Review: LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class Warsaw to Zurich (Boeing 737 MAX)

In this review, we will take a LOT Polish Airlines flight in economy class on the Boeing 737 MAX from Warsaw (WAW) to Zurich (ZRH).

Warsaw Airport

After a good night sleep at the Four Points by Sheraton Warsaw Mokotow and a short 10-minute Uber ride I found myself back at Warsaw Chopin Airport for the continuation of my trip.

Today I would fly with LOT Polish Airlines from Warsaw to Zurich on the Boeing 737 MAX – my first ever flight on this particular aircraft.

Although I was flying in economy class, I could use the business class check-in counters courtesy of my Star Alliance Gold status. As there were no lines whatsoever, check-in was a breeze.

It was also quiet at the fast track security control line, which you can find towards the right-hand side of the terminal when you stand with your back towards the entrance.

Given that the entire process took a lot shorter than I was expecting, I was airside within minutes after my arrival at the airport and still had quite some time to kill before boarding started.

The LOT Polish Airlines Business Lounge (called the Polonez Lounge on airport signs) is fortunately a decent place to await your flight and drink a coffee or two.

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A model of a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner at the LOT Polish Airlines business class check-in desks at Warsaw Airport. ©Paliparan
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Drinking a coffee in the LOT Polish Airlines business lounge. ©Paliparan

Boarding

Boarding started on-time with business class passengers as well as Star Alliance Gold members being called forward. The usual crowds at the gate were completely lacking this time around.

In fact, when boarding commenced there were only a handful of people getting up from the seating areas around the gate as today’s flight to Zurich turned out to be rather empty.

Although a LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX was parked at gate 39 right next to our departure gate 38, it wasn’t the plane for our flight to Zurich.

Instead, we had to walk to the end of the jet bridge where we were led down the stairs towards a waiting bus.

Although I hate bus gates, it at least gives you the opportunity to take a proper picture of the aeroplane you fly when you board by stairs. Given that the flight load was extremely low today, even the bus ride to the plane on a half-empty bus wasn’t too bad.

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The boarding gate for my flight to Zurich. ©Paliparan
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Another LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX at one of the jet bridges of Warsaw Airport. ©Paliparan
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The LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 which would take us to Zurich today. ©Paliparan
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LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8. ©Paliparan

Warsaw (WAW) to Zurich (ZRH) on LOT Polish Airlines
Flight LO411
– Boeing 737 MAX 8 – Economy class, seat 6F
Plane registration number: SP-LVC
Departure: 7.50am – Arrival: 9.55am
Flight time: 2h05m – Distance: 642 miles
Costs: 134 EUR for OTP-WAW-ZRH

warsaw zurich flight
It takes around 2 hours to fly between Warsaw and Zurich. ©Great Circle Mapper

LOT Boeing 737 MAX cabin

My first impressions of the LOT Boeing 737 MAX were good as the cabin certainly looked sleek. It features Boeing’s Sky Interior concept with special lighting and extremely large overhead luggage bins.

The LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX has 186 seats in total. Usually, the first five rows are used for business class, although the divider separating business class from economy can be moved forward or backwards across the cabin according to demand.

Seats are the same modern slimline seats whether you fly business or economy class. The sole difference is that in business class the middle seat will remain guaranteed empty, giving you a bit more personal space.

There is also a slight difference when it comes to the seat pitch. The seats in the first 5 rows (business class) of the LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX have a seat pitch of 34 inches, while seats in row 5 to 7 have a seat pitch of 32 inches and all other rows just 30 inches.

Seat assignment is free when LOT opens its online check-in at exactly 24 hours before the departure of your flight, so if you can it makes sense to assign yourself a seat in row 5, 6 or 7 as an economy class passenger so you can benefit from a bit more legroom and faster disembarkation at your destination.

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The cabin interior of the LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX. Normally, the first five rows are used for business class. ©Paliparan
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The cabin of the LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX as seen from the back of the plane. ©Paliparan

LOT Boeing 737 MAX seat

On my flight to Zurich I had managed to assign myself seat 6F in the first row of economy class. The flight load was surprisingly light today as I didn’t count more than 20 or so other passengers on our flight, meaning that just 10 percent of all seats were taken.

