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Old 13th July 2018, 06:11 PM   #1
scooby5
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Default LOT’s new(ish) service B788/B738 from SIN-AMS-SIN (J)

I needed a last minute, quick trip to Holland earlier this week and with barely three days’ notice, getting tickets was a “cost efficient” challenge.
Long story short, I had a choice of LOT or Turkish. I took Turkish just a month ago to EDI with a return from AMS, and EVA from Bangkok a year ago but are not flying every day.

I was keen to try LOT already last month but getting to Scotland was a challenge.

LOT and Turkish came in at the same price, within a hundred dollars. LOT use a B788 with 2-2-2 whilst TK’s B777 is 2-3-2 with exactly the same seat…..a relatively low flat seat. Climbing in/out over people is easier than with some others but I still prefer a middle isle to reduce the chances of somebody waking me up. With LOT, I had no such concern.

Tickets bought Friday afternoon for Sunday night departure, I made the mistake of reading reviews online, whereby learning LOT = Late, or Tomorrow! Connections in Warsaw are tight although I knew beforehand it is a relatively small airport. Ticketed connection on the way to AMS is 55min but with a more generous return set at 80min. Going through FlightRadar records, it became clear that 80min on the return would be a risk, as it was common for LOT to be late.

The flight from SIN to WAW starts after a ~7hr turnaround time. The flight from WAW to AMS is one of the first flights of the day, so shouldn’t be late but it is a return leg later in the afternoon that is often late, depending on incoming aircraft timing and a relatively short turnaround of 50min.

No photos below, Bing will give you everything because it was all exactly as I found online.

SIN-WAW (B788), Seat 3D
Flight pushed back exactly on time, seat next to me empty and an occupancy around 50%. Comfortable seat but as I’ve seat on TK, they age quickly and especially the foot rest. I scanned through the IFE, but really, was thankful it would be a “sleep-all-the-way” because there was basically nothing to see - all quite old and not a huge selection.

In pretty much the same vein, during announcements I heard “in Economy, Drinks and Snacks can be purchased and we accept Eur…….” so I don’t know what all is not included after the Premium Economy section. At this point crew then tried to sell spare seats in PY and J and given everything was the same during my return leg, seems to be their modus operandi.

Crew were great throughout the flight (which I can say about all four sectors) and whilst I didn’t eat anything, others’ plates look pretty good, and with enough.

Flight time scheduled SIN-WAW is 12hrs and 10min, scheduled to land 06:15. We pushed back on time we landed 05:25 as the first touch down of the day. I was second to immigration and first to security with everywhere empty. To even get attention at security from the one person in the hall (not looking) I had to wander through the x-ray with my backpack and carry-on, setting off all the alarms. Pleased I was first because with one person doing bags and x-ray I imagined it would only need a few more guests to slow things down.

The LOT lounge is just feet away and, again, pleased I was first to transit because as the only person from a long haul, I took the only shower – converted from a toilet cubical so you can tell the size of it. Not even a mirror, and somebody had forgotten to fill soap from the night before – all pretty useless then.

After some work, headed to the gate for;

WAW-AMS (B738), Seat 1A
Boarding was chaotic, and 10min late as staff waited for a wheelchair passenger that seemed to be in transit. There is no real system in place, in practice, for boarding properly but in any case, I boarded almost in line with expectation. I made the mistake of seat 1A as crew keep their own stuff in the overhead.

Pushed back pretty much on time again.

A standard 3-3 layout, the middle seat is left empty. Food was served which was, hmmmph, well, basically okay, and “chilled”. I hadn’t eaten in the lounge of breakfast on the SIN flight, so it was better to eat something.
Landed 10min early so, nothing to complain anywhere except Warsaw airport.

AMS-WAW (B738), Seat 3C (I’m a quick learner)
Incoming flight left Warsaw on time, so part of my panic about a short (or none) connection was alleviated somewhat. Boarding started ~15min but that was the start of the delay because with a steady trickle of passengers we ended up being pushed back a half hour late and departed 40min behind schedule. This effectively halved the transit time. Okay, no panic yet.

Flight was pretty much the same as my incoming one the day before, food again chilled.

Our 40min delay at the beginning turned into a 40min delay on arrival as well, no speedy “makeup time”. Plane parked remotely, which even now don’t know was a blessing or curse. There was a little minibus parked at the bottom of the steps for Business/Premium passengers so thankfully we didn’t have to wait to fill one of the larger buses, but there was still a bit of a walk to immigration. At this point my saving grace is that a British passport is still European so my queue was shorter than it could have been, or probably will be in the future. If a hard Brexit goes through, it becomes a tough connection whereby we must beg everybody else in their queues to let us go ahead (others on my flight were doing exactly that and shouts of “Singapore here” and “Over there, move” etc. is a sign that a system needs tweaked). That combined with a front row departure from the plane meant a 20min plane-to-plane whilst queuing properly like us Brits were taught. I suppose they held back our flight to get everybody through because we departed to SIN some 35min behind schedule.

WAW-SIN (B788), Seat 3D
Champagne was served, and I sat again with an empty seat beside me and a roughly 50% occupancy. Watched “Isle of Dogs”, which came as interesting, artful surprise, before a couple of episodes of Friends (The one in Barbados Pt1 & Pt2) to get me ready for sleep. Before landing I would watch “Fantastic Mr. Fox” so that highlights a limited choice.

Again, did not eat dinner but, as I often do with Turkish and Thai, asked if I could switch the starter and main course to my second meal as it would effectively be 4pm SG time. No problem! As usual I had a couple of strange looks the following “morning” but, hey, its almost dinner time, right?
Despite a 35min delay from Warsaw we hit MY/SG/ID holding patterns some 30-40min before landing on time at 5:15pm.

Conclusion
Overall, except for Warsaw airport, LOT couldn’t have done an awful lot better. They do have timing issues and I think they are sailing close to the wind with some tight connections, ala LCC techniques. Their IFE sucks, again a sign of operating too cheap whilst not necessarily having fares much cheaper than competitors. Combine this with “we’ll sell you an upgrade and drinks/snacks on board” announcements, it adds to an air of, well LCC.

If you can organise enough in advance, pricing is good, but at the last minute it matches some competitors on price, but not quite yet on feeling. I will, though, be more than happy to jump on board again.
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Old 18th July 2018, 09:45 PM   #2
yflyer
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I enjoyed reading this, scooby5! I wouldn't mind trying LOT at some point, if the price was right, especially since they are Star Alliance. Wonder what Y on their 787 is like...
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