Review: LOT 787-9 Economy Class from Budapest to Seoul Incheon

After spending about a week in Europe, it was time to head back to Japan. To do so, we first flew with LOT on its fifth freedom flight from Budapest to Seoul Incheon.

Continue reading to see what the economy class flight onboard the airline’s 787-9 was like.

LOT 787-9 Economy Class
LOT 787-9 economy class.

Check-in, Lounges & Boarding at Budapest Airport

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare despite having to sit through a traffic jam on the highway. Especially so considering that our flight ended up being delayed by about 40 minutes.

Even though non-Schengen flights at Budapest Airport use Terminal 2B, check-in for the LOT flight to Seoul was done in Terminal 2A at the same counters used by the airline’s intra-Schengen flight to Warsaw.

While we were traveling in economy class, as Star Alliance Gold members, we were able to use one of the deserted business/premium economy check-in counters. Thanks to that, we had our bags checked in, stroller tagged, and boarding passes printed in no time. (Not that the economy class desks had a sizeable queue…)

Budapest Airport LOT Check-in
LOT check-in area.
Budapest Airport LOT Check-in
Check-in counters.

Once checked in, we spent some more time with my parents before heading through security and immigration. Both security (we could use the fast track) and, since we were leaving the Schengen Area, immigration took just a few minutes.

With still more than an hour left before boarding, we went to the Plaza Premium Lounge which we were able to access as Star Alliance Gold members. The lounge, as well as the Platinum Lounge next door, which I briefly checked out as well, can also be entered using Priority Pass.

Budapest Airport Terminal 2A
Terminal 2A.
Plaza Premium Lounge Budapest (Non-Schengen) Seating
Plaza Premium Lounge.
Platinum Lounge Budapest (Non-Schengen)
Platinum Lounge.

We left the Plaza Premium Lounge about ten minutes before our flight’s scheduled boardig time of 4:20PM and headed to gate B21.

Ultimately, boarding started at 4:35PM. First, those requiring assistance were boarded, and then zone 1 which included business class passengers, premium economy class passengers, and Star Alliance Gold members followed.

Just like our flight from Tokyo to Warsaw, our flight to Seoul was operated by LOT’s 787-9 registered SP-LSC which wears a special livery celebrating the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence. (LOT also has a 737-8 in the same special livery.)

LOT 787-9
LOT 787-9 in the special independence livery.
Budapest LOT Boarding Gate

LOT 787-9 Economy Class Cabin & Seat

LOT has seven 787-9s, each equipped with a total of 294 seats including 24 lie-flat business class seats in a 2-2-2 layout, 24 premium economy class seats in a 2-3-2 layout, and 249 economy class seats in a 3-3-3 layout. The aircraft we were flying one had special Polish independence-themed headrest covers matching the aircraft’s livery.

The seats are the same as those on the LOT’s smaller (252 seats total) 787-8s. A few years ago, I reviewed that aircraft’s business class on a flight from Warsaw to Singapore.

Interestingly, over the next couple of years, LOT plans to refurbish its 787-8s with newer seats across all classes but not its 787-9s (perhaps due to them being leased rather than owned by the airline).

LOT 787-9 Business Class
Business class seats.
LOT 787-9 Premium Economy Class
Premium economy class seats.
LOT 787-9 Economy Class
Economy class seats.
LOT Independence Headrest Cover
Independence-themed headrest cover.

Economy class seats on the aircraft seemed to offer average legroom (we were seated in a bulkhead row as we were using a bassinet so we had more than enough legroom).

Each seat was equipped with a personal entertainment screen. While not as large as that on some more modern seats, it was still perfectly fine. Under the screen was a USB-A charging port. Power outlets (two per row of three seats) were available under the seats too.

Regular (i.e. non-bulkhead) seats also had a coat hook, a literature compartment, a seat pocket, and a tray table that folded in half on the seatback in front of them.

