TRIP REPORT: LOT, Belgrade - Gdansk via Warsaw


Written by Stefan Radaković 


Belgrade (BEG) - Warsaw (WAW)
LO 572
Embraer 190, SP-LME
Departs BEG: 13:55
Arrives WAW: 15:35
Seat: 13C (exit row)
Warsaw (WAW) - Gdańsk (GDN)

LO 3827
Embraer 195
Departs WAW: 22:55
Arrives GDN: 23:55
Seat: 2C

I have been an avid reader of the blog for over 10 years at this point, and it’s my daily 9am habit to read the latest article. After I read the one on September 18th about how Air Serbia said "tough" Wizz Air is its main rival, I left my place in Belgrade to head to Gdańsk for the TRAKO2023 Railway fair.

I booked the flight less than a month in advance when my work plans for September were finalised. The only routing that made sense to me was with LOT. Initially, as I work in the rail industry and am encouraged to take trains, I wanted to solely fly into Warsaw (or even take Air Serbia to Kraków) and then take a high speed train up north. It was, however, cheaper for me to get the connecting flight to Gdańsk which ran me about 230 EUR round trip. There were options with a shorter connecting time, but they were all over 300, and since I am the owner of my company, I did not approve that expense.

Flying out of Belgrade always has two frustrations for me. One of them is the awful connectivity to public transport. I usually come in by the 860I bus which only stops at the freight terminal, linking the city centre to the airport via the highway, without paying the premium fare like on the A1, but today it didn’t quite follow its schedule, so I got to the airport on the 607. And the other thing is that many airlines (incl. LOT) don’t offer mobile boarding passes, so I had to wait in a long check-in queue, just to get my boarding pass. On the bright hand, my partner got me an OTP platinum card tied to his account, so I can enjoy the business lounge for free, even when I’m in economy.

The fact that the lounge serves cold pizza which they ordered from somewhere is the vibe of not giving a flying flamingo, I am striving for.

LO 572 being called at gate A4 (the most practical gate for us lounge goers). What bugs me is that Belgrade Airport staff have this tendency of putting a flight on last call BEFORE they have even boarded a single passenger...

SP-LME at gate A4

I haven't flown with LOT since 2015 (PRG-WAW and back), and I didn’t look into their product beforehand. During the check-in process I was ecstatic that I could choose my seat for free from the remaining options, and that I could choose an extra legroom seat by the emergency exit.

I was greeted on the plane by the friendly crew, handed a packaged wet wipe and made my way to the seat. I would say that the LF was near to 100% because looking around, I couldn’t really spot any free seats. Some people in suits were headed to the same event as me, I was simply wearing a tshirt, because I didn’t feel the need to be pretentious in economy.

Sanitzing wipe you get while boarding the plane

Decent legroom in 13C (exit row)

The flight was delayed by 20 minutes, we took off and had a quiet journey towards Warsaw. In line with my industry, I was reading a book by Ranka Gašić on the railway development in the city of Belgrade from 1884 until today.

During the flight, economy passengers could choose between a tomato and a blueberry bun, coffee or tea, and still or sparkling water. For someone who flies Lufthansa and Austrian a lot, it was nice to see how low my standards have dropped to be genuinely excited about getting something more than a glass of water and 10g of chocolate. Also, the bun was not only edible, but tasty too, 10/10 from me.

After landing in Warsaw, I switched out my SIM cards to plan my layover in Warsaw (mostly to find a café to work from, and maybe take a walk).

SP-LME after disembarking at WAW

Warsaw Chopin Airport is quite decent in size, and fairly well organised. If I may whine about my first world problems, the only thing was the time it takes to pass passport control, because Polish automated kiosks scan the fingerprint of their citizens and a lot of seniors were really struggling with getting the machine to work. Since I left my Serbian passport at home, I couldn’t go to the (quicker) all passports line, and the guard at security was very strict about everyone being in the right line. (Which was odd for me, but okay, I wasn’t in a rush anyway).

Quick tip for anyone going into the city: There is a train that runs every hour, but it’s only about 10 minutes faster than bus 175 which runs every 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the time of day. Don’t bother with the train.

Enjoying the sunset by the river in Warsaw

Enjoying the skyline before going back to Chopin Airport

After I got back to the airport to catch my fully booked flight to Gdańsk, I was met with zero lines at security (and obviously didn’t have to pass through passport control again) and just waited out the rest of my layover. On this flight there were even more rail professionals who didn’t take the train to discuss how we’re going to make people take trains (yes I am fully aware of the irony in that).

SP-LND during boarding at WAW

On domestic flights only the blueberry bun is offered with a choice between still and sparkling water. Which I found to be more than enough for a flight of about 40 minutes in the air.

Gdansk Airport building (to the right) and the train station right across from it

After landing in Gdańsk, I was surprised to find a very sizeable and modern airport for a city of only 500.000 people, which I later realised is an important hub for the tri-city area of Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia. The mingling crowd in front of the terminal was a mix of businesspeople coming from the LOT flight and holidaymakers who arrived on Ryanair, Wizz Air and even a Pegasus flight.

