) Ireland - WARSAW OKECIE/FREDERIC CHOPIN INTERNATIONAL(WAW
Departure: Friday 25th June 2004
A/C: Embraer E170
-LDC (Star Alliance Colours)
I planned my trip to Poland in March for which I was going to take at the end of June. Up until May 2004, there were never any scheduled flights between Dublin and Warsaw. Since the entry of Poland to the European Union, both Aer Lingus and LOT Polish Airlines announced the startup of direct service between the two Capital Cities. Prior to this, the majority of folk
travelled via Prague on EI
The cheapest flight I could find was with LOT, which I booked for a prince of 245 Eur return inc. tax.
I turned up at Dublin airport at 5.15am for check-in and there were 2 desks open for this flight. Handling Agents were Servisair. There were no queues at the check-in desks, however there were a number of people stood back some distance for the desk with luggage. I assumed the check-in desks were not open, so I just stood there as well. After waiting about 10 minutes, I felt this
ridiculous, so I approached one of the check-in staff and asked if check-in was open. She replied 'Yeah'. I thought this was scandalaous. Herself and some other guy, just sitting there chatting to each other, oblivious to the fact there was a group of pax assembling wondering whether or not the check-in was actually open!
Given that I was the first person to make any move, I went back collected my case and told the rest of the group that the check-in was in fact open, and was number 1 to check-in. I was allocated Seat # 14A with boarding at gate A5.
The same morning, Servisair were also handling the Malev flight to Budapest and the Czech Airlines service to Prague.
The terminal was extremely busy at this hour of the morning. I made my way through security and down towards Pier A. It was quite early, and down at the gate, there was a stereo on which was literally blasting music out of it. As passengers gradually came down to the gate, I saw a crew from 'Skyservice' assemble and make their way out through the same gate then be bussed out to the Skyservice B757 on the tarmac. Found this rather strange as SSV normally operate through DUB
later on the morning.
Boarding commenced and there were 2 shuttle buses waiting outside the door to ferry us to the aircraft. The interior of the buses were freezing. So much for wearing a t-shirt at the end of June! But then again, this is Dublin! I caught a glimpse of the a/c on a remote stand for for a split second, I thought it was a B735. The a/c was SP
-LDC a very new Embraer E170 in Star Alliance Colours. The aircraft was still being refuelled as we arrived, and all pax were therefore kept on the bus.
After 20 minutes of being on the bus, we were allowed to exit and make our way up the steps to the aircraft door. The cabin interior was airy, and very clean, with navy blue/greyish leather seats in a 2-2 configuration. There were 2 cabin crew members. We took our seats (full flight), and sat waiting impatiently for yet another 20 minutes before we actually moved. The First Officer apologised for the delay and blamed it on the 'late arrival of the refuellers'.
The security announcements were made in Polish and English and made very very fast, so it was really incomprehensible! We made our way out onto the runway and fortunately did not have to queue for too long, as this is one of the most, if not the most busiest departure times at Dublin. We were third in hold after an Aer Lingus A321. Take-off was very smooth and we took a right 3 miles out over north County Dublin and over the Irish Sea over the UK towards Humberside, then down over Amsterdam and across Germany. A light meal was served which consisted of a salad roll, with tea/coffee etc.
We descended for what seemed a very long time towards Warsaw, constantly turning left then right then left again, before our final descent. Landing at Warsaw was very smooth, and taxiing to the remote stand did not take very long. Warsaw Airport was very quiet in comparison to Dublin. On the
apron, I spotted a Malev 737, and lots of LOT! B762, B763, B737. We parked beside other E170's and E145's of LOT. A shuttles bus was waiting to whick us into ther terminal.
Once inside, I went through passport control and stood at a baggage belt which did not move for about 20 minutes. Very frustrating. The Baggage Hall was quite small. Eventually, the carousel swung into action and I collected my case, proceeded through Customs, and out into the Arrivals Hall, where I was literally pounced on by some Mafia Taxi drivers for which Warsaw Airport is
notorius for. This guy kept following me insisting I go with him in his taxi to the City Centre. I have no idea how, but I think he finally got the message, and managed to shake him off. I went outside the terminal door, jumped into a taxi and put my basic Polish to the test. And so, off with me to Warszawa Centralna to catch my train to Poznan!!!
