When you make the best of a flight that leaves a LOT to be desired…

Hello from Chicago! I just flew LOT Polish from Warsaw to Chicago, a flight I was initially really excited about. I hadn’t flown the 787 before, and LOT was supposed to be operating it on the Warsaw to Chicago route as of mid-January. Then the whole battery issue happened, and next thing you know I’m on one of LOT’s ancient 767s.

To put that into pictures, here’s the cabin I was expecting:

And here’s the one I flew:

I was still excited about the flight, but for different reasons. I figured there would be some entertainment value in flying LOT’s old business class, and sure enough there was.

To start, boarding was the most chaotic cluster-f$&^ I’ve seen in my life. I didn’t think it was possible to top the boarding experience on a domestic Air China flight, but LOT sure gave them a run for their money. I’m guessing it was a language issue though. In English they announced “we’re now boarding business class,” while I suspect in Polish they announced “the last 10 people to board have to sit on the wing.”

And yes, admittedly the most shocking part of that picture is the Ryanair bag sizer, which has a “priority” boarding sign on it. Priority boarding? On Ryanair?

Onboard… onboard… well, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. The cabin was about as modern as my grandma’s 1950s style home, in a small village not too far out of Frankfurt.

Fortunately I felt very safe thanks to the torn security stickers throughout the cabin, and the reminders to “fasten seat belt while seates.”

The meal service was quick, and was completed within an hour of takeoff, which I appreciated. Unfortunately it wasn’t because the service was super-efficient, but rather because there wasn’t much to serve.

At least I had the after takeoff nuts to look forward to… 90% of which were actually raisins.

Next was a “crunchy seasonal salad.”  Someone, pray tell, what’s crunchy or seasonal about that salad? Please? On second thought, maybe in Warsaw in winter that is a seasonal salad…

Then came the main course, which tasted like it came out of a Lean Cuisine box, a cheese course that consisted of something I wasn’t actually confident was cheese (and had nuts that were softer than raisins), and a dessert that was saltier than the aforementioned nuts.

At that point I started asking myself, what the hell am I supposed to do for the next nine hours? It’s a daytime flight with recliner seats, and this is no Austrian or Turkish! My seatmate was snoring like a walrus, so I sure wasn’t going to get any sleep.

And then, almost as if an angel from heaven, the flight attendant emerged with a tray of port in shot glasses. I had found my answer.

I had whatever it was he served me, and then asked him for a recommendation on something else he could serve in shot-form. After my Emirates flight I remembered how any flight could be made awesome.

He suggested a Polish vodka, and recommended it with apple juice. Fine by me. Five minutes later I asked for another, minus the apple juice.

He brought it with apple juice, and only later realized I had asked for it without. He insisted on bringing me a new one, and rather than having him take away the current one, I quickly downed it too. After all, I wouldn’t want to be wasteful. And then another one. And another one. And that’s the point at which I started to forget taking pictures.

And suddenly my flight on LOT was awesome, and my 10 hour flight felt like it was only half that long.

My gosh, I spent the first 22 years of my life more or less not drinking, and now I realize the degree to which I’ve been missing out.

And while I won’t talk more about the food on this flight yet, bonus points to anyone that can tell me what the mystery meat is that I was served on my LOT flight from Istanbul to Warsaw.

Comments

  1. Gonna have to rename your blog- Points, Miles & Vodka…

    I sure enjoy a couple drinks on the flight to take the edge off of a 10 hour flight.

  2. While the trip looked awful, your comments re: drinking made me LOL. I remember the days when you were too young to drink and now you write about Krug (my favorite). I love reading about your adventures.

  3. You are striking the perfect balance of information and comedy Lucky! That meal (in business class) certainly looks atrocious.

  4. I knew this was bound to happen, and I’m so sorry for your experience with LOT. I’m pretty certain your impressions would have been different should the flight be operated by a 787 in fact. The catering leaves a lot to be desired, but on a side note LOT Catering has recently been acquired by Do & Co so it’s just a matter of time before we get a decent soft product on long-haul flights operated by LOT. I’m glad you enjoyed your Zubrowka shots though. Cheers from Warsaw!

  5. What a brave soul you are. I’m a native of Poland and I only fly Lufthansa. As you can see, for a reason.

  6. So will this be a trend of taking flights on less prestigious airlines and then when you’ve made your final conclusions a little alcohol gets mixed in?

    And the meat- I’m going to guess liver as well. 2nd guess would be some kind of meatloaf made with a combination of ground meats.

  7. Lol

    I have seen that old jet in Chicago. Always made me wonder how the whole experience would be. Now I know.

    Anyway be glad you made it home. The 787 would have been diverted to gander to to battery fire.

    The meat….hmm..lamb pattie?

  8. the red shot is a traditional liquor, a fruit liquor. pretty much strong stuff ( my family throws it in tea for a kick). it helps forget anything

  9. I think its meatloaf made with pork, veal and beef. Either that or mystery meat like when you eat in the cafeteria in High School. Just looking at it tells me that I wouldn’t eat it.

  10. Lucky, this is your funniest post ever, probably because I’ve flown LOT and their food is still the best joke out there! My dinner was all the same color(hint, the color of white Wonder bread, and yes I DID wonder!)
    LOT planes are deplorable. My seat was in disrepair, I sat 3 inches below my seatmate yet when we stood up at the end of the flight I discovered I was 4″ taller than she! Unfortunately my flights were too early in the day so I didn’t drink..I was afraid of needing to use the loo and was afraid of what they’d look like!

