Around the World on 90k Part I: Warsaw and Beijing with Nothing But a Passport and a Dream(liner)
Around the World on 90k Part II: Blowing Through the Horn of Africa
Korean Air Lounge New York JFK
LOT Polish Business Class 787 New York To Warsaw
LOT Polish Business Class Lounge Warsaw
LOT Polish Business Class ERJ-170 Warsaw To Zurich
Swiss Panorama Lounge Zurich
Swiss Business Class A330 Zurich To Beijing
Grand Hyatt Beijing
Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 787 Beijing To Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Airlines Cloud Nine Business Class Lounge Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 767 Addis Ababa To Frankfurt
Lufthansa Business Class Lounge Frankfurt
Lufthansa Business Class 747-8 Frankfurt to Washington
Park Hyatt Washington DC
We left the hotel at 5:30AM for our 7:40AM departure out of Warsaw Airport. While that’s earlier than I’d usually leave, we were heading to China on a 72 hour transit without visa, so I wanted to be sure we were leaving a bit extra time just to be on the safe side.
We arrived at the airport at around 5:45AM. The exterior looked much blander than the last time I was here. Last January the entire terminal exterior was plastered in a LOT 787 advertisement, which was rather unfortunate given that all of them were grounded at the time.
Even though the airport isn’t huge, the check-in hall feels “grand,” and we quickly found LOT business class check-in at row “D.”
There was one person ahead of us in the queue, and within about five minutes we were helped.
It’s interesting to note that LOT uses contract workers at check-in. That seems a bit odd to me for an airline at their primary hub.
He was friendly, and upon issuing our boarding passes asked where our visas were. I explained we were doing a 72 hour transit without visa and therefore didn’t need anything, which he seemed to have never heard of before. After (unsuccessfully) trying to make a phone call he said he needed to go to the “visa desk,” and would be right back.
After about five minutes he returned, and informed us that we couldn’t fly because we needed visas.
I asked if I could speak directly to the “visa desk,” which he agreed to. As it turns out this “desk” was simply an agent located one check-in row over. I had to explain to him that we were doing a 72 hour transit without visa, which he had heard of, but he was confused how we were in transit when our destination was Ethiopia.
Rather than trying to explain to him that it doesn’t really matter what country you continue to (as long as it’s a third country), I simply said that the flight schedule to Ethiopia was really limited, and that this is what our travel agent booked for us. That answer worked for him.
At that point we were given our boarding passes and headed towards the security checkpoint. At the very back right of the terminal is a premium security line, which not many people seem to know about, since it’s almost hidden (or maybe just not many people are eligible for it… I’m not sure which, really).
There was no one else in line at security, and within minutes we were through.
The LOT Polish lounge is one level up from the main terminal, maybe a three minute walk from the security checkpoint.
Since we had baggage we took the elevator up to the second floor, rather than stairs.
At the entrance we were promptly admitted, and informed that there would be no boarding announcements.
The lounge decor here is interesting. It’s neither modern nor worn, but rather just… unique. Not quite as unique as the EVA Air Infinity Lounge Taipei, but still unique.
There’s plenty of seating, from chairs with coffee tables to comfortable sofas.
There’s a small business center with some PCs.
There’s also a first class lounge section, though I’m not quite sure what that’s like, or if it was even open — it was in a different area of the lounge the last time I visited.
In terms of the food spread, it’s quite decent. There are two buffets — one at each end of the lounge — which are almost identical.
There are cold cuts, cheese, and some fruit.
Then there’s bread, croissants, etc.
Then Prince Polo chocolate bars, which as far as I’m concerned should be a food group in and of themselves.
Then there were muffins and fresh fruit.
And cereal and oatmeal.
And then a few types of wine and some liquor.
Then there was a fridge with bottled soft drinks and beer.
Lastly, there was a coffee machine, though the cappuccinos weren’t very good.
At around 7AM we left the lounge to head to our departure gate, which was Gate 39. It was maybe a five minute walk from the lounge.
When we first got to the gate, the jet bridge wasn’t even pulled up to the plane yet, so we decided to roam the terminal a bit longer.
At the far end of the terminal was a LOT 787. I quickly began to realize that 90% of LOT’s fleet seems to be 787s and Embraer regional jets.
Our flight was delayed a bit, as boarding was only called at 7:30AM, 10 minutes before our scheduled departure time.
Warsaw Airport is extremely easy to fly out of. The LOT Lounge is unmemorable — so while it’s not amazing, there’s also nothing about it that’s negative. I actually find Warsaw Airport a great place to transit given that it’s not so huge, so wouldn’t hesitate to connect there again.