LOT Polish Airlines B787-8 Dreamliner Inaugural Flight
In 2005 LOT Polish Airlines - Polskie Linie Lotnicze (PLL LOT), placed an initial order for 7 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner’s. In 2007, LOT increased their order by 1 aircraft to a total of 8. Deliveries were due to begin in 2008 however, as we all know, due to delays, the 787 was delayed for all operators. LOT took delivery of their first 787, SP
on the 14th November 2012 and in doing so, became the first European operator of the type. The aircraft arrived in Warsaw (Warszawa) to great fanfare, including a water cannon salute streamed live by Polish News Broadcaster; TVN24. Later in the day, LOT held a promotional ceremony inviting selected people onboard the aircraft for a tour. A full panoramic tour can be seen at dreamliner.lot.pl
When I heard about the European Tour LOT was planning as part of the 787s entry into service, I was quick to research the best possible way to fly Europe’s first Dreamliner. Originally I looked into one of the LHR
sectors but then decided to go for it and get on the inaugural flight from Warsaw to Prague on the 14th December 2012. Living in Manchester, this required careful planning on the best way to get from MAN
and subsequently PRG
. In the end it worked out cheaper to fly MAN
-WMI (Warsaw Modlin) with Ryanair, followed by WAW
the next day, spend 2 nights in the city and fly back again on the 787 to Warsaw, spend a second night in Warsaw followed by WAW
on EuroLOT the next day, spend a day in Gdansk followed finally by GDN
So, here we go...the 13th December and it is time for the first sector of this trip from Manchester to Warsaw Modlin. I won’t go into too much detail as I am sure you have all heard your fair share of Ryanair Trip Reports in the past. It was a bog standard flight, on-time, PA after PA after PA, sell after sell after sell. Arrival at Modlin was smooth; it is wonderful little airport albeit, having a rough time at the moment related to the ILS which is not yet in service. The terminal is light, bright and airy which a modern colour scheme. It takes a mere few moments from clearing immigration to reaching the terminal front. Free WiFi is available throughout as an added bonus. We caught the ‘ModlinBus’ to Centrum which also features free WiFi and offers great value for money. There is also the option of the very wallet friendly Modlin train as well as fixed rate taxis for 100zł or roughly £20.
We headed straight from Centrum on the tram towards Okęcie (near Warsaw’s Chopin Airport or Lotnisko Chopina). We got an excellent deal through booking.com at the B&B Hotel Warszawa Okęcie for a mere £20. The hotel is brand new, also has free WiFi (perfect for checking what was flying over on FlightRadar24!) and is very modern as well as being less than 5 minutes from Terminal A. Perfect! Alarm set, time to get some sleep before a day out with the Dreamliner!
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Warsaw Okęcie Frederic Chopin WAW
/EPWA | Friday 14th December 2012 | STD 07:20 | ATD 07:35
- Prague Vaclav Havel Ruzyne PRG
/LKPR | Friday 14th December 2012 | 08:35 STD | ATA 09:15
Boeing 787-85D | CN: 35938 | Delivered: 15 November 2012 to PLL LOT
Our alarm goes off at 4am and we are in the taxi to Chopin by 5am. It is a particularly cold -11°C this morning. We arrive outside the terminal minutes later and head inside to check-in our bags. This flight is leaving from Chopin’s Terminal A which has been in operation since 2008 with a modern glass exterior and open, airy interior and a similar colour scheme to Modlin. WAW
’s former Terminal 2 closed earlier this year to make make way for a complete overhaul and subsequent full integration into Terminal A by 2015. Immediately upon checking the FIDS, I spot that the flight has been allocated its own check-in desks unlike the usual shared check-in arrangement. The check-in screens adorned a special message celebrating the flight as well as multiple messages sounding throughout the terminal announcing the flight. It is clear already that the 787 is something that LOT and Poland are proud of.
After clearing security, I was eager to head straight to the gates to get my first glimpse of the aircraft which was already drawing up quite a crowd of onlookers!
A closer look;
First impressions were impressive! The aircraft looks even better in person; very sleek and elegant. I have been following SP
-LRAs production closely through various sources so it was exciting see her up close and personal. Following my initial inspection, it was time for some breakfast before heading to duty free for the famous Bison Grass Wodka.
Eagerly, I headed back to the gate very early to snap some more pictures and it seems many others had the same idea. Soon enough, boarding time of 6:50 arrived however there was a slight delay, with boarding being called around 07:00. A number of customers were presented with large souvenir ‘787 Boarding Cards’, these being passengers who won tickets on the flight during LOT’s Dreamliner competition. As boarding began, LOT’s duty manager presented each passenger with a commemorative certificate for the 1st commercial flight.
The door was manned by LOT’s specially trained Elite Fleet crew selected specifically for 787 services and we were warmly welcomed onboard. Initial impressions were of a light, spacious feel with a distinct modern edge. And so, along with a majority of passengers, the photo’s began;
The aft economy cabin.
