TRIP REPORT: LOT, Warsaw - Ljubljana - Warsaw


Written by jsg 

Initially this was a flight to Sofia as I planned to spend my ski holiday in Bulgarian ski resort of Borovets. Then in mid-December new rules were issued for all travellers arriving to Poland from non-Schengen countries, imposing COVID-19 test prior to boarding. Since Bulgaria is a non-Schengen country, I had to take an executive decision to trade Borovets for Kranjska Gora and rerouted my ticket to Ljubljana. Later, the clarification was issued that travel from non-Schengen EU countries will follow the same requirements as from Schengen countries. Since, I have never been skiing in Slovenia, I was content with my last minute change. 

LO617, Warsaw - Ljubljana: There is a sunny Saturday afternoon in Warsaw. I travel to the airport by taxi as it is more convenient, especially if you carry a bulky case for ski equipment. After a 10-minute ride I arrive at the terminal building of Warsaw Airport named after Frederic Chopin. At the terminal building, I go straight to the check-in area to complete the check-in procedure. Apart from my ID, the check-in agent checks my COVID-19 vaccination certificate (as full vaccination or negative COVID-19 test is required to be exempt from quarantine in Slovenia). After all checks, my bag is tagged for LJU, my boarding card is printed, and the check-in agent instructs me to bring my ski case to the oversize baggage drop off area located in the far corner of the terminal. After a ring, I am greeted by a baggage handling agent who scans the baggage tag on my ski case along with my boarding card. Then my bag is x-rayed before it is sent to the baggage handling area. As all is fine, I proceed to the security check area.

My flight LO617 is the only flight to Ljubljana today, and its scheduled departure time is at 14:50. LOT is the only airline to link the Polish and Slovenian capitals. l with various weekly frequencies of 4-6 per week as a result of decreased demand for air travel caused by COVID-19 pandemic. During the 6th week of the year 2022 - 6 flights were planned, followed by 5 weekly flights (7th week of 2022) and 4 weekly flights (8th week of 2022).

Today’s flight is operated by the 11.5-year-old Embraer E175LR aircraft (reg. SP-LIN). The aircraft has already completed one rotation today on route Warsaw - Milan Malpensa - Warsaw (flights LO317/LO318) and the flight to Ljubljana is the third flight today.

Around 14:30 the ground staff announces boarding at gate 32. The boarding process goes smoothly, and I reach the aircraft via the air bridge. Inside, I take my assigned window seat 17A at the rear of the aircraft. After a standard security demo in Polish and in English, and short taxi to the runway, we swiftly take off and the Warsaw skyline becomes more and more distant.

After reaching cruising altitude, the in-flight service commences. Firstly, cabin crew is distributing sanitizing wipe, which was introduced as a sanitary precaution during COVID-19 pandemic.

Then cabin crew offers a sweet (apple roll) or a savoury snack (spinach roll) along with still or sparkling water, tea or coffee. I take the savoury option as I prefer salty rather than sweet snacks and a cup of tea with lemon.

The flight crosses over Katowice, Ostrava, Vienna and Graz. During the flight, I admire the west part of the Tatra Mountains around the Czech city of Ostrava.

After passing the Tatra Mountains, the cabin crew offers a second nibble which comes in two options: sweet chocolate covered wafer “Grześki” (plural form of nickname of Polish male first name of Grzegorz - George) or a salty one - 15g pack of salted roasted corn. In addition, all passengers can purchase additional items from LOT SkyBar.

The flight soon passes the Austrian and Slovenian border and the cabin crew informs passengers we have commenced our descent into Ljubljana Airport. Around Kranj, the aircraft makes a u-turn, then proceeds to its final approach over the destination airport.

At 16:15 flight LO617 arrives at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, which is 20 minutes ahead of the scheduled arrival time - 16:35. The total distance flown - 813 km or 434 nm. The flight is disembarked via the air bridge. After a check of COVID-19 documents, I reclaim my luggage and head for the arrival hall, where I meet a driver which takes me to Kranjska Gora.

LO616, Ljubljana - Warsaw: It was a good skiing week in Kranjska Gora, but it is time to return home. My pre-booked transfer arrives at the entrance of my hotel half an hour earlier. The journey to Ljubljana Airport takes 50 minutes and I arrive at the airport 2 hours before scheduled departure. At the terminal entrance door, my COVID-19 vaccination certificate is checked and I proceed to the check-in desks. Today, two desks, A5 and A6, were designated for passengers of flight LO616. There is virtually no queue at check-in. The check-in process was quick, my oversized luggage is tagged, and a check-in agent asks me if I am OK with the assigned seat 17A. I confirm. Then I ask if I have to drop off my bag at the oversize luggage desk. ‘Yes, it is next to desk A1’ - the check-in agent instructs me.

