Every time I publish a flight report featuring a business class product in Europe, I get some comments saying that European Business Class is ALWAYS the same. Either it’s Economy but with a free seat beside you, or it’s just 3 rows of identical economy-style seats with a curtain and a free drink. And therefore it’s NEVER worth it.
But that’s simply not entirely true. There is at least some variation in European Business Class even if most of it is rarely worth it. Take the Turkish Airlines short-medium range A321neo product as an example. A proper business class seat (true, not a lie-flat), but super comfortable and a real sense that you’ve upgraded from Economy.
This report accompanies the video version of this Flight Review, which you can view by clicking on the image below:
LOT Polish Airlines
LOT is Poland’s flag carrier airline and is rated 3/5* stars by Skytrax. That seems pretty fair, because – let’s not sugar coat it – the product is perfectly adequate but isn’t winning any prizes for check-in experience, the gate or handling delays.
The check-in experience was one of the worst I’ve encountered in years. I arrived early (my problem) and waited for check-in to open to check my bag until about 1h45m ahead of the flight. I had a series of pushy people literally just stand in front of me in the business class line, without explanation. One drunk man was extremely aggressive to quite a few people. Staff didn’t bat an eyelid or intervene. Eventually, I was checked in and was able to use the fast track area of Istanbul Airport, despite neither LOT check-in associates nor the the Fast Track team being certain if LOT business class had that benefit.
I had booked this flight for two reasons: it was hard to get to my eventual destination, Gdansk, using Turkish Airlines with a reasonable connection that would forward my bags right through and because I wanted to try an alternative European business class that also allowed me access to the Turkish Airlines business class lounge, about which lots of people rave positively. There will be a separate post on that.
The Gate & Boarding
It’s a LONG way from the centre of Istanbul Airport through to some of the gates. Ten minutes walk later, you’re still at the shops! However, eventually I found my way.
At the gate area, officials from the Polish government (I believe) were checking everyone’s passports to ensure that they were either permitted visa-free access or had the appropriate visa. This was a process that was carried out with rigour! Before long, business class passengers and those with status with LOT (or Star Alliance status) were invited to board and I got my first glimpse of what I had paid almost £600 for (yes, I’m an idiot).
I was more than a little shocked that business class on LOT is economy class, with a free seat beside you. This is nice in terms of not having a sharp-elbowed neighbour but is not the most comfortable option in the sky. Look, feel free to shout at me – I should have looked it up in advance, but I didn’t. I wanted it to be a surprise 🙂
Food & Drink
The service by the cabin crew was really very good. They were friendly and ensured that I had settled in and took my jacket. These little touches are important and LOT could have a great blend of service and product if only for those seats (and no in-flight entertainment). Sigh.
The food option was a cold meal. Top left is a salmon and dill salad, bottom left was some chicken, some sashimi, cheese, dates and a single cherry tomato. A bread roll was served (also cold) which was hard as the soles of my boot, with nice butter.
Dessert was this chocolate tart with cherries which was excellent. The branding on the chocolate coin is Do&Co, which is the branding of Turkish Airlines who must have supplied this meal.
I don’t have much else to say about this flight. I always feel compelled to say that at least I arrived safe and well, so there is that.
Flight 2: Warsaw to Gdansk
The second leg of my journey was from Warsaw to Gdansk. No business class offering was available on the second aircraft, which was delayed by close to 3 hours for the 35 minute hop across to Gdansk.
The seats on this Embraer were, frankly, wonky and the plane had clearly not been cleaned, but I was so glad to get going that I buckled up and shut up.
A glass of water and a snack were served, but I think most people really wanted to get home or to their hotels as we were in so late in the evening.
Gdansk is a gorgeous city that I recommend visiting.
I feel I’ve now gone through the experience of LOT business class so you don’t have to, and I know that it’s a bit boujie to complain about flying in business. However, if you are willing to shell out the money on business because you are actually doing business, or for a treat, please don’t do it with LOT on a European flight. Save your cash, sit down the back and spend the extra on a delicious Polish meal on your arrival. Sorry LOT – very charming cabin crew, the rest not so charming.