All other seats in row 6 remained empty, so fortunately I had quite some space to stretch out.

That was certainly some good news as I found the seats on the LOT Boeing 737 MAX to be rather hard and uncomfortable. The amount of legroom and shoulder room were limited as well and I can only imagine that on a full flight it wouldn’t be a very pleasant experience.

When it comes to comfort, the LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX was quite a disappointment, especially when you compare it with LOT’s Embraer aircraft which in my opinion are some of the most comfortable and spacious planes found in the skies above Europe.

Another, more minor complaint, is that the tray tables are very small. On the plus side, each seat on the LOT Boeing 737 MAX is equipped with a power socket and USB charging port, as well as individual air nozzles.

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Economy class seats on the LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX. These slimline seats have little padding and are unfortunately rather tight. ©Paliparan
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Seats on the Boeing 737 MAX. ©Paliparan
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The divider separating business class from economy class. ©Paliparan
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The tray table on the LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX is rather small. ©Paliparan

Departure

Given the light flight load, boarding was completed in minutes. Even though I’m normally a confident flyer and I do trust the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX, I have to admit that the plane’s shaky history did jump up in my mind when we rolled across the apron towards the runway.

After all, this Boeing 737 MAX is of course the same plane as the ones which operated Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, both of which crashed killing 346 people in total.

The two crashes resulted in each and every Boeing 737 MAX around the globe being grounded after structural flaws in the plane’s design were uncovered.

In the end, Boeing redesigned the on-board systems and flight training procedures which were blamed as the reasons behind the crashes. The Boeing 737 MAX was recertified by American and European aviation bodies and was finally allowed into the skies again, so far without any further incidents.

As our plane accelerated down the runway I decided to forget about all of these past problems and to simply enjoy the flight. There were some beautiful views over the Warsaw skyline just after take-off from Chopin Airport.

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Take-off from Warsaw Chopin Airport. ©Paliparan
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The Warsaw skyline as seen from the plane window. ©Paliparan
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Breaking through the clouds. ©Paliparan

In-flight service

Just like on my previous LOT Polish Airlines between Bucharest and Warsaw, a complimentary snack was served on board, with each passenger being given the choice between something sweet or savoury.

I again opted for the sweet option, which I knew would be the same tasty apple pastry which LOT has been serving for the last two years on their intra-European flights.

On LOT Polish Airlines’ short and mid-haul flights within Europe you also get a free bottle of water (still or sparkling) during the flight as an economy class passenger.

Besides the complimentary snack and bottled water, you can also opt for some food or (alcoholic) drinks from the buy-on-board menu.

Generally speaking, I really like the LOT Polish Airlines economy class product as it strikes a great balance between serving something which passengers appreciate and a cost-effective, fast and streamlined in-flight service.

Service by the LOT Polish Airlines flight attendants on the flight from Zurich to Warsaw was friendly and done with a smile.

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A complimentary snack and bottled water is served in economy class on each intra-European LOT Polish Airlines flight. ©Paliparan

Landing

As we were flying over the German city of Stuttgart, the fasten seatbelt signs went on and the captain announced the start of our descent towards Zurich Airport.

It turned out to be one of the prettiest of all arrivals this year in terms of views. As the weather was sunny and visibility great, there were some lovely views from the window over the rolling Swiss hills around Zurich and the mountains of the Alps in the far distance.

I’ll let the pictures below do the talking!

