Some people enjoy flying with the same few airlines time and time again. And then there are travellers like me, who’ll jump at just about any opportunity to try something new. It’s that curiosity that finds me aboard what will be my 66th airline: LOT Polish Airlines, in Embraer E195 Economy.

Today’s journey is jetting me from Oslo to Warsaw. Armed with KrisFlyer miles to spend, I could have booked SAS on this route. But I’ve flown with them before, and I’m curious for a new experience. And oh, would you look at that, only LOT has reward seats available on the day I need to fly. What a shame, ahem! I quickly snap one up.

Check-in and boarding

I arrive for my flight nice and early, but find that check-in isn’t open at the usual three hours prior. Because it’s only a small plane – and Warsaw is LOT’s only destination from Oslo – check-in doesn’t open until two hours before departure. Oh well, I’d rather be an hour early than an hour late.

Once things start moving, I have my bag tagged and accepted within about 15 minutes. The formalities after that are stress-free and don’t take long either. Even though I’m taking an international flight, there’s no border check today. That’s because Norway and Poland both belong to the Schengen Area. Flying between them is practically like taking a domestic flight.

Boarding for this journey in LOT Polish Airlines Embraer E195 Economy Class starts right on time. Even though I don’t qualify for priority boarding this time, standing near the gate allows me to still be among the first on board. (When you’re writing about a flight, this makes it easier to take photos.)

Lounge options in Oslo

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. On its own, a ticket in LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class doesn’t include lounge access with the fare – whether flying on the E195 or any other plane. But this is where your frequent flyer status, credit card or lounge membership can come in handy instead.

LOT Polish Airlines is a member of Star Alliance. Those with a Star Alliance Gold card can enjoy access to the SAS Gold Lounge here in Oslo. Don’t forget, you may be able to fast-track your way to Star Alliance Gold courtesy of the HSBC Star Alliance Credit Card.

Alternatively, there’s an independent lounge available: OSL Lounge. Access can be purchased at the door for 400 NOK (~AU$57) for up to three hours. Priority Pass isn’t accepted here, but you may qualify for access through another channel. DragonPass and Lounge Pass are accepted here, as is LoungeKey, but only for members with cards through specific banks. This doesn’t include cardholders from Australian banks.

But there’s another workaround. American Express Platinum Card, Platinum Business Card and Centurion Card Members can enter at no charge. This was a happy find for me on the Oslo Airport website because this lounge doesn’t appear in Amex’s own lounge directory. But with a quick flash of my boarding pass and an eligible Amex card, I’m in.

As for the OSL Lounge, I find a quiet corner to plug in and get some work done. After a quick refreshment and a bite to eat, it’s time to venture to the gate. Naturally, as it’s unrelated to the direct Economy flight experience, these lounge options don’t contribute to our overall rating.

LOT Polish Airlines Embraer E195 Economy Class seating

A great thing about flying on the Embraer E195 is that Economy Class has no middle seats – and LOT Polish Airlines is no exception. It’s my first time flying to Poland, so a window seat is my natural pick.

The legroom is more than ample. My knees aren’t close to touching the seat in front: and I’m only sitting in a standard row. That’s true even when I’ve loaded up the seat pocket with goodies, including a bulky bottle of water. There’s also a typical tray table – handy for balancing a laptop (or your inflight snack).

I always appreciate it when airlines choose to have individual air vents for passengers. When buying or refitting an aircraft, these present an added cost to the airline – and a slightly noisier cabin. But they’re great for personal comfort. And on LOT, there’s an adjustable air vent above every seat.

Comfort-wise, the seat is perfectly comfortable for this two-hour flight. The only downside is that the headrest isn’t adjustable. But then again, on a relatively short flight like this, it’s less of an issue than on a long international flight. Be aware though, there are no charging ports here either. That’s where it’s handy to have lounge access to charge up before the flight.

Food and beverage in LOT Polish Airlines Embraer E195 Economy Class

My flight today leaves Oslo at around 11 am and arrives in Warsaw just before 1 pm, right in the middle of lunchtime. I’m pleased to report that even in Economy Class on the Embraer E195, LOT Polish Airlines serves complimentary refreshments.

I’ve had a busy week of travel already, so a white coffee is a welcome pick-me-up. There’s also a choice of a bread snack. I opt for the spinach bun – it’s simple, filling and quite tasty.

Refreshment in LOT Polish Airlines Embraer E195 Economy Class
The snacks on LOT are a little more substantial than a typical bag of pretzels.

Water is also available, and given I’m sitting near the front, I’m offered a second round of snacks as there are some left over. I’m planning on a more substantial lunch when we land in Warsaw, so I leave the extras for those who are more peckish.

Inflight entertainment and service

On the entertainment front, there are no TV screens aboard LOT’s Embraer E195s – in Economy or Business Class. There’s also no streaming entertainment or inflight Wi-Fi access. This is where content pre-downloaded on your own device comes in handy.

But you’re not entirely on your own to pass the time. As an Economy Class passenger, you can download one complimentary magazine or newspaper through LOT’s digital press portal. By the time you’ve read through your choice and enjoyed the inflight snack, it’ll be close to landing time, and the flight’s done.

I spend much of the flight working on my laptop but don’t hesitate to pause and enjoy the views coming into Warsaw. There’s not much to look at when you’re above the clouds, but descent offers some striking views as we get closer to the city.

Window seat view in LOT Polish Airlines Embraer E195 Economy Class
Choose a window seat. Even if you need to get up, there’s only one other passenger to get past.

Service on today’s flight is friendly and prompt. Crew speak English, too, so there’s no worry if you’re not fluent in Polish or Norwegian. Announcements and boarding calls are also made in English, among the other languages. For that matter, staff speak English at check-in, security screening and in the lounge, too. It’s easy.

The verdict

In general, I try to book my flights using points or miles wherever I can, and this hop in LOT Polish Airlines’ Embraer E195 Economy is no exception. I secure my seat on this two-hour flight for just 14,000 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles. That’s possible because Singapore Airlines is one of LOT’s Star Alliance partners. I can even search for availability and book online through the Singapore Airlines website.

Sometimes, Economy Class flights within Europe aren’t worth booking using miles because the carrier charges can be high (Lufthansa, cough!). But in this case, the credit card payment alongside the miles is a mere 199 NOK. That’s about AU$28. For an international flight inclusive of checked baggage and a snack, I’m quite happy with the value prospect here.

Given KrisFlyer’s hard expiry policy, it was also a good chance to use up some of my KrisFlyer miles. I was still a few thousand miles short of what I needed, but making a quick points conversion from Velocity direct to KrisFlyer got me sorted. These transfers are generally processed instantly. This meant I could find a suitable reward seat, convert only the miles I would need to spend, and pounce on the ticket.

As for the LOT experience, the journey is perfectly pleasant. If LOT were an option on a route I needed to fly, I wouldn’t hesitate to book with LOT again. And from airports like Oslo, where there are ways of getting into a lounge, the prospect is even more appealing.

It’s times like this when you really appreciate being able to convert Velocity Points into KrisFlyer miles. Velocity Points alone may be able to get you to Europe. But for flights within Europe, it’s a handy move to keep in your back pocket.

Also reviewed: British Airways Airbus A320neo Economy (London – Amsterdam)

Photography by Chris Chamberlin, who travelled at his own expense using KrisFlyer miles.

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LOT Polish Airlines Embraer E195 Economy Class (Oslo – Warsaw) was last modified: March 27th, 2024 by Chris Chamberlin