LOT Polish Launching Flights To Miami

Filed Under: LOT

Star Alliance member LOT Polish has an interesting long haul route network, in that they only fly to a handful of destinations in North America, but do so from multiple gateways in Central/Eastern Europe.

They current operate the following North America routes using their Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft:

  • Warsaw to Chicago, Los Angeles, New York JFK, Newark and Toronto
  • Krakow to Chicago
  • Rzeszow to Newark (I didn’t know this route existed)
  • Budapest to New York JFK and Chicago

Ben flew LOT Polish 787 business class from New York to Warsaw a few years ago and was ‘reasonably impressed’ by the experience. It’s not a Star Alliance airline in Europe many people might think to fly long haul, especially when there are the likes of Swiss, Lufthansa, Austrian and Turkish to choose from.

LOT Polish 787 Business Class

Hello Miami

LOT Polish has announced they will commence four weekly flights between Warsaw and Miami from June 1, 2019, operated by their Boeing 787 aircraft, with the following schedule:

  • LO29 Warsaw to Miami departing 12:05PM arriving 5:30PM [Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays]
  • LO30 Miami to Warsaw departing 8:05PM arriving 12:15PM (+1) [Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays]

LOT Polish CEO said of the decision to launch the route:

Miami is currently one of the largest markets in the US so far not served by LOT. It is the first such convenient connection between Central and Eastern Europe and Florida. Miami is not only a perfect holiday destination but also an important business centre in the United States.

Currently, almost half a million passengers per year travel between Eastern Europe and Florida. I am convinced that many passengers from Poland and neighbouring countries will take advantage of our latest offer.

LOT has indicated above that the target market will primarily be Eastern Europeans travelling to Florida for both business and leisure purposes. But Austrian has recently announced they are reducing their year-round Vienna to Miami flights to be seasonal only, because of insufficient demand.

Austrian is generally considered to have a significantly better product than LOT, and geographically the two Star Alliance hubs of Warsaw and Vienna, are not a huge distance apart. So while LOT may pick up some of the passengers who may have otherwise flown Austrian, Austrian couldn’t make the route work year-round.

Revenue Fares and Award Availability

I recently bought Star Alliance business class revenue flights from Europe to Miami for November this year and return, and was disappointed to see Austrian had pulled out of the route for the northern winter, as they were my first choice. I was then left with a choice between Lufthansa, Swiss and Turkish. I chose Lufthansa one way and Swiss the other, as I wanted to compare the two products (and I have flown Turkish long haul several times already).

Had LOT Polish been an option, they would have been my fourth choice of European Star Alliance options (along with the likes of TAP).

LOT Polish Business Class meal

Looking at revenue fares for next year from a European city that does not have a direct flights to Miami (I’ve picked Prague), LOT has loaded fares for their new Miami flight which are priced at fairly ludicrous levels, around five times the price of other one-stop Star Alliance flights with Swiss and Austrian (which will recommence their seasonal route by then). I suspect they just haven’t gotten around to loading all discounted fares yet.

I think Austrian Airlines may disagree that Warsaw to Miami is the ‘first convenient option between Central Europe and Miami’ (for anyone living outside of Warsaw) as LOT’s CEO said above.

As for award travel, the flights have been loaded, and there is economy award availability almost every day, while business class availability is mostly just there on Wednesdays.

Once this route launches, there will be an impressive 20 direct European destinations from Miami (across various carriers, obviously).

Bottom line

I love seeing new routes, especially on carriers I would not have thought to travel on. What I find interesting about this route is that LOT is launching it just as Austrian is reducing it. Perhaps LOT’s service will be seasonal (over the northern summer) too. But that’s a lot of Star Alliance capacity to Miami over summer.

I imagine there will be plenty of connecting traffic coming from Europe, as well as Florida locals travelling to Europe and connecting onto other European destinations. Presumably LOT has a competitive cost structure compared with their Star Alliance counterparts in the Lufthansa Group, so we should hopefully see some more reasonable fares loaded.

