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To Warsaw by plane
Warsaw Okecie (a.k.a. Fryderyk Chopin Airport) is located about 10 km outside of the city centre. The main terminal offers all amenities of a modern airport. Most budget flights use the small Etiuda terminal which is very basic and just 5 min walk from the main terminal.
If you want to avoid being ripped off by Polish taxi drivers, just take the local bus No. 175 which runs directly to the city centre. Tickets can be bought from the RUCH shop in the main airport building or from ticket machines.
- Budget Travel
By Plane to Warsaw (via Frederic Chopin Airport)
Although low-cost flights from Warsaw have declined after the Etiuda-terminal was pulled down, Wizzair established a sizeable base at Warsaw with more than a dozen of destinations. Unfortunately, not all regions in Europe can profit from a Wizz connection – in that case you will have to rely on conventional airlines like the Polish LOT, KLM, Lufthansa and the like. The situation will hopefully change once the new second airport for Warsaw (Warsaw/Modlin) opens in 2012. This airport is aimed at low-cost travellers.
Warsaw airport is connected by three bus lines with the city centre. A fourth line (N32) runs night services between the main train station in the city centre and the airport. The main line of interest is 175 which runs to the city centre (via the central station) every 30 minutes. Please buy the tickets in advance, for example at any newspaper shop at the airport.
- Budget Travel
Polish National Airline
I took a direct LOT flight from Geneva to Warsaw. This 2 hours flight was operated by an Embraer 145 (49 seats) may be too noisy. The inflight service was good with the discovery of the Polish beer Zywiec...
LOT is the Polish national airline and came up with the cheapest fare from Chicago and I was doubly excited that adding the leg from Lviv to Warsaw actually made the ticket cheaper than a round trip from Krakow. On the day of travel, however, I became a lot less enthused about this airline. A 1 1/2 hour delay leaving Chicago, jammed into a seat only big enough for my left thigh for 9 hours, 2 parentless boys kicking the back of my chair and what is that crap they are trying to serve us for dinner? And why does breakfast look exactly the same as dinner?
But it just got better from there, the flight staff so reassuring that we won't have a problem with our connecting flight that is scheduled to leave at exactly the same time that we are scheduled to land, I'm pretty sure the gist of it was that these kind of delays happen all the time and that they know how to handle them. We jog through the airport, tap our fingers impatiently as we wait for the communist era immigration employee to determine that we are fit to enter the country and arrive at the gate just to see the plane pulling. So they didn't hold the connecting flight for me or the other dozen or so passengers on our flight, there's no airline personnel to help us get on the next flight that is 40 minutes after ours (which ironically they did hold for connecting passengers).
We finally asked at the transit desk if there was some other way to get to Krakow besides waiting for another 6 hours at the airport and we were advised that we could take a train that would get us in at 9 pm instead of midnight like the flight. So we take the airline provided taxi voucher, collect our luggage and all is right with the world. Except that the taxi company on the voucher doesn't seem to exist and the clock is ticking, ticking, ticking.
I finally give up looking for the cab and offer $15 to a cab driver to drive us as fast as he can to the central station. We make it with 7 minutes to spare, no time to buy a ticket and just enough time to locate the platform and find a helpful American who exchanges some zloty for dollars in case we need it on board.
The ride from Lviv to Warsaw and Warsaw back to Chicago are uneventful, we come armed this time with salami sandwiches, chicken and cheese flavored chips and assorted other snacks because, yes, we get the same meal yet again. Mercifully the exit row seats are still open and we ride in comfort.
Flew with Wizzair into the pretty modern and easy to navigate Chopin Airport. No problems getting to or away from.
bus #175 runs into the city centre for Zl 2.80.
See website for more details about the airport.
LOT or Eurowings (Lufthansa)
Flying in on International Airport Warsaw, named after composer F. Chopin, is best possible from Germany by the Polish Company LOT. Lufthansa also operates (under the Eurowings Group) on the Polish first Airport.