WARSAW OKECIE/FREDERIC CHOPIN INTERNATIONAL(WAW
) Poland - DUBLIN(DUB
Departure: Monday 28th June 2004
A/C: Embraer E170
(Full LOT Livery)
I arrived at Warsaw Airport roughly 2 hours before departure. I had a quick drink, and had a look at the departures board for check-in area. There was a host of evening departures on LOT to Paris CDG
, Manchester etc. Check-In was at 'any' LOT Polish Airlines Check-in, so I made my way to the desk with the smallest queue. In fact there was no queue, so I waltzed straight up to the desk with my 1 case and checked-in, in about 2 minutes flat. No joke. This was the fastest check-in I have ever witnessed! I received my boarding card for seat 8A and made made the quick walk through passport control and into the duty free area. Stocked up on some Vodka, chocolate and other gift
items. and went to the gate. The most noticeable thing about this airport is its size. It is very small for an International Airport. The LOT check-in area was also very busy, and it appears that you can check-in for any LOT flight at any of the 25 or so desks (The people behind me were going to Manchester).
I went through the X-ray machine on the way to the gate area. It so happened that my jeans I was wearing have a chain on them (which cannot be removed). The security guard did not speak English, and my Polish was not up to scratch, so this caused a major problem. I removed all jewellery items but explained that the chain cannot be removed as it is integrated into the actual jeans. This did not go down well with the security guards at all. Eventually, I was allowed through the security machine after much deliberation between the security guys, and proceeded to the sit-down area right next to the departure gate (Gate 31). There was a Lauda Air flight to Vienna boarding on the same gate just before our flight. We boarded shortly after, out the gate and down a series of steps to an awaiting shuttle bus to ferry us off to the remote stands. Our aircraft was again an Embraer 170, with reg SP
in full LOT Polish Airlines Colours. I boarded the aircraft, and there was a wee stand containing a selection of Polish newspapers. When I asked if there was any English newspapers, I was given a strange look. So much for a flight bound for Dublin with no English reading material. The cabin was spotless clean, smelled very fresh and was very airy. I took my seat which this time was seat 8A. The flight on this particular evening was not completely full. There were about 8/10 free seats. Fortunately, there was nobody seated next to me. We were pushed back by a tug onto the apron, and as the tug driver waved us adieu, we set off for Dublin. On the way out to the runway, I spotted some more LOT 737's and some EuroLOT ATR72's and EuroLOT ATR42's. There was no other aircraft ahead of us, so we had an immediate take off which was only 5 minutes behind schedule.
The cabin crew consisted of a male and female crew. Both were Polish. The safety announcements were made in Polish and incomprehensible English. Once again, it was very rushed, as was the case on the flight over.
Our routing took us west of the city of Poznan, and on into Germany over Nordrhein-Wesfahlen area. Then on towards Amsterdam and over Manchester. Midway through the flight, we were served a light snack which was a bap. I did not know what the actual contents of this was, so after taking one bite out of it, I abandoned it on the tray as it did not taste very pleasant! As a result, I settled back with a juice, and tucked into some chocolate! LOT have a very good bilingual Polish/English inflight magazine. It contains some very interesting articles concerning LOT's destinations, as well as fleet and route information.
Our scheduled arrival time into Dublin was 22.25 (This has since been revised to 22.40). We started out descent into Dublin circa 10pm, and touched down at 10.18pm, 7 minutes ahead of schedule. We taxied to the remote stands close to Pier A. Upon exiting the airvraft, I noted a Corsair 747 as well as the usual green army of Aer Lingus! We were bussed to the terminal and entered via Pier B. There were queues just beginning to form at the Passport control, and once through, I proceeded to the baggage hall which was full of Spanish Students awaiting their luggage to arrive of flights from Valencia, Barcelona, Pamplona and Madrid (mainly Spaninar flights!). I collected my case, cleared customs, and arrived into the Arrivals Hall in Dublin at 10.50pm.
All in all, a pleasant flight both ways.
Nice to fly the E170, and also very good to finally have a direct Dublin/Warsaw airlink.