I am just interested to see how this route will go, keeping in mind how Austrian has fared.

Would you fly LOT Polish to Miami?

Comments
  1. Those are the published business class fares from Europe to the US? Wow – so cheap! They are much more expensive if you are coming from the US

  2. Also, maybe the lower fares are not loaded ex-Prague yet? The flight from Warsaw to Prague leaves at noon and so those schedules you have in your screenshot above, where the flights leaving Prague all leave after noon, indicate an overnight connection in Warsaw. I’ve checked on LOT’s own website (and on Kayak too) and they have two flights leaving Prague to Warsaw in the morning that connect very well to the noon nonstop to Miami, giving elapsed travel times that are comparable to the other options you present. Maybe you searched wrong? Fares, though, as you point out, are way higher on LOT now. Maybe they just havent fully optimized their revenue management forecasting yet to ensure their fares are competitive. Their timings certainly are. I’d give it a few days until I rush to judgment, as sometimes, especially in new markets for an airline, it can take a few days for their rev man systems to synch up.

  3. Ahh I was hoping for Warsaw-Washington Dulles. It’s a big Star Alliance hub too. LOT has some great European connections from Warsaw.

    Is Rzeszow-Newark really more demand than Warsaw-Washington?

  4. Hmmm I wonder if LOT would work out better in ONEWORLD. Flying to MIA and JFK AA would help out a lot with connections while ORD would still give them a partner. Since LOT isn’t part of the United joint venture this could probably give LOT better profits.

  5. Warsaw is my frequent destination in Europe and I have flown LOT for 30 years. The advantage on non stop is offset by their higher pricing than Lufthansa for bizness class and premium economy originating in US. From your screenshots they seem to be charging over $10,000 for MIA. It is not competitive at all.

    With introduction of 787 hard product is way better comparing to old 767 they used to operate over Atlantic but new bizness class 787 layout is 2-2-2, cramped hard seats and quite chaotic service. I have had some horrific weather cancellations by LOT where they just abandoned their biz class customers overnighting in EWR on the sidewalk with no assistance. No thank you. I would rather take Lufthansa with connecting flight.

  6. Many airlines have had high hopes for the Miami market only to be disappointed and either reduce or cancel service altogether. We’ve seen it from WOW Air which operated for less than a year, Aeroflot is giving up on the route, Emirates, VS, have also reduced their flights to South Florida. It’s a highly seasonal market and the business travelers everyone thinks come from or to Miami simply doesn’t exist. It’s 90% tourism.

  7. @Rafa: Thanks for the info. re: LOT’s lack of customer service. Will be sure to avoid them. I’d rather pay a bit more for LH, OS and have them at least help when there’s a problem with the flight. Sad to say, but how come I’m not surprised. The only European carriers IMHO which have a good ground customer service are Alitalia, LH, OS, LX (but can be a hit or miss with the Swiss), Virgin Atlantic, Aegean, Aeroflot, Brussels, KLM, Air France, Finnair, Iberia. Save for Aeroflot, none of the other East European carriers are included.

  8. Jerry where did you hear that Aeroflot was giving up on Miami? I still see flights listed even in June 2019. So far Aeroflot is still flying to Miami 4 days a week as always.

  9. Austrians footprint in Eastern Europe is fairly limited. If you’re flying from a major Central European airport to the US, you may as well choose AF, BA or LH, but LOT offers flight to very regional airports with no other convenient one-stop flights to the US.

  10. There is a maintenance facility at Rzeszow.
    So it presumably ‘planes being sent from Newark for maintenance.
    LOT has only 15 long-haul ‘planes, all 787s.
    Do they need one week’s maintenance in every fifteen?

    If not, is the flight from and to Newark sometimes Lufthansa (or Swiss/Austrian) metal going for maintenance?

  11. Not sure about Central Europe, but LOT is very active in eastern Europe (Ukraine, Russia, Belarus..) + Baltic states (Lithuania , Estonia, Latvia )
    Adding Miami at competitive fares may very well attract enough connecting passengers.

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