Norwegian Air Shuttle
Norwegian is a low cost airline with good prices to Warsaw (and Krakow) but they only fly once a day from Stockholm-Arlanda, terminal 2 (and here you'll go thru passport control so have your passport and boarding pass handy). In our case, it departed at 8:20pm (as of September 2007) but I see that they've changed their departures to different times (might be either a morning or an afternoon flight).
There's a fee for selecting your seat (and checking in that way) and they have 2 kinds of seats: the ones with normal leg room (for us shorties) and the ones with extra leg room. Those who chose their seat get on board first. If the flight is code shared by another airline then choosing a seat might not be possible.
As of with any low cost airline, you get what you pay for, and although this was my first time flying with this kind of airline I commend their service - it was as good as with the "normal cost" airlines. If you want to eat or drink something then you pay for it either before you get on board (and after the security checks) or while flying. The flight attendants have a menu that they give to those who are interested in buying food.
- Budget Travel
If you are flying from Etiuda Terminal, beware and prepare accordingly. It is not that easy to find, and it is just a glorified pre-fab. On entering, just hoin the queue, it's about the only thing in the building, and if you are really lucky, there might even be some staff checking in passengers - It certainly wasn't over-staffed! Once checked in, you have to take your luggage to the security gate where it goes onto a conveyor belt. Only one security screener, so that bit is also slow. Once through, you are greeted with a very barren terminal - It has a basic newsagents, a basic shop, coffee and water vending machines and a pricy coffee cart.
Be prepared for lots of queueing, little information and don't leave all of your drink/ ciggy purchases until the airport. And wear deodorant... It can be very 'cosy' in the queue......
Central Wings from One Capital to Another
We flew to Warsaw from Edinburgh with Central Wings a subsidary of Lot the Polish National Airline. Prices for these flights vary but can be very economical. One thing to bear in mind for payment of the in - flight snacks and drinks - the airline accepts Euros, Zloty but only English Notes, so if flying from Edinburgh check your wallet and make sure you have the required currency. I'm glad I had my camera with me - probably for the last time - to take a picture while standing on the tarmac waiting to board.
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Transportation to the center
Take the bus to the center - it's really cheap and easy (the taxi / other choices available at the airport are a rip-off!). Buy a ticket from the kiosk at the airport before getting on the bus (175 will take you to the main railway station which is in the middle of the city). The bus stops have names and there's a list of all the stops in the bus - and there's no way you can miss the train station.
An airport that leaves something to be desired
Warsaw's airport leaves something to be desired. There are few facilities landside, and airside is distinctly small. You go through the security (not passports) as you go to the gates, which means that queues build up quickly when people are trying to board.
Also, there is nowhere airside where you can contact your airline (E.g. a transfer desk.) This means that once you are through, you cannot try and raise an issue. In my case, the check-in staff told me a lie (that the plane was on time, before going through to find that it was delayed 2 hours!).
- Business Travel
At the end of March 2004, Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport opened a new passenger terminal named "Etiuda". It is situated in the southern part of the airport, behind the exit from the fly-over access road. The Etiuda terminal serves both departing and arriving passengers.
The terminal is very small. Passengers are handled at eight check-in stands equipped with computers and special software for passengers and baggage clearing. Etiuda terminal lacks facilities like bars or restaurants. However, there is a newsagent with sweets and newspapers, Baltona shop and drinks machines have been opened.
Due to the fact that Etiuda offers a custom clearance only for passengers travelling to the European Union countries it does not offer a duty-free zone, hence there is no possibility of doing duty-free shopping.
Most cheap airlines operate from Etiuda Terminal, including easyJet, Germanwings, SkyEurope and WizzAir.
Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport
Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport is the biggest airport in Poland. Warsaw Airport is located 10km south-west of the city centre what is quite close to the city centre. You may get there from Warszawa Centralna Railway Station by bus no 175. Taxi service should be about 25 - 30 zloty from the airport to the centre. The airport is rather small and not moder enough. It becomes also over-crowded what, sometimes, is inconvinient for passengers.