LOT 787-9 Economy Class Seat Pitch
Seat pitch.
LOT 787-9 Economy Class Power Outlet
Power outlet.

LOT Flight 2001 Departure

Surprisingly, on our flight from Tokyo to Warsaw, blankets and pillows were only provided on request. On this flight, more in line with what one would expect on a full-service carrier, they were waiting on each seat upon boarding.

Boarding took about 20 minutes and a minute or two after it was completed, the flight’s captain welcomed us onboard. He apologized for the delay caused by our aircraft’s late arrival in Budapest (as a result of its flights from Warsaw to Seoul being delayed in the first place) and mentioned that we’d be flying for 10 hours and 20 minutes.

LOT Economy Class Blanket
Blanket and pillow.
LOT Budapest to Seoul
Off to Seoul.

Soon after, one of the flight attendants brought us a seatbelt extension and an infant life west. Then, around 5PM, the aircraft doors were closed and the safety video was played.

We were pushed back at 5:07PM, almost an hour later than our scheduled departure time of 4:15PM.

Ten minutes later, we took off from Budapest Airport’s runway 31L and made a left bank above the city. Unfortunately, we were seated in the middle section away from the windows. The views must have been nice for those seated in left-hand side window seats.

LOT 787-9 Infant Equipment
Infant life vest and seatbelt extension.
LOT 787-9 Safety Video
Safety video.
LOT 787-9 from Budapest to Seoul
On our way.

LOT Long-Haul Economy Class Dinner

Seatbelt signs were switched off about 15 minutes after take-off.

At that point, Korean immigration cards and earphones were distributed, and one of the flight attendants came to set up a bassinet for my daughter and later brought her a stuffed LOTEK (the airline’s mascot).

Around the same time, sanitizing wipes were handed out as the first part of the dinner service.

LOT 787-9 Bassinet
LOT Economy Class Earphones
Sanitizing wipe and earphones.

Then, about ten minutes later, packs of cashew nuts were served alongside drinks.

I asked for Coke Zero to go with the snack.

LOT Long-Haul Economy Class Dinner
Nuts and drink.

The meal itself followed about 35 minutes later, i.e. just under an hour after take-off. Two options – chicken or pork without further explanation – were offered.

Both my wife and I (and most of the other passengers it seemed) went with the chicken.

The main came with a salad (ham, cheese, pickles, an olive, a tomato, and lettuce), a Korean-style noodle/kimchi salad, cut fruits, and a packaged bread roll. While the meal was fine, I left most of it on the tray as I wasn’t feeling too well. The one thing worth noting was that wooden cutlery that was a bit difficult to use was provided.

Just under an hour after we received our meals, the friendly cabin crew came to clear the trays.

LOT Long-Haul Economy Class Dinner

LOT 787-9 In-Flight Entertainment System

As mentioned earlier, each seat was equipped with a personal entertainment screen and earphones were handed out at the beginning of the flight. While the screen wasn’t the largest or highest-resolution, it was sufficient and it was very responsive to touch.

In terms of content, while the selection was nowhere near what, for example, Emirates or Qatar Airways provide, there was still more than enough to choose from.

There were about 130 different movies, both new and old (even Home Alone which was nice given that it was Christmastime when we took the flight). There were over 200 TV show episodes and other short programs. Unfortunately, most TV shows had only two or three episodes and the rest had no more than five.

Additionally, there were dozens of music albums to choose from, as well as 14 games.

LOT 787-9 Entertainment Movies
LOT 787-9 Entertainment TV Shows
TV shows.
LOT 787-9 Entertainment Music
LOT 787-9 Entertainment Games

Separately, there was also a fully customizable in-flight map on the IFE system.

LOT 787-9 Entertainment Map
In-flight map.

LOT 787-9 Onboard Wi-Fi

While the LOT 787-9 offered decent in-flight entertainment, it was not equipped with onboard wi-fi.