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Flying high above Germany. ©Paliparan
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In the airspace above Stuttgart we started out descent towards Zurich. ©Paliparan
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Stuttgart Airport as seen from the sky. ©Paliparan
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Rolling hills and fields in the Swiss-German border area. ©Paliparan
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The large windows on the Boeing 737 MAX made for some good photos. ©Paliparan
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The weather and visibility was great this day. ©Paliparan
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The large CFM LEAP-1B engine on the Boeing 737 Max 8. ©Paliparan
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Descending towards Zurich Airport. ©Paliparan
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The River Rhine marks the German-Swiss border here. In the distance, you can see the Leibstadt nuclear power plant. ©Paliparan
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The snow-capped Alps are showing themselves as well in the far distance. ©Paliparan
zurich descent landing
I was glued to the window during the entire descent. ©Paliparan
zurich final descent
Final descent towards Zurich. ©Paliparan
zurich landing view
Final descent towards Zurich. ©Paliparan
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The colours of the fields and forests, the clear blue skies, the Alps as backdrop – it was simply a gorgeous day to land at Zurich Airport. ©Paliparan
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Zurich Airport landing view. ©Paliparan
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Zurich Airport landing view. ©Paliparan
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Touchdown at Zurich Airport. ©Paliparan

Arrival

We landed at Zurich Airport a couple of minutes before our scheduled arrival time. The airport still seemed to be a bit deserted compared to normal pre-corona times judging by both the number of aircraft parked at the gates and the amount of other passengers in the terminal.

Upon disembarkation, some Swiss police officers were waiting right at the aircraft door inside the jet bridge for a PCR test check (at the time of my flight in early May, just a negative PCR test was required to enter Switzerland by air).

After a cursory look at my documents, I was allowed through and made my way through the empty airport corridors to the railway station for the short ride to Zurich’s city centre.

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Zurich Airport. ©Paliparan
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A Swiss and an Air Canada plane at Zurich Airport. ©Paliparan
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A Swiss Airbus A321 at Zurich Airport. ©Paliparan
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Swiss aeroplanes at Zurich Airport. ©Paliparan

Conclusion

My LOT Polish Airlines flight on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 left me with mixed impressions.

Personally, I don’t think the seats on the LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX are very comfortable. In fact, seats are rather narrow and the lack of padding makes them hard and uncomfortable to sit in. Given that I had an entire row to myself that is quite telling – as I would likely have an even worse impression if the plane was full.

However, the cabin of the Boeing 737 MAX did look nice and sleek and I like the fact that each seat has a power socket and USB charging port, even though the tray tables are a bit small to properly work on with your laptop or some paperwork.

Service on the flight was great and I do appreciate the free snack and drink you get in economy class on LOT Polish Airlines. Moreover, the amazing arrival views made this flight to Zurich one of the more special ones I took this year.

LOT Polish Airlines certainly has an all-round great economy class product and runs a smooth operation from its home base of Warsaw Airport, which is an easy and likeable enough airport to connect.

Although I would certainly recommend flying LOT Polish Airlines and will continue to seek them out in the future, I would do my best to avoid flights on their Boeing 737 MAX given that the experience on one of their Embraer aircraft is so much better.

If you do plan on taking LOT Polish Airlines flights, check which plane will operate your flight and if you have a choice of different departures, take one of the Embraer flights instead of the Boeing 737 MAX!

Trip report index

This article is part of the ‘Across Europe by Train: Interrail in the Age of Corona‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Review: LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class Bucharest to Warsaw (Embraer ERJ-175)
2. Walking Through an Empty Warsaw in Corona Lockdown
3. Review: Four Points by Sheraton Warsaw Mokotow
4. Review: LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class (Boeing 737 MAX) Warsaw to Zurich (current chapter)
5. A Zurich Stopover
6. Review: Railjet Train Zurich to Feldkirch
7. An Evening in Feldkirch
8. Review: Nightjet Train Feldkirch to Graz
9. Graz, Austria
10. Graz to Zagreb by Train
11. Flying With Trade Air on a Let L-410 Turbolet Across Croatia

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.

One thought on “Review: LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class Warsaw to Zurich (Boeing 737 MAX)

  • November 17, 2021 at 4:21 pm
    Permalink

    As ever, another great review Koen and the most comprehensive and unbiased one I’ve read on the Max. Your comments about the uncomfortable seats match what anyone else seems to be saying about the LOT Max and in the pic, the seat cushion also looks particularly short so little or no leg support I guess.

    I will continue to avoid this plane as I remain to be convinced it is safe and I think it’s only a software failure away from the next crash. You are a braver man than me.

    Reply

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