On December 4th 2017, aviation history was made, LOT Polish Airlines flew their brand spanking new 737MAX for the first time with paying passengers, only 2 days after delivery. It was also the very first time for a 737MAX to visit London Heathrow. I could not miss such an important event, so I booked a seat.
In 2012, LOT were the very first airline to operate the 787 Dreamliner, the most advanced twin isle long haul jet, in Europe. Now in 2017, LOT are the first airline to operate the 737MAX8 in Eastern Europe. The new 737 MAX will fill LOT’s short and medium haul flights out of their hub in Warsaw Chopin Airport, operating the morning and afternoon flights to Heathrow to begin with. It will then help to expand their route network as they receive a further 8 orders of the 4th Generation 737 from Air Lease Corporation, with all MAXs delivered by May 2019. The 737 MAX is a new iteration of the hugely successful 737 narrow aisle jet, now more economical and efficient than any other aircraft in its class. It also brings new levels of passenger comfort with Wi-Fi and the new Boeing Sky Interior. The average fuel consumption of a 737Max is 15% less than that of a -800NG. However, a huge benefit of the MAX is the new engines, CFM Leap1B, which produce 40% less noise, reducing operating costs at airports like Heathrow where there are strict noise policies.
After arriving at London Heathrow I went straight through to Lufthansa’s Lounge. The lounge isn’t a very impressive one and boasts lots of available food, plenty of free seating and a nice view of the southern side of London Heathrow. The lounge is particularly good as it serves hot breakfasts. I was able to access the lounge via my star alliance gold status as I was only flying economy on this leg.
Today I was also filming with ITV’s Britain’s Busiest Airport, this gave me early access to the new plane and got to take a look at the empty MAX. LOT’s new MAXs are configured with 186 seats in a 3-3 and 3 class configuration. The first thing that hit me when walking in was the new aircraft smell. The cabin was immaculate and I was all for LOT’s new seat design. It features a plug socket and USB socket on the seat which makes travelling so much more convenient as you will never run out of charge. The seats themselves were the most comfy I have experienced to date, they felt very well built yet soft and comforting and the leather gave a premium feel to the cabin. A fantastic cabin design. It is clear LOT spent a long time considering the passenger experience when designing the cabin. The main cabin itself was very sleek with the Sky Interior creating a welcoming aura. Today’s flight was quite full however there were still a few middle seats free, my row being one of them, GET IN!
We pushed back 40 minutes late from T2 gate A19 (mainly due to our filming) and took off bound for Warsaw from Heathrow’s 27R. The climb out was incredibly smooth and quiet. I barely even realized we had taken off! Shortly after the cabin crew offered snacks and drinks. I bought myself a Twix and a Pepsi. However, there was a second service which was free and you got a water or coffee and a wafer biscuit. My only complaint was that the menu was relatively small compared to some other European carriers, I would have liked to have seen more hot food offerings.
When in the cruise the cabin was extremely calm and quiet, making it one of the most relaxing flights I have taken. The new aircraft feel combined with the fantastic cabin design really put this airplane in another league to current narrow bodies that visit Heathrow.
To combat the sound from the engines Boeing, General Electric, and NASA developed chevrons for the back of the nacelle and the engine exhaust nozzle. The chevrons reduce jet blast noise by controlling the way the air mixes after passing through and around the engine. The acoustic liners and chevrons are such effective noise suppressors that several hundred pounds of sound insulation may be eliminated from the fuselage.
The flight was only 2 hours and 10 minutes and before I knew it we were starting our descent into Warsaw. The descent was quite steep, and the weather conditions in Warsaw were worsening. It was snowing and visibility was low, regardless, the captain made am amazing landing. I could still see some snow in on the ground at Warsaw however it looked like it had just been raining so most had disappeared. We arrived on stand only 20 minutes late. Bravo LOT.
Overall, the 737MAX Lot is offering provides the most passenger comfort for short-haul travel within Europe. Smooth, quiet and incredibly comfortable. The crew were talkative and friendly yet professional. I would defiantly fly LOT again and I hope to fly on their flagship Dreamliner product one day!