LOT Airlines' NYC JFK to Budapest Nonstop has launched, on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. I was at the inaugural gala briefly, and I just hope that the flights are more climate controlled and better catered than the reception, which was stifling (no air conditioning) and virtually devoid of food, apart from a little cheese bread and strudel (to be fair, the apple and cherry strudel was quite good).
As a reminder, the frequencies are:
LOT Flight 33 departs Budapest 11:55am, arriving JFK 3:40pm, duration of 9 hours 45 min. (Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays)
LOT Flight 34 departs NYC JFK at 6:15pm, arriving Budapest the next morning at 8:50am, duration of 8 hours 35 min. (Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays)
The nonstop was proposed by the Hungarian government to LOT, although it was the Budapest Airport that substantiated the business case, pointing out that there are 8 million people living within a 2 hour drive of Budapest, and in 2017, there were actually more passengers traveling from Budapest to the U.S. daily, on average (over 800) compared with Warsaw to the U.S. (about 650, with 27 flights per week).
Strangely, the presentation didn't touch on the onboard product specs at all. Since most readers are primarily interested in LOT Business Class, here are the details:
- 18 business class seats across 3 rows
- 2-2-2 configuration
- Seats recline 180 degrees into a flat bed
- Seat width: 23 inches
- Bed length: 79 inches
LOT's seat width is actually better than the business class of most European competitors; Swiss Business Class and United Polaris Business Class are both 22 inches wide, while Brussels Airlines Business Class and Austrian Business Class are just 20.5 inches wide and 20 inches wide, respectively, and Lufthansa Business Class is also just 20 inches wide.
Still, most passengers these days expect business class seats, including window seats, to have direct aisle access, so 2-2-2 configuration is a non-starter for many who have a choice.
The flights between Budapest and NYC and Budapest and Chicago ORD will, by the end of the year, have 60 Hungarian flight attendants working on them, helpful for Hungarian speaking passengers. Hungarian will also be on the in-flight entertainment system, and there will be Hungarian dishes and wines in Business Class and Premium Economy.
Award Availability: Just 1 Business Class Seat Award per Flight
Unfortunately, currently LOT seems to only be making a maximum of one LOT Business Class seat available to Star Alliance partners per flight, so this isn't a good option for couples who want to travel together. If you're flying solo, there are a number of dates starting in July with availability, and especially for later in 2018 and in spring 2019, although you're likely not going to care for the 2-2-2 configuration.
Another issue is that LOT award space isn't appearing on Aeroplan, which would be a less expensive way to book, at 57,500 miles each way, than United MileagePlus, which charges 70,000 miles.
If you're flying roundtrip, an even less expensive way to book would be ANA, which charges just 88,000 miles roundtrip on Star Alliance partners between the U.S. and Europe. You can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points or SPG Starpoints to ANA Mileage Club.
Do you plan to fly LOT nonstop between NYC and Budapest or Chicago and Budapest?
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