TVN24 camera’s were onboard as well as journalists from other media outlets to record the occasion. I decided to check out the toilets and was impressed by the design and functionality. In particular, the ‘no-touch flush’. It was tastefully presented with a red rose;
Crew where throughout the cabin interacting with passengers and explaining features of the aircraft.
Soon enough, it was time to get underway with the Purser adding her welcome with a sense of genuine pride to be a part of the experience. The Captain further added his welcome and went into detail about our route and the Dreamliner itself. We pushed back and the safety demo began. I quite like LOT’s demo as it draws your attention in a modern, edgy way with it’s iPad-esque presentation;
LOT Safety Demo
I must say, engine start on the 787 was very noisy in the mid cabin although maybe this was due to the subzero temperature? After push, we proceeded to Runway 15 for deicing;
Soon enough, we began our roll which was smooth and near silent inline with the A380;
Sunrise over Mazovia.
As soon as we where airborne with the seatbelt signs off, I decided to take a closer look around, so here is my picture tour for you;
My attempt at iPhone Panoramic shots!
Needs a little work!
Excellent quality headsets for Economy!
It was pretty much access all areas with the crew very happily accommodating the enthusiasts and media whilst conducting the service allowing us to continue to be in the way, take pictures and so on whilst happily serving passengers with a smile. I headed through the Premium Club cabin to check it out then had a look at Business (Elite Club). Again, the crew were most accomodating with allowing passengers to explore and embraced it.
Great effects and contrast from the shades here!
More panoramic efforts!
Cruising over Wrocław.
Comparison between fully ‘open’ and fully tinted.
Amazing wing flex!
After a look around I returned to my seat to check out the IFE. The interface is very user friendly and I quite like the Thales handset compared to Rockwell Collins or Panasonic. I believe the full content is not yet loaded such as the full movie selection in order to avoid licensing fees for these short sectors which is fair enough. I sat back and listened to some music whilst enjoying the coffee and orange juice provided by the crew along with the snack. The seat recline was generous and I must admit, considering the ‘controversial’ 3-3-3 config, I found was it to be very comfortable. I could stretch my legs out fully and the legrest added further comfort. The headroom was great, in line with the A380 and the cabin air felt noticeably fresher than on other types.
Soon enough, the Captain announced we would be beginning our descent into Prague. I was having another look around the cabin at which time the crew were taking part in a TV
interview and posing for pictures. The engines soon spooled back and we began a smooth descent towards Prague for our flypast over the airport.
Descent into PRG
Flying past over PRG
Climbing out again over Bohemia.
Approach number 2.
On final approach, the crowds of spotters who had turned out to see the occasion became more and more apparent, dotted around under our path.
Touchdown was impeccably smooth!
Rollout on Runway 06 with a large group of spotters in view!
Airport staff from all areas also turned out in abundance. It was very exciting to see!
Upon pulling up on stand and the seatbelt sign being turned off, I felt it appropriate to have one final look around including the flightdeck. Once again, the crew were most accommodating;
Doors 1 Galley.
The Flight Crew had a large queue of passengers eager to take a look up front and were allowing each person into the FO’s seat for a picture.
Check that crowd out outside!
View from the terminal.
Upon exiting, it was immediately apparent that a gate party was being held! I wondered why one wasn’t held in WAW
but assumed it must have been due to the early departure. However here at PRG
a generous spread of Champagne, juices, an array of canapes and desserts were on offer. I felt it would be rude not to take advantage! Czech media and other broadcasters were also interviewing passengers, in particular, the competition winners;
One of the winners!
Well with that, the inaugural flight was over! However, my next Dreamliner flight was only 2 days away on our trip back to WAW
. I won’t bore you with any commentary so here are the pictures;
Aft Economy Cabin
One of the crew recognised me from the outbound flight and recalled our conversation. He offered to show me the Overhead Cabin Crew Rest Facility for comparison to what I am used to! He introduced me to the rest of the crew who were just lovely and we discussed our flying careers. My 5 years seemed somewhat measly compared to a lowest figures of 16 years and a highest figure of 27 years from today’s Economy crew. They told me of how delighted and proud they were to be flying on the 787 and how wonderful and crew friendly they found the aircraft to be.
From the opposite end.
With that, it was back to my seat;
Looking back at PRG
A unique view of the contrail!
And so ends my first, of likely many, Dreamliner trips! I must say, I was impressed by the 787 and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was a pleasure to be apart of it! I also absolutely loved my first flights with LOT with their warm and genuine service and seeing first hand, the pride of each staff member to be a part of the Dreamliner. I felt it to be a great day for Polish and European aviation as we step towards the next generation of aircraft.
I appreciate you taking the time to read my review, I hope you’ve enjoyed it and please feel free to post any questions or comments you may have!