The summer is as they say inevitably short. My near three month holiday has almost passed by in a blur, and during my second last week of holiday I found myself in the historic town of Visby on the island of Gotland. My sister who lives here needed a helping hand in moving her stuff into her apartment as it had spent the summer acting as holiday home for the building owners, and provide accommodation for Swedish government politicians during the annual Almedalen Week.
The historic Old Town of Visby, a very beautiful place.
The beautiful seaside is located nearby.
Apple pie made of apples picked from my sister’s garden.
The seven days on the island passed awfully slow, and by Wednesday August 22nd it was time for me to say goodbye to my sister, and hop on the ferry to the mainland. Three hours on a boat feels agonisingly slow compared to a plane, but I was lucky enough this time to have found something productive to occupy myself. I did something that should have been done long ago, a flight log. Scanning through my memory, I have made 126 flights since 1995 which isn’t much impressive really.
Thursday August 23rd 2012
At 7.15 in the morning, I once again find myself on the familiar turfs of the departure hall in the SAS Concourse of Terminal 5. Arriving from Visby the previous night, my father reluctantly let me spend the night on his sofa. I only got four hours of sleep, and he didn’t even let me use the shower. Sleep deprived, and smelling like something taken right out of a pig’s farm, I hit the lavatorials to shave, freshen up, and put on a clean change of clothes. While nothing can compare to the refreshing feeling you get from a shower, I was at least more of a human than ten minutes ago.
Check-In & Security at Arlanda
The departures hall was packed this morning with passengers traveling on the New York and Chicago flights, which also meant the check-in machines were crowded. The Gold and Business Class counters were near empty, and I was quickly served by the young female SAS agent Lena.
Me: Good morning [presents passport and *G card]
L: Good morning to you too. May I ask where you are flying today?
Me: I’m traveling on LO454 to Warsaw, leaving at 10.30.
L: [typing on computer] Do you have any bags to check-in?
Me: No, just hand luggage.
L: Here is your boarding pass, have a nice flight!
Beeline was made to security which had quite some queues forming. The fasttrack was empty, but sadly it could not be accessed since I had left my vouchers at home. It took five minutes of queueing before it became my turn to pass. Flying colours was not the case this morning, as I had left a 200ml bottle of shaving gel in my backpack that needed confiscating, bugger!
SAS Scandinavian Lounge Arlanda
The glass doors swooshed open at 7.40am, as I made way to the lounge reception. The same old lady as last time was manning the reception, a quick BP
scan and I was allowed to enter. The lounge was fairly packed this morning, near exclusively with business-style pax. I felt slightly awkward walking in with just shorts and a t-shirt, so I changed to a slightly more formal white shirt in the lavatory.
Bag was dumped at a seater in the more quiet ”annex” section, and I hit the breakfast spread to see what’s on offer.
The typical Scandinavian breakfast of cold cuts and bread was offered.
Finishing my coffee, the annex filled up more gradually, so I moved my junk over to the main section where the reminding time was spent.
”Comfy seaters” as a certain Markus tends to say.
Bailey’s was not served at this early hour, so tomato juice was the choice of drink along with my usual copy of Newsweek.
At 9.30 am, the lounge became completely empty. The alleged NYC and Chicago pax had left for their gates. I stuck around for another half hour, before bidding the old lady goodbye.
LO454 Stockholm Arlanda – Warsaw Chopin
Flight: LO454 ARN-WAW
Duration: 1h 40m
Date: August 23rd 2012
Seat & Class: 18D Economy Class
Aircraft & Reg: Embraer E-175LR, SP-LIL
The plane that will take me on my first E-Jet flight.
My all time favourite Gate 6A
was assigned for this morning’s departure to Warsaw. The gate area was crowded, but not packed. Boarding however was delayed ten minutes due to late incoming aircraft, and in the mean time passengers were instructed to queue up at the boarding gate.
Shortly after, boarding was called. Interestingly enough priority boarding was offered, but not enforced since quite frankly there was only one line. Being seated at the back, I made sure to jump through the line, which resulted in an angry sigh from the woman behind.
Once onboard the plane, a senior attendant was standing at the door. Greeting was not offered, and I didn’t expect one either. Seat was reached, shoes (for safety reasons. Yes those heavy shoes become deadly projectiles in case of a crash) and backpack in the overhead before getting comfy.
Legroom shot. What the hell is the point with those anyway? Apart from revealing that you enjoy wearing a particular pair of jeans or shoes (yes that applies to the rest of you on the forum too!) when flying, I have a hard time seeing them to be of any help. Oh well habits are habits…
Boarding was soon completed, and the load factor appeared to be roughly 75%, the seat next to me remained empty. The usual pre-departure foreplay was conducted before the plane taxied out to runway 01L/19R. A not so powerful takeoff was performed, followed by a series of turns as we climbed to our cruising altitude of 37000 feet.