At this point, it does not seem like LOT has any plans to refurbish the aircraft with wi-fi either. That said, in-flight wi-fi is expected to be added to its 787-8s when they undergo the cabin refurbishment I talked about earlier.

LOT Long-Haul Economy Class Mid-Flight Service

I mostly spent the rest of the flight after the dinner service taking care of our daughter and getting some sleep (luckily she is doing very well on long-haul flights meaning both my wife and I could get some rest).

About three hours after the dinner service, the cabin crew passed through the cabin with cups of water. There might have been other water runs during the flight at times when I was asleep.

Even if there were not, however, that would not have been an issue as the galley at the back of the aircraft was very well stocked.

There were carts with self-serve juices (orange, apple, tomato, and black currant), Coke, Sprite, and water (still and sparkling). There were also packaged snacks, both sweet and savory. Lastly, there were instant noodles that the crew was happy to prepare for those that were hungry.

On the flight to Seoul, Korean Shin Ramyun noodles were available while on our flight from Tokyo to Seoul, a couple of different flavors of Japanese Cup Noodles were available.

LOT Long-Haul Economy Class Mid-Flight Snacks and Drinks
Mid-flight snacks and drinks in the galley.

The last thing worth noting is the lavatories.

At the beginning of the flight, the floor of the lavatory I went to was not completely clean. That was likely due to the crew trying to turn the plane around as fast as possible to avoid any further delay since later into the flight, the lavatories were kept clean.

Amenities other than hand soap included sanitizing wipes, hand cream, and air freshener. A fresh flower in each lavatory was a nice touch.

LOT 787-9 Lavatory
Uncleaned lavatory floor.
LOT 787-9 Lavatory
LOT 787-9 Lavatory
Fresh flower.

LOT Long-Haul Economy Class Breakfast

Starting from around 8:30AM Seoul time (about two hours before landing), cabin lights were gradually switched on.

From there, it took about 50 minutes for the breakfast service to start.

LOT Flight to Seoul
Making our way to Seoul.

There were no breakfast options to choose from. Instead, everyone received a tray with yakisoba noodles, a chicken salad, cut fruits, a packaged bread roll, and a small bar of chocolate. I also asked for a cup of blackcurrant juice to go with the breakfast.

I found it interesting that on both of the LOT long-haul flights on the trip, pasta/noodles were served for breakfast. I am not sure whether it is for cost reasons or something else but I am sure many on the plane would have preferred eggs or similar.

LOT Long-Haul Economy Class Breakfast
LOT Long-Haul Economy Class Baby Meal
Baby meal.

Arrival at Seoul Incheon Airport

At about 10:15AM Seoul time, we made a few turns above Beijing and Tianjin, likely due to Chinese air traffic control requests. Some nice views of the cities could be had while we were overflying them.

Then, at 10:50AM, the captain made an announcement saying we would be starting our descent soon and that we were expecting to land in about 25 minutes. He also wished us a Happy New Year.

Once he was done talking, the seatbelt signs were switched on.

Beijing and Tianjin on a LOT 787-9
Flying over Beijing and Tianjin.
LOT Budapest to Seoul
Subtle changes in our flight path.

At 11:26AM, we landed on Seoul Incheon Airport’s runway 34L.

From there, it took us some time until we reached our parking spot. We came to a full stop at 11:42AM – close to an hour behind schedule.

LOT 787-9
Hello, Seoul.

LOT 787-9 Economy Class Summary

Both of the LOT long-haul economy flights we took on our trip to Europe were perfectly fine. The seat comfort was comparable to other major airlines’ 787s (albeit the seats were worn a bit in places), the meals were decent, and the crews were very friendly on both of our flights.

The only thing that stood out in a negative light was the breakfast. While I would not mind the lack of choices if LOT went with something more conventional like an omelet or scrambled eggs, I found it odd that the only option on both flights was pasta/noodles.

Overall, though, I would not hesitate to fly with LOT on a long-haul flight again.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How Can I Help You?