  11. Thanks for the report. Says it all: i.e. poster who says he flys Lufth. and claims Polish nationality. There are only a few airlines worldwide which fulfill standards. Sad, you’d think the Poles, after 23 years since Communism fell, had a clue on private enterprise quality and service. Old habits, i.e. state run monopolies, die hard, even after two decades. The most popular and profitable route from/to Israel? Lufthansa TLV-FRA. Lufthansa’s singular most profitable route last I read a few years ago with load factor nearly 100 percent. Go figure.

  12. I must admit i liked it better when you did not drink. For me, been there, done that, you are not missing a thing. Except Dom and Krug of course 🙂

    Sorry you had a bad flight, was looking forward to your review of their new hard product. Welcome home.

  13. I think you must thank them … for giving you material for what is quite easily the funniest and most entertaining post I’ve read in a long time!

  14. A few years back, I helped some friends arrange a mileage-reward business-class ticket on LOT, as it was all that was available. When they landed, the crew couldn’t find two of the aircraft’s DVD players–and they blatently accused my friends (a mother and her young daughter) of stealing them!! They refuced to let them deplane and began searching their carry-ons, then where they may have “hid” them in the plane! Of course, they eventually found the players they’d mislaid, but I was a terrible experience for my friends, the way the crew treated them as criminals. They, I, and their friends have never fogotten the incident and none of us have ever considered flying LOT again.

  15. HAHAHAH, I’m so glad this happen to you. This is your FUNNIEST POST EVER!!!!!! Once again. I Love you!!

  16. Some snobbery at work here…..Truth is, that seat and food is no worse than KLM business, or lots of other business class that hasn’t been upgraded to lie flat seats and top tier catering. You do so much first class travel that I think you forget that this seating was until recently the standard for most business class, and still is the standard for a lot of business class.

  17. What did you expect from a Polish airline?
    “Priority boarding? On Ryanair?” Of course, they will charge you for anything.

  18. @ Steve

    That’s usually a fun game to play when reading these types of posts. Spot the people giving Lukcy the stink eye 😉

    The seats look like Asiana’s older-but-now-used-for-regional-routes BC seats. And yet, still not as ugly as Asianas…

  19. Believe it or not, those seats and catering are actually an improvement over what LOT used to fly some 5 years ago.
    I really hope the new 787 raises LOT from the dumps. It seems that every time I fly them I read in the magazine how the new business class meals are going to be “lighter”. Seems like your salad has finally hit bottom

  20. “My gosh, I spent the first 22 years of my life more or less not drinking, and now I realize the degree to which I’ve been missing out.” There’s a lot of missing out. I was pretty much a teetotaler, too. Now it’s all gin and scotch and bourbon!

  21. i can’t decide what is funnier … your post or the reactions to your post (which seem all over the board).

    so. i’ve had airplane food. i’ve had hospital food. your meal looked like fusion … uh, that means where the hospital meets the airplane, right?

    at any rate, i am happy that you are home, and sober, in SEA.

    take care, and be well. i can’t wait for the full trip report!

  22. As the for mystery meat, judging by current affairs in Britain of a certain animal’s DNA creeping into hamburger patties from a Polish supplier, I’m going to take a guess at HORSE 😀

  23. It’s not that the takeoff nut mix had a lot of raisins, but just that the nuts were removed for the cheese plate leaving mostly raisins!

  24. OK, so the aircraft was old… that I understand… but the food?!?!? I can’t believe they’d actually offer that to humans. what did they serve in coach?

  25. I agree with work2fly, I also think it’s Leberkaese (judging from the looks).
    Not that tasty, right? A Fleeschkeesweck would have been better …

  26. I like the duct tape on the floor in your first seat picture. LOT seat still looks better then the LH FRA-DFW flights in F in the old 330 seats. Drinking away your problems – a familiar and recurring theme for many.

  27. He He, Great post. I usually fly coach on long flights and found out the trick a long time ago… In my case the solution usually is: 2 gin and tonics, 1 wine, 2 cognacs. Life is good afterwards and coach feels like 1st class.

  28. Not very different from Delta 767 recliners they used to fly from DTW to GRU. They charge almost $10K for the exact same experience you had flying LOT. The only difference is that DTW to GRU flight takes almost 13 hours.

  29. As far as the meat product is concerned, if it is anything like the stuff we seem to have been getting in the UK form Polish suppliers there is probably some horse meat in there somewhere.

  30. Thanks a-LOT Ben….(snort snort)….Mental note: Dont Fly LOT

    This trip report is something I expect from the Warsaw Pact Weekly Travel section.. hehehe.

  31. Last flight on LOT the entertainment system wasn’t working right, but with all that cheap beer going around the two entertainment systems started to look much better. 🙂

  32. The 767s suck, but waiting for the 787 is a good explanation. It simply makes no sense to do another round of upgrades when expecting a plane to be retired in a year or two. However, these have been around 3 years longer than expected.

    I got to fly them 2 years back on a 767 with all the signage and safety video from VARIG along with the air operated headphones. I’ll avoid those planes like the plague until the 787 is back online.

  33. Thank you for the post, for flying in BUSINESS class

    Now I’ll know NOT to book on LOT, probably even on 787 J as the catering looks horrible

  34. I flew LOT ORD-WAR (continuing to Tallinn) and back the same way a couple of years ago.

    You actually got their newish 767. I got to compare it to their _really_ old 767, with ugly brown business class seats that are worse than any US domestic F circa mid-70’s.

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