Hello there my friends once again I'm back with yet another trip report, two as a matter of fact.
As most of you probably don't know, I have quite the Polish heritage. I was born in the U.S., but both of my parents are from Poland and they came over to the states just a few years before I was born. I grew up speaking Polish at home and I still speak it with my family today, however I never learned how to read or write the language because, well, living the U.S. it’s not all too important or useful.
Besides, at age four I went to preschool and learned English in like literally two weeks with no accent to speak of. Most of my mom's side of the family has since also moved over to the MKE
area as well, however, all of my dad’s family still lives in Poland. I had been to Poland twice already before this trip with those visits coming in 1998 and 1995. Since then just about every summer my parents would say "Oh don't worry we'll go back to visit next summer", but then when the next summer finally came I'd hear the same thing and this whole thing just kinda kept repeating itself...
Well, my parents over the winter finally booked us tickets to go to Poland for two weeks in June. LO
was the obvious choice as everybody in my family flies them when traveling to/from Poland. On top of that, in those two weeks we'd also be going to Paris for a few days as they bought Easyjet KRK
, so I'll post the link to that report below. So anyways, on with this first report...(June 10-25)
It was nice to finally have an afternoon flight for a change where I wouldn't have to wake up at 4 or 6 AM
to drive to the airport. The day of our departure, June 10, turned out to be the last day of school for my sister and brother as they had a halfday. I on the other hand had already wrapped up school more than two weeks ago so I was able to sleep in comfortably til around 10:30 AM
Basically I then just kinda sat around until it was time to leave. Scheduled departure time from ORD
was 5:45 PM
, so after my grandpa got to the house to pick us up we left at about 1:40 and we got to ORD
an hour later. In the ten years time since my last visit to Poland I must've came to ORD
ten-fifteen times to drop off/pick up a family member from a LO
flight, so it definitely felt good to be the one flying for a change. After parking the car we ventured inside Terminal 5 and went over to LO
's ticket counters which are all the way at the end.
The line wasn't that big and after about ten minutes we got up to the counter. After purchase our seats were already preassigned to rows 9 and 8 for both flights and, for some reason, LO
's policy is that you can only change them at the airport the day of departure. By now you must know that I like sitting behind the wing so I tried to get mine changed, but unfortunately the LO
agent said all the other window seats were taken.
Dammit, oh well I guess any window seat is better than having no window seat. We dropped off our bags to complete the check in and then said goodbye to grandpa as he headed home. While I had checked flightaware before leaving the house, a quick check of the departures board showed that our flight was still on time. Our flight was actually one of two LO
flights into ORD
that day, with another one to WAW
later in the evening.
After heading past the flags we made a stop at McDonalds to get something to eat before heading through security.
Once we got done eating we got in line for security. There wasn't much of a line so you'd think it'd go by quick, but it actually got kind of annoying because the TSA
dudes weren't bringing any bins back over for people to put their stuff in. After getting through that mini holdup I found myself in the departures lounge of Terminal 5, somewhere I hadn't been in over ten years. The first thing I did was head over to our departure gate M1. It was all the way at the end, and actually took longer to walk down there than I thought it would. Unfortunately, there weren't any windows to get a view of our plane; I could only see the top of the tail from a window a bit farther down.
At this point there was still an hour and a half before departure so I went off throughout the terminal to do some spotting. Not too far from our gate was this AZ
767 that was just about ready for pushback to FCO
A bit farther down was a LX
A340 to ZLH and a BA
777 to LHR
Here's a cool little shot I managed to get with the Sears Tower showing in the middle.
And then here's the same SK
A330 pushing back for its flight to ARN
Other planes parked at the terminal included AF
, and for some reason a UA
CRJ7??? Strange, anyways at that point I was at the other end so I turned around and started walking back to our gate. When I got back the AZ
767 was gone and an AA
one had taken its place.