Warsaw Airport handles about 70% of the overall air passenger traffic in the country. Departing aircrafts carry passengers to various countries in America, Africa, Asia and Europe. At present, Warsaw Airport operates more than 80 scheduled flights to/from major airports in Poland and worldwide and the number of its charter connections is always increasing. Passengers' favourite destinations are London, Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam. In terms of domestic traffic, most passengers travel to Krakow, Wroclaw and Gdansk.
Warsaw airport (WAW)
Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport (WAW) is located 10 km south of the city center. Now (2006) there is small Terminal 1 and adjacent even smaller the Etiuda terminal which serves routes flown by low-cost carriers. The twice larger Terminal 2, under construction now, is going to be completed by 2007. Airlines in Warsaw here.
I have never been forced to wait in any long lines at check in points or luggage claim area.
Passengers of international flights (except the USA and Canada), should check-in at least 60 minutes before departure.
Passengers travelling to the USA and Canada, should check-in at least 120 minutes before departure.
Call your airlines! Sometimes it's 30 min. for flights within EU when they may issue you boarding pass after your call.
DUTY FREE SHOP
While leaving Poland when you may visit shopping mall in passengers waiting area and go to Duty Free Shop (in Terminal 1) and buy... most buy cigarettes and alcohol beverages, some perfumes and gifts. Details in more shopping tips.
Warning: food and caffee served in bar/restaurant on the ground floor of terminal 1 is awfull and far over-priced (even 3 times more expensive than I used to pay) ---> skip it.
Currency courses in exchange offices (for those with cash) and transaction fees in ATMs are the same as in the city. Some (few?) taxi drivers don't like to be paid by cards and want cash ---> better prepare some Polish currency. According to law taxi drivers, like every shop/supermarket in Poland, are obliged to accept euros but they don't like Euro :-) (yet?) and either the course in that case is bad for those paying in Euro or rarely they are simply refused (it's against law) to pay by Euro.
In Arrival Hall open: May - September 8.00 a.m. - 8.00 p.m. daily; October - April: 8.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m. daily.
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
For 50 € (R/T) from 19 countries to Warsaw
Cheap flights to Warsaw (WAW): here Example fare: 41 GBP R/T with all taxes by WizzAir: London Luton - Warsaw, 24 and 31 May 2006.
Cheap flights to new Lodz airport (LCJ): here (example fare: 52.58 EUR R/T with all taxes Dublin - Warsaw - Dublin; 23 and 30 May, 2006)
Lodz is the second largest city in Poland located 135 km southwest of Warsaw. Lodz Lublinek airport is located some 8 km soutwest of Lodz centre. To get to Warsaw:
1. there are buses run by PKS: airport Lodz - Lodz - airport Warsaw - Warsaw (26 zl = 6.9 euros; over 3 hours) and back at hours correlated with hours of Rhynair flights;
2. taxi to Warsaw: some 2 hours and maybe (?) 200 zl = 53 euros;
3. Public transportation (bus, taxi) to Lodz + bus/train to Warsaw.
General three steps to find a good deal online to Warsaw:
1. Search for low cost airlines covering flights from your area to Europe at LowCostAirlines.org and if there are any check them (try find flights to European airports from which there are cheap flights to Warsaw (WAW) and Lodz (LCJ).
2. Continue searching for low cost flights within Europe at WhichBudget.com and Openjet.com
3. Compare the final price with the ones at:
- Samoloty.onet - only in Polish language although everyone may buy a ticket (mailed abroad or electronic one)
- Virtual Tourist sponsored links and search for flight tool (click on "Flight" above on this page, please).
Another option is to ask your travel agent and/or call and ask your airline (especially if you are a member of frequent flier program).
Have a great flight :-)
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Warsaw Travel Guide
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