On March 28th, at 11:35 am LOT’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner arrived to the traditional water-spray welcome, marking the inauguration of a scheduled four-time weekly direct flight from Newark’s Liberty International Airport, the second largest New York City airport, to Warsaw, Poland. (On August 5th another flight is added to the Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays flights).
Welcoming the press and passengers to the inaugural flight with sandwiches, cupcakes and a ribbon-cutting ceremony were Maciej Golubiewski Consul General of the Republic of Poland, Adrian Kubicki; LOT Executive Director and Spokesperson; Chester Paradowski, LOT Marketing Manager; Agnieszka Kulikowski LOT Sales Manager; Sue Cherrier, LOT Vice President of Marketing; Rick Hoefling, Vice President of United Airlines (Newark’s hub) and LOT, United Airlines, Newark dignitaries and flight staff.
I was among a group of press invited on the inaugural flight with a subsequent trip to Warsaw and Krakow.
Three travel classes are available to address individual needs, possibilities and expectations of passengers. I flew to Warsaw’s Chopin International Airport in Premium Economy, returning a week later in Business Class.
Baggage limits are different for both Premium and Business classes: two pieces of carry-on and hand luggage are permissible in Premium Economy. In Business Class, three pieces are allowed for carry-on and checked-in luggage.
In both classes I felt noticeably less affected by the time zone change because the 252-passenger Dreamliner aircraft has windows that are larger than in other passenger airplanes, which allows passengers to see the horizon. Additionally, the plane is equipped with special LED lighting, allowing a change in intensity and color. Another important feature of the Dreamliner is the cabin pressure – it’s set to an altitude of about 6,000 feet (other planes set the pressure to nearly 8,000 feet), reducing the effect of altitude sickness, dizziness and nausea. Additionally, there’s eight percent more oxygen, 15 percent humidity and better air filtration, which reduces stuffiness and fatigue, especially on long-haul flights.
I had a wide seat in Premium Economy – enough room (18.5 in) for my “toys” (iPad, phone, a head set and a book) and a recliner seat, which pitched 38”. There was room to extend my feet on top of my carryon, lean back and relax.
Our meal service in both classes were paired with wines. Appetizers included fried calamari, shrimps with garlic in white wine, beef steak tartare and salmon tartare. A variety of pastas followed and the main courses included dumplings stuffed with duck, grilled chicken breast with pesto, beef cheek in red wine, a half duck with cranberries in port sauce, salmon in lemon sauce with saffron and seasoned beef steak. Although Poland is not famous for their wine, the industry is growing. According to LOT representatives, Poland has started to produce excellent Riesling.
In Business Class there was a storage unit next to my personal screen, and beneath the padded bench (which would become part of my bed) my iPad, shoes and a book were stowed neatly in a compartment. I tested all the intuitive controls on the center console for my head, back, lumbar and legs. At a push of a button, the seat became a flatbed. Everything worked perfectly. A power adapter and USB port to charge electronics is provided on the seat in front.
A pre-departure glass of juice, water or champagne was served upon our taking our places and, when airborne, our attendants served nibbles and a beverage of choice. I selected a dry, French Chardonnay, which accompanied a fresh seasonal salad. Skipping the soup course, I chose the beef filet, which was served with potatoes, carrots and broccoli. The desserts looked creamy, chocolatey and excellent, and were accompanied by after dinner drinks. I skipped those as well.
While looking out the window in the sizable bathroom, which was kept immaculately clean, I opened the amenity kit and performed my pre-bed ablutions. Returning to place, I adjusted the seat to flat-bed mode, propped up my pillow, covered up with a quilted blanket, slipped on the eye shield and slept until we began to descend. I couldn’t have been more comfortable on a flight.
This month marks LOT’s fifth destination in North America, the initiation of 27 new routes and the second long-haul connection to USA. The new flight at Newark is dedicated especially to Polish passengers, including Polish Americans who make up a high percentage of the inhabitants in the area. Additionally, the airline reaches those passengers who had not planned previously to travel to Poland and Europe, and who wished to connect from Warsaw to other destinations. With fights at Newark and JFK Airports, passengers will be delighted to have access to two flights almost every day.