After sitting around for a bit they announced that boarding would be starting shortly so everybody got up and started to form a line. My sister is five years old so one of the gate guys came up to us and said we could go up in front. Contrary to the announcement, however, we ended up standing there for another thirty minutes before they started letting us on the plane. It was during this time that I noticed the large amount of kids traveling alone on this flight - must have been at least fifteen-twenty of em. Anyways when we finally did board, before stepping onto the plane I saw that our 767 was 'Poznan' SP
. I walked past the business class cabin and then took my seat in 9G.
I thought that boarding might take a bit, but to my surprise it was actually over pretty quick. After the safety demo was played on the monitors in Polish and English, we pushed back, fired up the mains, and started taxing. It was a short taxi, and we turned onto 32R and started rolling right away. Immediately after takeoff we turned to the north and flew along the coast of Lake Michigan before turning more to the northeast.
As we continued climbing out over the Lake, the flight attendants came through the cabin and distributed head sets and paper towelettes. It was at this point that we hit some moderate turbulence for about ten-fifteen minutes, however, that was it as far as turbulence went on this flight as the rest of it was just about all smooth. Once things smoothened out the flights attendants came through with the drink service. I got a cup of coke, a rather small cup of coke actually. To make matters worse it was warm and they didn't even put any ice in it.
I guess maybe I should have expected something though because I remember my grandpa always complained about the drink service on LO
flights. Anyways, it wasn't really a big deal over the drink just maybe a little disappointing. Not too long after that it was already time for dinner. The meal choice was beef or chicken, and I went with chicken. Thankfully, they came around with drinks again. I asked for some ice with my coke this time and got a few cubes dropped in which I guess made it somewhat cooler.
The meal itself was very good. Along with the chicken there was rice, vegetables, and then some stuff to make a sandwich. It was kind of hard to eat though with the cramped space and I must also say that if I hadn't stopped at McDonalds before the flight I still probably would've been hungry. Regardless, after the meal the flight attendants came through the cabin with tea/coffee. I went with the tea, but it really didn't taste like anything. After everything was cleaned up I got up and took a shot of the forward cabin.
Three hours into the flight the cabin lights were turned off as it started to get dark outside.
Then the in-flight movie started. The movie was The Pink Panther 2 and I probably would've watched it, but the movie had a Polish voiceover with the English still in the background which made it too hard understand so I just gave up and decided to stick with the IPod. It was also announced that if anyone ever got thirsty they could head over to the galley and help themselves to refreshment.
To my surprise, it never got completely dark outside during the flight. This was as dark as it got - I took this shot as we were over Greenland.
Knowing that it'd be 9 AM
when we arrive in WAW
, I laid back and tried to get some sleep. That didn't really go over to well cause I was probably only asleep for like fifteen minutes.
Otherwise I just kinda laid there half asleep zoning in and out every now and then. Bored, I headed to the galley to get something to drink. While up I took a shot of the rear cabin. I'd say the load was pretty good with only a couple scattered empty seats - 85-90% full I'd say.
Before I knew it, it started getting lighter outside.
About an hour and a half from landing the cabin lights were turned back on and once again the flight attendants passed out the paper towelettes. That was followed with breakfast and a drink.
It wasn't much, but still very good, the egg salad especially. Once I got done eating we crossed into Poland and the captain made his second announcement of the flight to inform us of the good weather down in Warsaw. Not too long after that we finally started our descent into WAW
. It was pretty much a straight in approach as we lined up for landing.
We then passed over the high way and landed smoothly on runway 11 using up just about the whole runway for the rollout. My eyes could have been playing trick on me but from the looks of it there were a bunch of spotters down there outside the fence taking pics!
As we taxied to the gate I spotted two other LO
767s parked at the new terminal. One of them had just come from YYZ
And then here's the lineup of other traffic.
Once we parked and exited the plane I was finally able to get a shot of 'Poznan', my ride from ORD
We got our passports stamped in no time and then headed downstairs to claim our bags.
After about ten minutes of waiting the bags started coming out and then ours came out another ten minutes later. We headed out into the arrivals lounge and then waited a few minutes for my two cousins and uncle to arrive and greet us. So at this point you're probably thinking that we're here, trips over, time to relax - wrong. Up next a four hour drive from WAW
to the city of Torun...
