Vienna to Istanbul via Tokyo: LOT Business Class Istanbul to Warsaw

Filed Under: Awards, LOT

I arrived at gate 211 shortly after 5PM after a 10 minute walk from the lounge, and was surprised to find boarding hadn’t even started.

Walkway to departure gate

Departure gate

As a matter of fact the jet bridge wasn’t even up to the plane, which I found a bit odd.

My plane to Warsaw

At around 5:20PM, just five minutes before our scheduled departure time, boarding was announced. It was a mad rush for the jet bridge as I’ve only otherwise seen on a domestic China flight, as everyone not only ran for the jet bridge, but shoved too.

LOT 136
Istanbul (IST) – Warsaw (WAW)
Saturday, February 2
Depart: 5:25PM
Arrive: 7:00PM
Duration: 2hr35min
Aircraft: Embraer 195
Seat: 2A (Business Class)

Upon boarding I could immediately tell the experience was a bit different than travel on most other European airlines. Typically intra-European flight attendants are on the junior side, young, and sharp looking. At the door on this flight were two rather frumpy looking flight attendants that must have been in their late 50s or early 60s Don’t get me wrong, they were extremely friendly, though it was just in such stark contrast to what I’ve experienced on other airlines.

Intra-Europe business class is nothing more than coach with a blocked middle seat. This was an Embraer aircraft with only four seats per row, meaning there were no middle seats. As a result the aisle seat was simply blocked on both sides in each of the three business class rows.

My seat, 2A


View from 2A

Blocked aisle seat

Row one

Watching the boarding process was fascinating. I’ve never seen people grab so many newspapers. The flight attendants had placed newspapers in the galley, and most passengers didn’t grab just one, but a handful. Admittedly the in-flight entertainment on this flight is limited, though I’ve never seen people grab so much reading material.

As boarding finished up one of the three flight attendants offered business class passengers pre-departure beverages, and I had a cup of water. Five of the six business class seats were taken at this point.

Pre-departure beverage

As we pushed back the flight attendants began their manual safety demonstration, though my eyes were glued to the window for what must have been one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. It was simply breathtaking, and there’s nowhere I’d rather experience one of those sunsets than at an airport with planes in the background.



We taxied out to runway 17 for departure, which was about a 15 minute taxi, and we had about a dozen planes ahead of us on top of that. While we queued the captain made his welcome aboard announcements and informed us of our flight time of 2hr20min, anticipating a late arrival in Warsaw due to our late departure and the long queue for takeoff.

Onboard service began about 20 minutes after takeoff, starting with packaged refreshment towels.

Refreshment towel

Next the cart was rolled around with dinner. There were no options and the meal was simply placed on my tray table with a smile. In contrast to the amazing catering on my Austrian flight between Brussels and Vienna, this meal had two doses of mystery meat.

The flight attendant’s English was lacking (and I could probably polish up my Polish a bit), though I tried to ask her what the main course was — “shee-ken.” I then asked her what the food at the top left was, and she responded with a hoarse voice “shee-ken alzo.” 😉

Given the “meat” situation in Poland, that’s all I needed to know. I was going to stick to the packaged chocolate bar and dessert, which was delicious. I ordered a Diet Coke, and when I asked for a refill the flight attendant just brought me the entire 20 ounce bottle. Cool.

“Chicken” Dinner

I spent the rest of the short flight working a bit on my trip report, and we touched down in Warsaw about 30 minutes behind schedule.

We parked right next to a LOT 767 in Star Alliance livery, and I headed towards immigration, which was quite a walk.

LOT 767

Fortunately there was no queue, and I found myself landside within minutes, where a driver was waiting to take me to Hotel Bristol (which is a whole other adventure).


Yeah, LOT intra-Europe business class leaves a lot to be desired.

  1. “two rather frumpy looking flight attendants that must have been in their late 50s or early 60s”

    I am of the opinion that it is a net plus for the human race when employers do not discriminate on the basis of age, particularly against women. Pity that you don’t seem to agree.

  2. @ FullMoon — My surprise was with the fact that they were flying an Embraer on a shorthaul route instead of longhaul, where I’d expect to see them. And if you want to be fair, why not quote the next sentence as well?

  3. I am not sure I follow here. The LOT business class “leaves a lot to be desired” because:
    A) Even though the flight attendants were “extremely friendly,” they got dinged because they were too old?
    B) “Intra-Europe business class is nothing more than coach with a blocked middle seat,” but instead you got a row of two with the seat next to you blocked — clearly an inferior configuration?
    C) The meal was obviously awful, even though the only part you ate “was delicious”
    D) Service was subpar because when you asked for a refill you got a whole bottle of the beverage — obviously not “cool”
    E) You think it’s more fun to poke fun at an airline only because it’s polish

  4. @ Krzysztof — That was supposed to be a play on words. Sorry it was lost. It was just like any intra-Europe flight except the food was horrible.

  5. Thanks for including the pix of the sunset. Definitely one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen as well, especially the first picture! Btw, your camera is awesome.

  6. Obviously, a play of words, but if you compare the same route on Turkish Airlines, then you’d see that “lot” to be desired. Proper seating and great catering.
    Sadly, LOT is blocking Turkish from operating more flights, wonder why?

  7. Edit: Lucky, LOT has an ever shrinking long haul fleet, so they might have more senior FA to fill the schedule on those.

    But generally, younger FA are far and few in between, considering it’s a very much unionized job. If you want to see young FA’s, try flying Ryanair, Wizzair or any other LCC.

  8. I’m with Krzysztof on this one. And generally, whilst your occasional trip reports a few years back were fun to read and sometimes amusing for naivity, the recent batch is full of arrogance towards products, people and nations that you consider inferior.
    I also wonder who you are writing this for – I cannot see a target group except other wannabe.

