LOT Polish Airlines To Offer Non-Stop Service To Chicago

LOT Polish Airlines

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I’m already on record as saying that I think we’re going top have some great Business Class fare sales between Europe and the US next summer thanks to the significant increase in capacity we’ve seen and now things look like they’re going to be even better.

One of the airlines that has recently been at the centre of adding new routes (and therefore capacity) between Europe and the US, LOT Polish Airlines, has announced that it will be adding a new non-stop service between Kraków and Chicago from July 2017.

No schedule has yet been released (I’ll update this post when that news is public) although the airline has confirmed that the service will run just once a week and will be operated by one of the two new Boeing 787-800 Dreamliners that the airline is expected to receive next year.

The LOT 787-8 Dreamliner

LOT’s new 787-800 seats up to 252 passengers and offers 3 distinct cabins of service – Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy.

First the good news.

LOT’s Dreamliners have been fitted with a new-style Business Class seat which, despite not offering offer all-aisle-access, does offer perfectly acceptable lie-flat seats with a good amount of space.

lot-787-business-class-seat-mapLOT 787-8 Business Class seat map

lot-business-class-787-8-dreamliner-2LOT 787 Business Class

lot-business-class-787-8-dreamliner-1LOT 787 Business Class

There’s more good news when it comes to the airline’s Premium Economy cabin where passengers are given 19.5″ wide seats and a seat pitch of 38″.

That compares pretty favorably with the Premium Economy cabin in Virgin Atlantic’s 787-900 aircraft where the only difference is that Virgin offers 1″ more seat width.

lot-premium-economy-class-787-8-dreamliner-1LOT 787 Premium Economy Class

lot-premium-economy-class-787-8-dreamliner-2LOT 787 Premium Economy Class

Unfortunately the good news ends at the Premium Economy cabin because, like so many other airlines, LOT has really screwed up the Economy Class cabin.

This is a cabin that I genuinely have little interest in ever experiencing.

Just like a lot of other airlines LOT has crammed in 9 seats across its 787-8 Dreamliner cabin……

lot-787-economy-premium-economy-seat-map

 

…..and that means that the airline offers under 17″ of seat width in its Economy Class cabin and that’s unacceptable.

Have you seen how much deep-dish pizza they eat in Chicago and have you seen how much kielbasa they eat in Poland? There are going to be a lot of larger travelers booking this flight and this cabin is no place for them to be.

How on earth does LOT expect its Economy Class passengers to have even a modicum of comfort when they’re squeezing them in that tight across the aircraft? There’s no room at the waist and, even for those not challenged by middle age spread, there will be absolutely no room at shoulder level either.

It’s not as if the news gets any better when it comes to leg room either.

The airline has squeezed in 213 Economy Class seats into the cabin and that has left the seat pitch at just 31″. Sure, that’s not as bad as the abysmal transatlantic offering from Air Canada Rouge but it’s still very compact.

If you look a the pictures the Economy Class cabin looks harmless enough….

lot-economy-class-787-8-dreamliner-2LOT 787 Economy Class

lot-economy-class-787-8-dreamliner-1LOT 787 Economy Class

….. but if you take a look at the figures you’ll see how cramped this cabin really is.

Bottom Line

I’m delighted to see another route between Europe and the US because it means airlines will have even more seats to fill and that should help to keep downward pressure on fares.

It’s also nice for travelers to have another option when flying into Europe…especially an option that isn’t simply doubling up on an option we already have. With Chicago being a city with the largest population of Poles outside of Warsaw this new flight to Kraków should prove pretty popular with Chicagoans wanting to visit their ancestral home…and Kraków is a great city to visit.

It’s hard, however, to avoid the negative side to this announcement and that’s the horribly cramped Economy Class cabin that the LOT 787-800 offers. I genuinely wouldn’t fly in that cabin unless my life depended on it and I pity any adult who has to try it out.

I get that flying non-stop has a broad appeal amongst travelers but, in this case, there’s a very strong argument for breaking up the journey  and booking with airlines whose Economy Class cabins aren’t quite so comparable to a veal crate.