Of course, we could've flown onto BZG
via Jet Air to erase most of that drive, but my parents are pretty stubborn when it comes to connecting flights and avoid them at all costs.
So then from June 11-14 we were in Torun. My dad, as well as the famous astronomer Nicholas Copernicus, were both born here. As of today this is also where the rest of my Dad's family still resides.
On June 14 we left Torun for Krakow. How did we get there you might ask? Seven hour car ride.
Anyways, here we stayed with a family friend kind of guy. We knew him pretty well when he lived in Milwaukee and he's since moved back to his family in Krakow. During the first day of our stay we drove south for an hour to check out the mountains.
And then here's a shot of me on the border. My camera case is laying in Poland while I'm actually standing in Slovakia!
The next day we went into old Krakow.
And then the day after that we left to go to Paris for a few days. We flew Easyjet KRK
and were there for three nights, returning on June 20. Like I said I'll post the link to that trip report down below.
When we arrived back in KRK
we had a pretty tight connection and had to get over to the train station ASAP in order to catch our ride to Poznan, the next stop on our trip. If we missed this one the next train would've had us pulling into Poznan at 3 AM
, so needless to say we were pretty relieved when we made it in time. Continuing with the trend on the trip so far, the train ride was seven hours...
Another thing I noticed was that the trains in Poland haven't changed a bit.
They're still as slow, old, and dirty as they were ten years ago. I don't know maybe I'm just spoiled from riding Amtrak back in the U.S., but comparing the two is like night and day. Anyways, we arrived in Poznan at 11 PM
and my aunt and uncle were there to greet us and pick us up. We stayed with them and three of my cousins. The first day in Poznan we mainly visited family and then the second day we went into town.
And then here's a shot of one of my favorite childhood memories of Poland - riding the trams/trolleys!
After two days in Poznan we took a two hour train ride back to Torun and spent two nights there before it was finally time to head home.
We had an extra traveler coming along on the return trip as one of my aunts was coming back with us to stay for six weeks. Scheduled departure time from WAW
was 4:30 PM
so we left Torun at 10 AM
and got to the airport at about 1:30.
We entered the new terminal and I gotta say it really does have an attractive look/feel to it. The old one isn't that bad, but this one is definitely an improvement.
We then headed over for check in and much to my surprise the LO
counters were pretty quiet. It was only about a five-ten minute wait before we were up.
Like the previous flight, I was hoping that I'd be able to change my seat to somewhere behind the wing. This time I was in luck as there was only one open window seat remaining - 26G.
Bingo! With that taken care of, there was still plenty of time to spare so I went outside and walked over to the observation deck, my first time up there.
Unfortunately it was pretty quiet while I was up there. The only action was a VO
E170, and a LH
CRJ. I mean come on, even MKE
can do better than that!
There wasn't anything else goin on, so I headed back to the terminal and met up with my family at one of the coffee shops. I got myself a frappuccino and a slice of cheesecake, both of which were good. I think the place was called 'Coffee Heaven" or something like that. Anyways, with nothing else to do, we headed for security. Once again the line was short, but it seemed like every person in front of me forgot to take off/remove their metallic items, so by the time they walked in and out of the screening three times and got patted down the whole process got pretty dragged out...Anyways after getting through that we headed to our gate, A31.
This is the best view I could get of our plane parked at the gate. This must've been the last TATL flight of the day since I couldn't spot any other of their 767s.
The terminal area itself was nice, but as far as spotting went it was kinda restricted. It’s kind of hard to explain, but the gate areas are kind of split up and to get into ours we had to get our passports checked so I didn't really have access to all the gates.
There was still some time so I went to look around. This start alliance painted LO
Embraer was heading to MXP
This 737 was getting some engine work before heading to SVO
There really wasn't anything else to look at so at this point I just sat around til they called boarding. When they finally did call boarding I somehow managed to cut in front of the entire line without anybody noticing!
