This is a guest post by Susan Guillory of The Unexplorer.
Having never been on an inaugural flight, I was delighted to be invited by Poland’s LOT Airlines to fly on the first ever flight from Los Angeles to Warsaw in April of 2017. I was part of a group of travel writers who were invited by the Polish National Tourist Office to explore Warsaw and Krakow, starting with this inaugural flight.
While you may not have heard of LOT Airlines, you likely soon will. With a large presence in Europe, and a growing presence in Asia, LOT is quietly taking over the industry. In the last year or so, they’ve started launching flights in the US, including Newark and now LA. At 88 years old, LOT is one of the oldest airlines in the world.
Later in our media trip, we met with a representative from LOT, who told us the focus of the airlines was on offering low-cost tickets without compromising quality. I have to say that I never felt like I was flying a budget airline, so they’ve clearly done their job.
Christening the Flight
Just minutes before the ribbon cutting at the Warsaw terminal, I met my fellow travel bloggers, who I would bond with over the following week. We put on our journalist hats at the inaugural event, where the CEO of LOT Airlines, as well as the President of LAX, spoke about the new partnership. A ribbon was cut. Cupcakes were consumed. Time to fly!
Best Business Class Ever
It’s rare that you find a direct flight from the West coast to Europe, so I was thrilled to find out it was less than 11 hours from LAX to Warsaw. Eliminating the typical layover time means maybe I wouldn’t be quite so tired when I arrived.
I’ve only flown business or first class once or twice, and I’ve never had the cool laydown seats that LOT’s Dreamliner 787-8 have. Wow. What a difference from trying to sleep upright in Coach! Normally I can sleep maybe 20 minutes. I slept 6 hours!
The food service was impressive as well. Seared tuna was followed by an ample sized steak, then a digestif of Polish mead (Miod pitny) and a dessert cart (I opted for cheesecake).
We arrived, if not refreshed, at least not like zombies the way I normally do after 15+ hours of flying, at Warsaw airport. I’ve never been in a more orderly and uncrowded international airport! It was clean, there were virtually no lines, and customs took just a few minutes to go through (though one customs officer refused to smile, saying “smiling is a waste of time.”).
LOT has plans to expand aggressively in the US market in the coming years, which is good news if you want to fly to Warsaw or a dozen other European destinations. The flights are affordable, and the quality is that of a much more expensive ticket.
The pleasurable flight from LA to Warsaw was just the beginning of a wonderful discovery of Poland.
Article and photography by travel writer Susan Guillory. I received complimentary airfare from LOT Airlines, however all opinions are my own.