Poland to Open Borders for EU Tourists, Resume Flight Traffic

Poland is yet the latest country to open its borders again for tourists from other EU countries and will finally give the green light for the resumption of flights.

Shut-down air traffic

Poland closed its borders and even shut down all air traffic to Polish airports with the exception of repatriation flights and the transport of goods and medical supplies after the outbreak of the corona (COVID-19) pandemic.

With 28,201 confirmed cases and 1,215 deaths on a population of just under 38 million people, Poland has handled the crisis fairly well.

gdansk poland open borders
The Long Market in the old town of Gdansk. ©Paliparan

Relaxation

With the corona virus seemingly being under control, the Polish government has now decided to relax some of the measures introduced to halt the outbreak.

From tomorrow (Saturday) on, the Polish borders will again be opened for all EU citizens and residents. Next Tuesday (16th June) will see air traffic finally being resumed from the country’s airports.

Poland follows in the steps of other EU countries such as the Baltic States and Greece which recently announced similar measures.

intercontinental warsaw poland swimming pool
The top-floor swimming pool of the Intercontinental Hotel in Warsaw, Poland. ©Paliparan

Non-EU citizens

Those coming from countries outside of the European Union and Schengen Area will however not yet be able to visit Poland for tourism.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that “In some countries [..] this pandemic is still behaving in a very disturbing way.”

It is therefore not yet sure when for example Americans and Canadians can come over to visit Poland, as there is also still the open question as to whether EU authorities will recommend the reopening of the block’s external borders.

In normal times, a large share of visitors from the United States and Canada visit Poland each summer, as both countries are host to large Polish communities.

warsaw old town poland open borders
The old town of Warsaw. ©Paliparan

LOT

LOT Polish Airlines was one of the airlines which was forced to temporarily shut down its operations. Although domestic flight traffic has been resumed, the airline currently still lists all international flights scheduled until June 30th as cancelled.

It is not yet known when LOT plans to restore (part of) its network within Europe, let alone its flights to North America and Asia.

I’m one of the people who has unfortunately been affected by a cancelled LOT flight, although I have nothing but good things to say about the LOT rebooking policy and how the airline has handled the crisis.

lot polish airlines 787 dreamliner
A LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner. ©Paliparan

Discount

As I decided to reschedule my flight instead of demanding a refund, the airline issued a 30 percent discount voucher which I can use on any future flight booking in the next year. On a 1,000 EUR business class flight (a price which is not uncommon on some Europe-Warsaw-Asia routes) that could be a saving of a whopping 300 euro!

This is a win-win situation for both me and the airline as it is an incentive for people to reschedule their flights instead of asking a refund, which in turns protect the current cash flow of LOT and creates a lot of goodwill with their customers.

Given that a lot of airlines currently go through a deep financial crisis because they suddenly need to pay back a lot of cancelled flights, I’m quite surprised that not more airlines have followed with similar incentives.

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Koen

Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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