There is no one at the oversize luggage drop off area. I wait a few minutes until someone turns up. Quick check, and my bag moves on a conveyer belt to the sorting area, so I proceed to security control, which takes less than 5 minutes. Having time to spare, I go round the departure area of the airport to take some pictures, which I will use in this trip report.

I stop in front of a display of planned departures and I conclude there is a pretty good selection of flights, especially during winter season, which is always less busy than the summer one. Apart from Warsaw, there are flights to Moscow, Paris, Dubai, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London, Istanbul and Belgrade.

There is still more than 1 hour until the planned boarding time, so I go to a coffee shop located in a rather cosy shopping area. I order coffee with milk for 3.50 EUR - pretty good price for ‘an airport coffee’ - and kill time doing my homework for next week’s German lesson.

The flight LO616 is the first flight today for the 12.5 years old Embraer E175LR aircraft (reg. SP-LII) which as flight L0617 arrived from Warsaw yesterday and spent overnight at the tarmac of Ljubljana Airport.

Around 12:45 boarding is announced at gate A1. After self-scan of the boarding card, my ID is checked and I proceed downstairs as no air bridge was connected to the aircraft, which is parked in front of the terminal building. Only a short walk separates me from the plane. Inside, I proceed to the assigned seat 17A.

Today’s flight is pretty busy and estimated LF is approx. 70%. From my experience flying on this route, the usual LF is between 40-60%. It tends to be higher during summer period and lower during winter season. The connection between Warsaw and Ljubljana has an uneasy fate. During past years it was operated by now-defunct Slovenian airline - Adria Airways and LOT with various frequencies and code share agreements. The initial connection linking the two capitals was temporally suspended by Adria Airways in July 2011 as part of the carrier’s cost-cutting measures. Three years later, in April 2014, Adria resumed flights to Warsaw with three weekly rotations, all codeshared by LOT. Two years later (March 2016) LOT operated a five weekly service in addition to three weekly ones operated by Adria Airways. All of them were codeshared flights as both airlines were part of Star Alliance. Then, Adria increased frequencies to 5 weekly flights in winter and 6 in the summer schedule, but they were later suspended and were not reinstated until the airline’s bankruptcy at the end of September 2019. Since then, LOT is the only airline to offer flights from its hub to Ljubljana.

After a short taxi to the runway, we take off at 13:11. The flight crosses over the Slovenian city of Maribor, Hungarian Győr, Slovakian towns of Nitra and Žilina and Polish places of Żywiec, Kielce and Piaseczno.

During the flight, both complimentary and paid service is offered. To the 'usual savoury set' I buy a 200 ml bottle of Italian prosecco as my end-of-holiday treat at cost of 20 PLN, which is one of the most expensive items in the SkyBar. Examples of other prices from the SkyBar as shown in the in-flight magazine Kaleidoscope: bottle of wine (red or white, 187 ml) - 18 PLN, spirits (50 ml) - 12-18 PLN, non-alcoholic drinks (250 - 330 ml) 10-12 PLN, sweet or savoury snacks between 6-10 PLN.

During the rest of the flight I flip through the in-flight magazine which features an article about Paris and Katowice - a Polish city located in the Silesia region, which transformed from a coal mining city into a dynamic post-industrial one.

After a 77-minute flight, we land at Warsaw Airport at 14:28 - 32 minutes ahead of scheduled arrival. After landing, the aircraft taxis to the remote stand located in the south part of the airport, near a DHL depot.

I travel by bus to the terminal. After a check of my COVID-19 pass, I proceed to belt 1A, where I collect my baggage.

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  1. Anonymous09:14

    Nice report. I'm surprised at how substantial their complimentary service is for such a short flight.

  2. Anonymous09:38

    Looks like a very decent product.

  3. Anonymous09:47

    Thanks for the detailed report! The service looks nice. Overall LOT has great product, they up their game constantly and they have a lot (sic) to offer to the region.
    It was also nice to see Belgrade at the info tables both at WAW and LJU :)

  4. Loved the "executive decision" to change the fkight destination.


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