They were boarding a W6 flight to ORK
at the gate next to us, so maybe that had something to do with it because of how crowded it was. While walking down the jetway I saw that our plane was LPF, one of the more recent additions to the LO
While heading back to my seat I snapped a pic of the business class cabin. Interesting that there were four rows of business class seats on this 767, whereas on the flight from ORD
there were only three.
And then I took my seat back in 26G.
I noticed right away that the seats on this 767 were different, probably newer, which made sense. Boarding wrapped up pretty quick and we were set to go ahead of schedule but it was announced that we were delayed due to "ATC restrictions over Europe". I'm not really sure what that meant but ok whatever. We eventually pushed back, the safety demo was played, and we started taxing for the runway. We taxied to the end of 15/33 (I don't remember what our end was called) and then as we lined up I looked down to the other end of the runway to see the sky pitch black with lightning!
Yikes. Of course, I don't know what they were thinking because we took off right into the thing and got tossed around bad for the first few minutes during climbout.
I don't know why they at least didn't have us take off from another direction, but I would've hated to of been in that tiny ATR that went up before us...
Eventually things smoothened out and once again towelettes and headsets were given out. Not too long after that came dinner with a choice of chicken or pork. I went with safe choice of chicken again and fortunately it wasn't exactly the same as on the last flight. All in all, once again another good meal.
Some lady in her 50s/60s was sitting next to me - I managed to get a glance at her itinerary to find out that she was from Romania. She didn't speak English or Polish so there wasn't any conversation there. Here's a shot of the rear cabin - from the looks of it this flight was slightly more full than the last one, 90-95% I'd say.
There was a consistent light chop until we cleared Europe, but once we were over the Atlantic it was smooth for the most part. Then it was movie time and the cabin lights were turned off. Unfortunately, they played the same stuff as on the way over. I had to resort to the IPod once again, but that wasn't so bad since I had some videos/movies on there. Eventually I pulled my window shade up and saw that we were over Greenland! Talk about some stunning scenery.
It was once again announced that if you got thirsty you could help yourself to drinks in the galley, but when I went back there the flight attendants were nowhere to be seen and there were no drinks either.
Anyways, so from that point I kinda just sat back and stuck with the IPod. About two hours and twenty minutes out of ORD
the lights came on the prearrival snack was given out. It was good like the others, but really not much as far as quantity went.
For the last two hours of the flight things really started to slow down. It seemed like the flight just wouldn't end but finally Lake Michigan came into view and we started our descent into ORD
. Once we flew across the lake and made it over Illinois, we flew past ORD
before turning around to line up for landing.
Flap and gear went all the way down and we landed smoothly at ORD
on runway 10 with the cabin applauding during the rollout.
Back in ORD
Not that long of a taxi and we parked right next to an AA
Once we got out there weren't any windows to see our plane so I just headed down and met up with my family before heading through customs. Since we were from the U.S. we didn't have any problems, but for some reason there was some issue with my aunt that they just didn't wanna let her through. My dad went over to help her out while the rest of went to get all the bags. Our flight was actually one of two LO
flights due in at around that time with another one coming in from KRK
The wait for ours bags was a bit long. Every couple minutes about five-ten bags came out and after about twenty five minutes of waiting our last one finally came.
Right as we got the last bag my aunt finally got let through so we were set to go. I never found out what the issue was with her, but my dad made it sound like the customs guy was bored and just being a smartass, so whatever. After getting all our bags screened one final time we headed out to the arrivals lounge and were greeted by my grandpa who was back to pick us up. We went outside, loaded up the car, and started the drive back to Racine to conclude the trip.
Well this is my 11th trip report so I hope you enjoyed reading it! All in all the two flights on LO
were good and I can't wait to fly on one of their 787s when (or if?!
) they finally get em. For Easyjet KRK
report I'll post that link in the first reply below so make sure to check that one out if you haven't yet. Comments are always appreciated as it takes some determination to put these kind of reports together. Thanks a lot!
Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.