  9. Lot of tender skins Poles posting here. I though the polish/Polish pun was very clever. Don’t impole Lucky for the pun on Poles.

    Then again, I though Archie Bunker was a great character….

  10. Lucky, love these trip reports, especially for their truth and candor. Very informative and eye-opening to various products out there. I find no arrogance in your reports, unfortunately, honest observation cannot be handled by many.

  11. Flying business on LOT is not a great choice. Comparatively, the economy class is better. Polish, in contrast to, say, Turkish airlines cater (mostly) to the locals and, due to their still thin albeit fattening wallets, the more luxurious services are skimp. When moving from Turkey to Poland you are transiting from the world of price discrimination (locals-tourists) to a unified and slowly maturing market. I like LOT economy for their relatively good food (why didn’t you eat shee-ken?!), newspapers and other little things. In any case, LOT is a much better experience than fasting on a United or American flight 🙁

  12. Great report.

    Stick removal from a few people’s arse’s here would be great. His humor and candor about an airline’s product hasn’t changed.

    I have a strong stomach, but when I can’t easily identify what is sitting in front of me, especially after living in Europe for quite some time, I would have done the same thing and just left it.

    I have an idea for those who don’t like what he wrote, how he wrote it, or if you are disgruntled about any of his other Trip Reports:

    Step 1: Locate the Red X at the top right of your screen
    Step 2: Left click that button and stop being so butthurt.

    Again, enjoy every one of your trip reports. Keep them coming. 🙂

  13. Lucky, keep doing good job, just be more descriptive and less flamboyant. My impression from the 2011 flight Istambul-Warsaw was much more positive. The food is very good and simply incomparable with the inedible junk routinely served on American lines. One doesn’t learn this from your post. Your surprises that this or that was delicious are common knowledge for those who fly LOT. Cheers, Barbara.

  14. @ Barbara — Hah, thanks (I guess?). Though not sure about being more descriptive and less flamboyant?

    I suspect a lot more of my readers have flown American than LOT, so what might be common knowledge to frequent LOT flyers probably isn’t common knowledge to most reading this.

    And while the food was delicious on your flight, it wasn’t on mine. I’d take the food served on American any day over what LOT served on my flight.

  15. @ SE — Sorry you feel that way. As far as arrogance towards products, people, and nations that I feel are inferior goes, I don’t think I’ve ever written a trip report as complementary to the my experiences as this one. So I’m sorry if that didn’t come across.

  16. “Delicious” is too strong but good it was. You were probably un-lucky 🙂 See, the polish/Polish or a lot of LOT jokes are a bit tired as well 🙂 I am looking forward to reading about your impressions from Bristol. My breakfast there was phenomenal. Do not be surprised with bitter reactions: some Americans still keep repeating silly “Polish jokes” while they wouldn’t say anything comparable about “Negroes,” “Mexicans” or “Jews.”

  17. Wait! Is that a Coke Zero I see instead of a Diet Coke? Shouldn’t you be drinking Coke Light in Europe? (Although both use artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, Coke Zero is supposed to taste like regular Coca-Cola, but Coke Light/Diet Coke uses a distinct recipe.)

  18. Nice report. Sounds like my economy DL AMS-JFK today lol. But yeh, I thought the comment on the FAs was just plain strange and out of place. Shrug?

  19. See, Lucky the thing is, the play on words might give people the wrong impression, since it might mean the flight itself was a disaster, and it wasn’t, the positive seemed to outweigh the negative.

    Also, you said the food was horrible…but all you had was the desert. If you didn’t taste it, it might be more accurate to say it didn’t look appetizing (and appearances can be deceiving), versus it was horrible. It may have been gross, for all we know, but without tasting it, it’s hard to judge. You thought the food on Aer Lingus was all right, but based on your pics, that was some of the worst looking food I’ve seen in any of your trip reports. The DO & CO food on Austrian you showed us didn’t look that appetizing, nor was it plated exceptionally, but it turned out to be one of your favorite meals.

    Granted, it is LOT, so even if you did sample it, I have a feeling the best comment would have been “Well, it tasted better than it looked, but not by much” 😉

  20. Hey Ben, I am Polish and immigrated to the US years ago, I am 66 and I love to travel which is why I read your blog. I did not find anything offensive in your writing and your interaction on the food service made me chuckle. It reminded me of going to my aunt’s house who never learned to speak English and always served me meat of undeterminable origin. Keep up the honest trip reports! Dziękuję!

  21. Chicken is what Europeans tell Americans when they ask what the meat is because they know most of us are squeamish. The first time I was in Paris, in college, we were in a dorm-type situation where we got dinner every night, but no choice of dish. One night, I was quite sure we were eating rabbit (which I love and have no problem with) and even asked if that’s what it was, but the ladies insisted it was “chicken”. Probably best, since some of the other girls were like “not Thumper!” when I asked.

    I’m also pretty sure I ate pigeon or something of that ilk in Russia, but again it was labeled “chicken” when asked.

  22. Whilst I usually enjoy reading your trip reports I had a hard time with this one. I actually think you were pretty rude in demonstrating how you would not eat your meal simply cause you suspected it was of unknown origin. I’m pretty sure they slaughtered a horse to cater your flight *rolls eyes*. I’m surprised you’d resort to such prejudice. Can’t wait to read about vodka on the following flight. :/

  23. I didn’t see anything in the review that would make me think twice about visiting Poland or flying a Polish airline. That is until I got to the comments section and saw all the endless whining and hand wringing. Reminds me of the time I read that Poland was the only country in Europe found to have a consistently positive view of George Bush. Stay classy y’all.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *