“Etiuda” is Polish for “Disgraceful”

We’re back on Polish soil and there’s only one thing I want to say, that is holiday-related, of Polish interest and that is in the post’s title – Warsaw airport, Etiuda terminal is a complete disgrace and I’m shocked that the use of this cow shed is allowed to continue.

When we left Warsaw we first went to Terminal 1 because that’s what the tickets said. We arrived 2 hours before our flight time. T1 was empty and peaceful, perhaps three check in counters being used. The travel rep then told us the tickets were wrong and we should haul our 59 kilos down to Etiuda. Doom. Gloom.

We arrived at the cow shed to find a queue out the doors of the shed and half way down the pavement towards T1. We waited in the queue for a very long time and eventually made it inside. By this time they were calling boarding for our flight and people were running around asking if anyone was going to Malaga. They had previously been running around asking about other destinations and then pushing those people into the queue before us, hence the fact that we were now about to miss our flight.

They told us to “just go to the front”. This then causes multiple arguments with other people who are as desperate for the queue to end as we are but who’s flight leaves 10 minutes after yours. The agents on duty are of no use at all and are as fed up of this ridiculous cow shed as they are of the passengers.

We finally make a check-in desk where the very helpful bitch tells us that although we are overall under the baggage allowance, one of our bags is 2kg over the individual bag allowance. My sense of humour having left me some considerable time ago, I ask her where I might find anything that explains what the weight limit is for one bag and what (the ****) I’m supposed to do about it right now!!

I am forced to remove a small bag that was inside the big bag. The big bag is now under the mysterious limit but I’m carrying two pieces of hand-baggage. If anyone challenges me on the two pieces, I’m ready to draw blood and I’m not too fussy who’s blood it is.

We eventually get on the flight although our family of three is given seats spread all over the plane. On the plane, we manage to resolve that but only thanks to other’s goodwill.

Etiuda is a disgrace. It brings shame on Warsaw, Poland, the Polish government, the Polish people. It has to be the biggest joke in the world of international (tourist) transport. I felt this way going out, I feel even stronger about it having flown back through Malaga airport. Malaga, a hot little donkey sanctuary in southern Spain has an airport better than T1 Warsaw, a new airport being built that will be better than T2 Warsaw and where something like Etiuda would just be used as a huge public toilet (for the donkeys of course!). Strangely enough, nobody in Malaga (or arriving in T1 Warsaw) had any problem with the weight of the big bag that was certainly no lighter on the way back than it was in the cow shed on the way out.

Warsaw, Poland’s capital city, has Etiuda. (In this context, the word “Etiuda” needs to be regarded as being similar to “the plague”, “a cholera epidemic”, “filthy public toilets” or “rabid dogs roaming the streets”) It would be unacceptable for Poland to subject its own citizens to this farce but when it funnels thousands of visitors through this terrible experience you have to ask just what sort of message is Poland trying to give the outside world? Well, some visitors are not impressed!

Even when it does not need to keep using it, T1 can surely cope very adequately, it still keeps the black-hole open. One has to ask the question, WHY?

If you’d like to read more general comments on the Andalusian holiday then you need to go to 20 east.

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13 thoughts on ““Etiuda” is Polish for “Disgraceful”

  1. It’s a race to the bottom for low-cost carriers. Lower facility fees, that is. And as long as there are still long lines, these carriers take that as a sign that passengers will tolerate it. Look on the bright side: at least in the EU you have some financial compensation by law for really bad experiences, unlike in the States.

    The marketing people know that as long as the price is low enough, most people will tolerate nearly anything. You can thank Ryanair for providing the research results – heh heh. (In Wrocław, all airlines had wonderfully short lines – except Ryanair which had lines out the door onto the sidewalk. So clearly this a choice that Ryanair management makes for it’s customers.)

    Apparently the airport staff aren’t too proud of the place. I just spent about 20 minutes on their website and could find no mention nor any terminal map for Etiuda.

    http://www.lotnisko-chopina.pl/

    I was just through WAW twice last month, on a Friday and a Sunday, when I expected it to be fairly busy. All four flights (LOT ATR-72 and Finnair E170) were via bus stands, but it was still a very pleasant experience through a very quiet Terminal 2.

    –dave

  2. Underneath the facade of capitalism. E.U. membership, and shops full to the brim; lies a mentality and system that has been shaped and molded by decades of communistic rule. It will take decades more for Poland and its people to really be free of its past.

    J. Cohen

  3. A friend of mine from Dublin, having shot a documentary about the recent lustration process, said that she will never set foot in W-wa again. Not if it means flying via Etiuda. Personally, I love the hellhole. It reminds me of Dworzec Zachodni International Coach Station in West W-wa, back in the early 90’s. Goddam, that was folklore in action. It’s like shopping in Polish supermarkets – if you don’t expect decent service, but instead consider it a trip akin to a visit in a Communist era museum, you’re laughing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlK0AMFmy-k – my friend’s film on youtube

  4. Your comments are spot on; I empathize with you, and while not trying to compete with your misery, once had to go through Etiuda with a wife, a 3-month-year-old infant, and two cats. For some reason, the ground crew thought it would be smart to give the cats some water. So they poured some through the top of the pet carrier on top of the cats.

  5. How did you like Spain? I just got back (last weekend) from the Malaga area too (but I flew from Poznan, not Warsaw). Was your flight on Futura? That has to be the most uncomfortable plane I’ve ever been on.

    I went with a friend’s family (after lobbying heavily for Spain over Greece because I know Spanish). We arrived six in the morning after uncomfortable plane and it was hot and muggy and at the hotel we were stuck in a ‘suite’ instead of the two rooms that we’d booked and then came the meeting with the ‘rezydentka’ who was just incredibly negative. Her 45 minute spiel could be boiled down to:
    1. Welcome to Spain…
    2. Why come here? everything’s awful!
    3. Please don’t do anything stupid that will make life difficult for me.

    The others in my party were staring daggers at me and muttering questions about why they were crazy enough to listen to me. Things got a lot better after that and by the end no one wanted to leave and would like to go back, but it was a _very_ unpromising beginning.

    I don’t share your enthusiasm for Malaga airport mainly because the flight back to Poland was late and almost all the stores close at some ridiculously early hour (Poznan duty free was still open at 3.00 in the morning…).

    On Warsaw airport: I’ve flown from Warsaw twice this year. To Budapest (April) and Amsterdam (July) and I have to say both times were just fine I didn’t have a single problem. But these were normal commercial flights leaving in the morning so maybe that’s different.

    Last year went on a charter to Portugal (before new terminal was open) and it was Hell on Earth, completely overcrowded chaos at 6.00 in the morning which had a lot to do with flying from Poznan this year.

  6. “system that has been shaped and molded by decades of communistic rule”

    I don’t buy that for a second. Almost everything in Poland that doesn’t work or is unpleasant dates back before the communists, who were just one more in a long line of bad foreign-run regimes, and overall probably not even the worst.

  7. DC – what I told my wife, “As long as people keep queuing they’ll keep using it”.

    Marek K – you’re a masochist. (didn’t watch the film yet)

    OWKB – yes, the ground crew don’t have two brain cells to rub together between the lot of them.

    Michael – general comments on the holiday are and will be on the private blog – I’ve now inserted a link. I’m a little less happy with Spain than you were by the sounds of it although there is a lot I have yet to write. So far it is just off the cuff comments while we were there, full reports of the places we visited and generally about Spain will follow soon when I’ve got the photos processed. I’ll also do a full review of the hotel on “Trip Advisor” as previous reviews have been helpful to others.

  8. Have you noticed Okęcie is almost city centre? If you want to pay low cost and fly from your doorstep – well… that’s the cost:)

    Well don’t get me wrong I feel for you here. I really do – I had to fly from Etiuda once (it wasn’t me who bought the tickets – I was “sent”)… My cheap crappy flight of course had a delay and I had to wait two hours in this terribly hot and crowded hangar. Bottled water sold from the only gescheft there (a kiosk) was something like 10zł. Thank heavens I had a place to sit, so I fell asleep when teperature rose over 35 degrees and oxygen levels fell:D

    BUT if you don’t want to travel in these conditions (or don’t like when people clap their hands after landing), choose normal airline (or at least Swiss, which is slightly cheaper but still good quality and when you travel via Zurich you get extra walk around their magnificent Old Town) or another airport. Katowice is really good. Bydgoszcz I recommend.

    If one however prefers to save ŁŁŁs there’s Etiuda to offer proper cattle class service:)

  9. Pawel – location is fine, agreed, but that’s not the point. Polska sp z o.o is welcome to move it further out if that’s going to deliver a better tourist terminal. Of course I’ll be dead by the time that is completed!

    Also, I’m not convinced this is about saving big bucks. If they just moved all the crap airlines to T1 they’d find a way to keep prices the same. They have to. I would say that every other terminal these low-cost airlines use in the world is the same or better than T1 Warszawa, let alone Etiuda. There cannot be any solid financial reason for Etiuda to be used instead of T1. It is either paperwork, regulations, stupidity or all of the above.

    Jubal – I don’t believe in running away from problems. You are also, of course, missing the point, unless you’re aware of a plan to move the capital of Poland to somewhere with a better airport?

    :)

  10. Scatts –

    Misery has company. Check out the reviews for Tampere and Hahn. Just two that came to mind. I’m sure there are more.

    http://www.airlinequality.com/Airports/Airport_forum/tmp.htm
    http://www.airlinequality.com/Airports/Airport_forum/hnn.htm

    As for “keep(ing) prices the same” is depends on if you are referring to facility fees that the carriers pay, or the price of tickets to the traveling public. Ryanair recently dropped two routes citing an increase in facility fees:

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0827/ryanair.html

    (How on earth did you goad me into seemingly defending Ryanair – ugh) Google “Ryanair” and “subsidy” and it seems like low facility costs are a key part of their business model.

    The Civil Aviation Authority in Singapore, who brought us one of the consistently highest rated airports in the world, recognizes this business model and have built their own low-cost, and low-amenity terminal. Haven’t used it so I can’t comment.

    http://www.caas.gov.sg/caas/en/About_CAAS/Budget_Terminal.html

    I guess what I’m saying is that it’s not that simple to just move everyone into T1 without a likely loss of at least some routes or carriers. And if they cut the fees at Terminal 1, they risk legal action from the carriers in T2. It’s happened elsewhere.

    Or maybe the low-cost carriers should just improve amenities to keep customers happy? heh heh

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=UfIY24BErBE

  11. Scatts of course you are right:) But the situation with Etiuda is so obvious, that if nothing was done until now – it seems people at power at Okęcie are a bit… you know…

    It just shocks me that various inspections were declining to launch Terminal 2 for such a long time – while something like that is allowed just 500m away… I just don’t get it.

    I think they will have to close Etiuda eventually as no one will want to fly from it anymore. You try it once and get a good lesson:)

    Okęcie is the only Warsaw airport – maybe they dictate uberhigh prices for airlines? Maybe they have some connections with LOT?

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