The international phonetic alphabet was introduced specifically to be able to have a written representation of what a word sounds like, irrespective of the rules of orthography that abide in the language.
Which is, of course, a good thing because I’m on my way to Poland this evening to give a course, and the Poles seem to have quite an unhealthy obsession with impossible to pronounce consonant clusters.
I mention this here, because today I’m on my way to Rzeszow. And in case you’re wondering, it should be pronounced something like /ʒɛʃuf/ in the IPA, which sounds similar to ‘jeshoof’...
Getting to the Airport
I was intending to take the 17h07 train from Basel to Zürich. But that service is operated by a German ICE train that originates in Germany. And of course it’s been cancelled…
So instead I’m on the 16:43 service, which stops in Liestal, Sissach, Aarau and Lenzburg on the way. The journey is ten minutes longer than on the nonstop train.
In Zürich I change trains to the 18h05 for the airport. As my luck would have it, second class rolling stock is currently in short supply, apparently, which is why the train consists of plush, comfortable first class carriages operating as second class carriages.
LOT is located in check-in 2 at Zürich airport and uses row 5, which is conveniently located on the mezzanine level, just as you come off the foot bridge connecting the shopping mall to the terminal. AAS is LOT’s handling agent.
By the time I change some Polish money and make my way through security, it’s 18h30. My flight should start boarding at 19h25. The lines for security are very light. And there are just three people ahead of me.
And the two lines open for Business Class passengers are deserted. So I ask one of the employees milling about if I could also use one of those two lines, considering they’re empty. To which she gives me her best disapproving look, or maybe she’s just constipated, and tells me that if I’m in that much of a hurry, I may use one of the empty lines.
This is just about the dumbest thing I’ve heard in a long time. I don’t know in what parallel universe there is anybody who greatly enjoys queueing for security at airports…
My flight is departing from A86. The departure time comes and goes, but the gate staff are too busy bitching about what a sad airline LOT is to even bother making an announcement.
Eventually, boarding starts about 15 minutes behind schedule.
My first impression of the cabin is very good. I think this aircraft is either new or recently had a new cabin fitted. Seats are in a soft, beige coloured leather and the seat pitch on 3A is excellent.
What I don’t understand though, is that my seat on 3A is in front of the cabin divider, even though I’m travelling on a Premium Economy Class ticket. And the seat next to me is empty, although I don’t know if this is intentional or just that the flight is not entirely full.
By way of a welcome, passengers up front are handed a chocolate biscuit, but no drink.
The flight time is one hour and 35 minutes.
Once the meal service begins, the small differences between Premium Economy and Business Class start to become clear. But they seem fairly minor to me. Rows 1 and 2 have proper linen table cloths, whereas row 3 does not. Furthermore, my meal is served on reusable plastic, and not on proper porcelain.
The meal consists of two dishes. One is a pasta salad, and the other is cold beef with cucumber and a cream cheese.
Bread is offered with the meal. And there is also a small chocolate on the tray.
To drink I have sparkling water, and after the meal some tea. The meal concludes with a chocolate wafer.
All in all, I think the food is rather good and the meal tasty. But the service seems unnecessarily rushed. By the time the crew come through with the second bread service, I haven’t even started on the first piece. They don’t smile much either!
Having said that, once my tray is removed, one of the cabin crew brings me a pillow and blanket, without me even asking for them. The interesting thing about the crew is that they do everything right, because they’ve obviously been trained to do it. But they do it with absolutely no warmth or presonality.
Transfer in Warsaw
Eventually we land at 21h36, 14 minutes ahead of schedule. The terminal is surprisingly busy at this time of night and traffic seems to have picked up quite a bit since my last visit. My flight to Rzeszów will start boarding at 22h10.
This was my first flight with LOT and to be honest, I’d been expecting much, much worse. But so far so good…