Making a sharp right bank towards south.
Climbing out through layers of rainclouds.
...Before finally reaching cruise somewhere over the Baltic Sea.
The seatbelt sign was extinguished once cruise had been reached. Almost instantly the male flight attendant serving economy class began distributing the sandwiches and wafer bars making up the in-flight service, followed by drinks. With no help from the colleague in Business Class, the service was very slow.
Cheese sandwich, Prince Polo bar, blackcurrant juice and coffee.
For a 100 minute flight, the food was more than sufficient. While the sandwich may have appeared dry and tasteless, it actually was quite tasty. The blackcurrant juice was a bit of an oddball to have served on a plane, and sadly however it tasted too sour. The Prince Polo and coffee tasted just average.
The remainder of the flight was quite uneventful. I spent most of it reading the copy of Newsweek brought from the lounge, and soon enough the nose tipped down. During our descent we experienced some violent turbulence, as we went through the clouds. Central Warsaw became visible from my side, a few minutes before touchdown.
Starting our descent over Poland.
Coming in over suburban Warsaw.
Short on finals.
It didn’t take long before the aircraft had reached the gate. As always, I de-boarded the plane as the last passenger. The crew didn’t bother greeting me goodbye as I walked up the jetway and into the terminal. Some ten minutes later, I was airside at the arrivals hall. A quick stop by Relay was made to buy some bus tickets, before hopping on Bus 175 that would take me straight to my hotel. Thanks for the tips Petteri!
The Radisson Blu Sobieski Hotel Warsaw
At 1.00pm, I arrived to the lobby of the hotel. Despite being two hours early, the friendly receptionist was kind enough to grant me access to my room, which was assigned to the 4th floor.
As always on Radisson hotels it seems, the room kept very high standard, easily justifying the 4 stars of the property. The room was bright, clean and fairly stylish. The bed was very comfortable too. Amenities included coffee/tea making facilities, a minibar, free daily newspapers, free bottled water, and toiletries stocked in the bathroom. All in all, at 14 000 GoldPoints® the redemption was a steal!
View of my standard room.
The very stylish and clean bathroom.
24+ Hours In Warsaw
I had roughly 24 hours to spend in the City of Warsaw. Given the location of the hotel, the city centre was a 15 minute walk away, whereas Old Town was even further away than so. Before heading out to explore the city, I spent one hour resting on my hotel bed followed by a refreshing shower. During my time, I managed to see explore most of the main sights and attractions, including the famous and well recommended Hard Rock Café, where I ate all meals except breakfast (which was had at the Starbucks® across the street).
I chose not to take any pictures during my first day, and instead do so on the second day. Sadly however as I made my way back to the hotel after having spent the evening on old town, I became victim to a robbery, oh well attempted robbery. I was able to defend myself against the crook, and run away from the scene. My hotel was just a few blocks away, and the police was soon contacted. By the time they arrived, the crook was gone and there was not much they could do about it. Not that it mattered much since they didn’t get away with anything. Due to that incident, I wasn’t very comfortable with taking pictures in town.
Friday August 24th 2012
I woke up at 10.00am, despite the previous night’s event I still managed to get a very good night’s sleep. I didn’t bother much with paying €17 for the breakfast buffet, which was quite steep compared to the prices in the city. Instead the morning following the usual formalities was spent in the room, drinking tea and watching Top Gear on the television. After ”packing up my junk” as the Finn would say, I checked out in the lobby at 12.00pm.
Originally, the day was planned to be spent further exploring Old Town, but instead I spent the time doing some shopping at the Golden Terraces Mall. At 16.00pm, I hopped on the Bus 175 to the airport where I arrived thirty minutes later.
Exterior view of Terminal A North at Chopin Airport.
Despite being a friday afternoon, the airport was surprisingly quiet, and without further ado I proceeded to the check-in area used by LOT.
Check-In & Security at Chopin Airport
View of the check-in area used by LOT.
Since I hadn’t done OLCI the previous night, I walked over to the priority counter to have the formalities done the old fashioned way. Interestingly a ”bouncer” was set up to guard the priority counters, something which they should definitely have at ARN
B: Flying business class, Sir?
[i]Me: [discretely presents *G card from the passport]
[i]B: Ah sorry, my mistake. [smile]
With nobody in line at the SEN/HON Counter, I was quickly waved over by the friendly male agent Tom.
[i]T: Good day sir, may I see your travel documents please?
Me: Sure! [hands over passport]
T: So you are flying to Stockholm today, is that correct?
Me: Yes, I’m leaving on the 19.55 flight. Hope I’m not too early.
T: Hehe, well it’s always good to be early. Do you have any bags?
Me: No, just hand luggage.
T: Okay then, here is your boarding pass and please make sure that the info is correct.
Me: Yes all is good, thank you Sir.