I wanted to try the rail-link that could take me to the city, but as the last train for the day had left about an hour prior, I decided to take a taxi into the city. It was surprising to me that Poland has really cheap taxi fares. The 17km journey to my accommodation was about 20 EUR (Bolt and Uber were more expensive because of dynamic pricing pushing the fares up whenever a flight full of business travellers lands). On the way back I managed to get a Bolt for less than 12 EUR.

All in all my experience with LOT went very well. I flew the same routing back to Belgrade, also with an eight hour layover in Warsaw, and the quality remained the same. The staff was generally very friendly (I did speak only Polish to them, so I do not know what they’re like in English), and I am still in awe over the fact that I can count on tea and a snack. Given that this was the second time this year I was asked to go to Gdańsk for work, I’m definitely remembering LOT as my airline of choice for next time. Until Serbia gets a decent rail link with the rest of Europe…

P.S.: Here’s a few photos of Gdańsk, because in my opinion, it’s still very much underrated in Ex-Yu as a travel destination:

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  1. Anonymous09:11

    Amazing report, wonder how many of us have a habit of reading the blog at 09am haha

    1. Anonymous09:17

      Me too ahahah ! ;)

  2. Anonymous09:46

    I usually get up later than 9am and reading the blog while having my morning coffee. Funny how planes are now cheaper than the highspeed trains nowdays. Back in 2016 I took Air Serbia to WAW and then the highspeed train to Gdansk. Back then, it was the cheapest option. Most expensive was connecting in WAW to LOT, so that is why we took the train. The other option back then was LH with an overnight stay in MUC. Gdansk is definitely worth visiting, the old port looks amazing. In January it was postcard perfect with freezing temperatures and christmas decorations still on.

  3. Anonymous10:02

    Thank you for a very nice review.

    The buns change from time to time, so that frequent travellers do not get bored.

    Construction of the new Warszawa Zachodnia (Warsaw West) station very much limits capacity of local trains going to the city center, including from the airport. Travelling by train to/from Warsaw will be a nightmare for the next couple of years as reconstruction of Warszawa Wschodnia (Warsaw East) station and of the rail tunnel under central Warsaw looms closer and closer.

    But hopefully we may see more direct air links with Serbia and the ex-Yu in general.

    The fun fact about airports in Poland is that the biggest two are congested: Warsaw (WAW) and even more Krakow (KRK). WAW expansion makes no sense because of the plans to build a new airport and KRK is stuck over the issue of environmental permit to build a new runway. Still the remainder of the airports (with the exception of SZZ) are owned by local self-government and are way too overscaled due to local ambitions. GDN which is airport number 3. in Poland had just 2,6 mln passengers during 1H2023, but its terminal 2 has an area of 69 thousend m2. A nearby Gdynia (QYD) built itself a modern airport terminal just 25 km from GDN but it has no scheduled flights and is operating only as general aviation. What a waste of public money to have that built.

  4. Anonymous10:21

    Lovely report. Interesting architecture in Gdańsk. Does remind me a bit of Amsterdam.

  5. I am impessed you speak Polish. How you have learned it ?

    1. I'm a native speaker of Czech, so I understand it without any issue and know basic phrases to talk to the flight crew without needing to aid myself with English

  6. Anonymous11:45

    Gdańsk is quite a beautiful city. Flew there in the summer of 2012 with Lot. At that time the ticket was really cheap, less than 150€ if I remember well. The food was just some wafer and I also had long layovers. The first was great as a friend picked me up to take me to the centre of Warsaw, the second was in the morning and just spent it at the airport. It is a city I’d like to visit again and for sure it is undeserved underrated here. Also at the same time had a visit to both Sopot and Gdynia. Wish you will have to visit it again and have a great time there.

  7. Anonymous12:37

    Great report. Many thanks!

    I fully agree with you conclusions.
    I love their blueberry bun. Always tasty.

    We are indeed so used to the lower standards by LH and the likes, that the bun feels even better.

    In my opinion, LOT and Aegean are the best of legacy airlines in Europe (leaving TK aside, it’s a different league).

    1. Anonymous15:09

      Couldn't agree more with you. Professional behaviour towards their passengers and standard service. All others are mixture of low cost behaviour and service with high fairs. Depending on the company the mixture goes higher on the left or right side

    2. Anonymous21:58

      Well TK is not in Europe to start with.

  8. Anonymous13:43

    I love the LOT Embraers and Gdansk! Not only a beautiful city in itself but so much to do around as well.

  9. Anonymous21:57

    "What bugs me is that Belgrade Airport staff have this tendency of putting a flight on last call BEFORE they have even boarded a single passenger..." - Totally stupid.

  10. Anonymous16:31

    You mentioned you used OTP bank card to get into the lounge. Don't forget you only have 6 entries per year
    After that they start charging you for it. With Raiffaisen Premium you get an infinite number of entries.

    1. Would you mind pointing me to the part of the website or terms where that is stated? I could not find the limit anywhere in the policy.


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