they have sold – and 72 in economy), and seats, upholstered in royal blue fabric, are fitted with white headrest covers in economy and orange in business. In economy, seats have a pitch of 81cm/32inches, a width of 43cm/17inches, and a recline of 14cm/30 degrees – exactly the same as in business.

As this is a short-haul aircraft there is no in-flight entertainment on board. The best seats to go for would be window seats A, F or aisle seats C, D (depending on your preference) just behind business class, as these are nearer the front of the plane and therefore quieter and smoother than at the back. Try to avoid those in row 18, as these are close to the washrooms and the galley so there may be some disturbance, and middle seats.

THE FLIGHT The plane started taxiing at 1800 and took off a little later than scheduled at 1815. The dinner service started at 1830 and I was served my meal at 1855, with a choice of alcoholic, soft drinks, tea and coffee following ten minutes later. My vegetarian option consisted of cold vegetables and pickles, a hot dish of rice with broccoli, carrot and cauliflower, two small slices of bread, and a Prince Polo chocolate wafer bar for dessert. The non-vegetarian version instead had cold ham and cheese, and meat stew with rice. Service was efficient, and the cabin crew all spoke English.

ARRIVAL We landed on time at Warsaw Frederic Chopin airport at 2120, and disembarked via an airbridge at the front of the plane. There was a short queue at passport control and then a ten-minute walk to baggage reclaim where I collected my suitcase promptly.

VERDICT While the food could do with some improvement, the cabin crew were amenable and the English papers in economy were a nice bonus.

PRICE Internet rates for a return economy class flight from London Heathrow to Warsaw in November started from 727zl (£160).


Jenny Southan

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