Having the formalities taken care of, and my pre-selected seat 17A on the BP
I soon made way to the security check. Queues were quite long, but the agent kindly informed me that the Business Class lane was available. For some reason however, I must’ve missed the signs and ended up using the regular one. Not that it mattered much, since I was through fairly quick anyway.
As there wasn’t much to see or do airside, I headed straight for the lounge. Interestingly the Business Class lane dumps you straight in front of the lounge, how nifty!
LOT Business Lounge Polonez Warsaw
View of the lounge entrance.
At the reception, I was greeted by a friendly middle aged attendant who after a quick inspection of the BP
and card welcomed me inside.
One of the many seating areas. The leather armchairs were super comfy!
The lounge has been covered fairly enough already by several members, so I won’t go much into details. The lounge do however offer a basic selection of non-alcoholic beverages, beer, wine, spirits and a coffee machine. On the food front, various cold cuts of meat, cheese and vegetable sticks was on offer. The selection was adequate enough for my likings, and I settled for a plate of cold cuts, along with a diet coke and some ”Gabriel Chew”.
My light snacks for the evening.
Time sure flies when lounging, and after a few glasses of G&T and reading some articles on Newsweek, I left the lounge at 19.30pm some ten minutes before boarding would start.
Since I was feeling quite tired, and a bit drunk’ish I chose not to cover the return flight as it was basically an exact replica of the outbound with the exception of being in darkness. The flight was calm, and I enjoyed watching the spectacular sunset which spanned through the entire duration of the flight, along with a few glasses of white wine. We arrived at Arlanda ten minutes before schedule.
LOT Polish Airlines provided a high quality, solid and highly consistent product onboard their Embraer planes. The leather seats were extremely comfortable, especially with those ergonomic winged adjustable headrests. I wouldn’t mind making a longer flight on those planes. As for the crews, I found them to be fairly reserved but not unfriendly. While they may have been sparse on the smiles, they were always happy to bring you extra drinks and such upon request... Unlike a certain Scandinavian Airline who are extremely reluctant in bringing you a 2nd cup of that weak disgusting coffee they make so much fuss about. All in all, I was very pleased with LOT as an airline.
Feel free to have a look at my previous reports. The reports are categorised chronologically based on their year/date of publication.
Flying Intercontinental On A Beech + More, On TAP (by LH4116 Jul 18 2012 in Trip Reports)
SAS, Lounges & Lovely Bavaria: ARN-CPH-MUC (pics) (by LH4116 May 4 2012 in Trip Reports)
Mother Fokker! And The A.net Meet (pics) (by LH4116 Apr 4 2012 in Trip Reports)
SAS, Lounges, MD-87 & The Brussels Disaster (pics) (by LH4116 Mar 15 2012 in Trip Reports)
Ich Bin Ein Berliner & SAS: B736/MD-82, Y (pics) (by LH4116 Feb 24 2012 in Trip Reports)
Proper Short Haul – Lufthansa CPH-FRA-CPH Y (pics) (by LH4116 Feb 13 2012 in Trip Reports)
SAS At Their Very Finest! ZRH-ARN, Business (pics) (by lh4116 Feb 2 2012 in Trip Reports)
Swiss Flatbed Business Class: PVG-ZRH +More (pics) (by LH4116 Jan 23 2012 in Trip Reports)
Proper Long Haul – Swiss Made: ARN-PVG Y (pics) (by LH4116 Jan 10 2012 in Trip Reports)
LH Italia, You Won’t Be Missed! ARN-MXP C (pics) (by LH4116 Oct 31 2011 in Trip Reports)
Parisian City Break à La Air France. ARN-CDG Y Rt (by LH4116 Aug 27 2011 in Trip Reports)
Long, Sleek And Still Blue. Finnair B757! (pics) (by LH4116 Aug 5 2011 in Trip Reports)
Off To Norway, On A Classic. ARN-BGO SAS Y (pics) (by LH4116 Jul 30 2011 in Trip Reports)
”Flying It Fake” On SAS, ARN-DLM Rt In ”C” (pics) (by LH4116 Jul 5 2011 in Trip Reports)
Norwegian ARN-GOT Inaugural Flights, Feb 17 (pics) (by LH4116 Feb 25 2011 in Trip Reports)
TAP Portugal, And The Moroccan Travesty (pics) (by LH4116 Jul 15 2010 in Trip Reports)
Off To The Northern Skies, On SAS And X2000 (pics) (by LH4116 May 9 2010 in Trip Reports)
KLM Y, ARN-AMS R/t + Wonderful Holland (pics) (by LH4116 Oct 30 2009 in Trip Reports)
Trip Report: Train to Gothenburg, 1st Class (pics) (by LH4116 Jul 10 2009 in Non Aviation)
I Give You, SAS At Its Very Best! (pics) (by LH4116 Apr 17 2009 in Trip Reports)
Comments are much appreciated!