Monday, March 16, 2015

Air Serbia unveils on board Wi-Fi and lounge

Air Serbia rolling out on board Internet, phone calls and new Belgrade lounge

Air Serbia has announced the launch of wireless Internet access on board its Airbus fleet and the opening of a dedicated business class lounge at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. Both product developments will be rolled out during the second quarter of the year. Air Serbia’s CEO, Dane Kondić, says, “I am proud to announce that we will be introducing Internet connectivity across our Airbus fleet. Air Serbia ‘Wi-Fly’ will enable Internet access on board our flights, with services accessible via personal WLAN/Wi-Fi equipped devices, such as laptops, tablets and smart phones”. In addition to Internet connectivity, Air Serbia’s ‘Wi-Fly’ will enable free content streaming which will feature new release movies, popular TV programs, and a variety of music.

Passengers will also have the opportunity to access mobile telephone services, allowing for voice calls, SMS and MMS messaging while airborne. A growing number of European carriers offer Wi-Fi Internet access on board a select number of their aircraft. Some of them include British Airways, Lufthansa, Air Berlin and Turkish Airlines. The product is widely available in the United States as well as the Middle East, with Air Serbia’s part-owner Etihad also offering the service on selected routes. The Serbian carrier becomes the first in the former Yugoslavia to offer in-flight Internet access, content streaming, telephone calls and messaging.

Air Serbia will also open a dedicated business lounge at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. The facility will cover an area of 400 square metres and will be located between gates A4 and A5. “The lounge will deliver a brand new and enhanced experience for guests travelling business class or holding Etihad Guest Silver, Gold or Platinum status”, Mr. Kondić says. The lounge will have the capacity to accommodate up to eighty passengers and will include a reception, bar, dining area with self-service buffet, lounge seating, dedicated VIP area, prayer room, shower facilities and a business centre. “The design will be contemporary yet remain uniquely Serbian, incorporating all the branding elements of Air Serbia”, the CEO notes. He adds, “Another unique feature of our lounge will be dedicated Guest Relations Ambassadors, who will provide additional help for those guests requiring assistance to get to their flights”. Belgrade Airport currently features a single business class lounge shared jointly by all airlines flying in to the Serbian capital. “Indeed, these are exciting times for Air Serbia and these innovations will only serve to reinforce our position as the region’s leading airline”, Mr. Kondić concludes.

88 comments:

  1. Great!!!

    but no dates mentioned! When? after one, two, five years?

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    Replies
    1. It says in the article. Secobd quarter of this year.

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  2. Online check-n should be introduced in May or June.

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  3. Wi-Fly? Who comes up with rubbish marketing like this? Do people realise that this is pronounced exactly the same as "why fly?"

    I understand that this is not JU marketing but why repeat such a marketing gaffe?

    The product itself I am sure will be good. I use it regularly on my SV flights out of RUH and JED. It's certainly useful.

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    1. Name is actually trademarked by manufacturer.

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    2. As I said, I understand that it's not JU marketing, but is it not possible to use a different name for this service?

      I simply wanted to point out that the brand is a gaffe, in my opinion.

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    3. Write to Panasonic and let us know how they responded.

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  4. ''Wi-Fly? Who comes up with rubbish marketing like this? Do people realise that this is pronounced exactly the same as "why fly?"

    I think Panasonic does actually... Etihad uses the same bradning onboard...

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    1. Yeah, I am aware that Etihad uses the same term/brand. See my comment above.

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  5. On line check in, self check-in!!!!! It is 2015!!!!! Most of companies did that in late 1990's not 2015! Come one. I don't know any other companies exempt Air Serbia not to have on line check in.

    Evan if they introduce on-line check in this year it is disgrace and very bad image for Air Serbia which will not be forgotten for many years. Like Air Serbia is some African company not European one with ambition to be regional leader.

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    1. Air Serbia is not like some African company as most of African companies have on-line and self check-in. So air Serbia has to work on on-line check in to become as some African companies.

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    2. wow I don't think any airline in ex-Yu endures this amount of hate on a daily basis.

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    3. Guys, curb your enthusiasm! Let's welcome on-line check in and self check in. Majority Air Serbia guests at BEG will use off line possibility anyway!

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    4. But, of course, every passenger googles the online check in history of an airline. So in couple of years, when they offer online check in, someone will choose B&H over JU, because they have it only since 2015...

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    5. Not B&H airlines of course. But that shame of airline is not any competition to Air Serbia.

      Quetion is will someone use Lufthansa, Turkish, Aeroflot, Wizzair... instead of Air Serbia becaouse of on line check in and some other problems Air Serbia still has (like no respont to lost lugage, huge check-in lines, old ATR and 737 still in use regulary etc.).

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    6. Air Serbia is constantly improving level of service and distancing itself from the bad rap JAT had in the region in its final years. Similar to a passenger who used to fly Austrian for years and is now pleasantly surprised with onboard experience with Turkish or Etihad. Word of mouth is already working and I witnessed accounts of passengers from West Europe transiting through Belgrade on Air Serbia flights with surprisingly positive feedback. New additions like Wi-Fi and lounge will only help raise that image.

      On the other side of the spectrum, ASL should react and quickly adapt to competition. Introduction of "economy minus" fares without included checked baggage and possibly with pay for food service should be considered. Star Alliance in Europe is getting aligned with this initiative, and this would also help battle LCCs. Same cabin (no need for universally loathed thin seats!), but less inclusive and with more pay per use options.

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    7. Let me tell you, In Canada from 6 airlines only 3 offer on line Check in, so what are you talking about? Canada should be super rich and advanced company and it does not work. Great job for AirSerbia, Wi-Fi on board is super cool and way more important then getting a seat on line..I personaly prefer to talk to agent and get my seat at the counter then going on line and check in. Huge kudos to AirSerbia

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    8. I see smoke, I see mirrorsMarch 16, 2015 at 8:48 PM

      The propagandists are out in force.
      @AirCEO your anecdotal evidence that West Europeans are surprisingly positive about their JU experience is trumped by the more objective and wider reviews of generally poor customer experience, particularly when things go wrong. There are improvements and there is much room to improve, so stop the smoke and mirrors approach.
      As far as Etihad are concerned, I have extensive experience of travel out of RUH. EY regional experience does not compare to RJ, let alone EK or QR. EY product is firmly in the SV or TK sort of territory, hence their 4-star rating (which I think is fair).

      @Canadian Anonymous
      Great, give other passengers the option of online check in and seat selection. You can still continue talking to the agents. Just don't deny me the option of online check in because you like to get your seat at the counter.

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    9. Mr Smoke and Mirrors - seems you have lost yourself in both. What is "objective", is the fact that Air Serbia has carried an almost incremental 1million pax in 2014 over 2013. Not a few hundred, or even a few thousand confused poor people who have somehow been hoodwinked as you would suggest. The numbers are rather compelling, so these west europeans who have travelled in droves, are not anecdotal evidence, but are the hard evidence you suggest does not exist. As for your goodself, you have plenty of options to avail yourself of online checkin facilities from the plethora of competitive offerings out there, so go for it - don't be a bore and get off on seeing your post up in lights, fly with any number of alternative options so that you avoid having to see the guy in front of you at the counter asking for his seat ....

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    10. "There are improvements and there is much room to improve"

      Thank you for proving my point, we both agree now that Air Serbia is improving. Positive examples are in no way scientific proof, rather an illustration of a positive trend that I hope will grow like Topsy.

      Etihad seems to be aware of the need to raise the level and industry is apparently taking notice, from reactions to The Residence product and Savoy-trained butler on A380 to new livery, uniforms and celebrity endorsements (Nicole Kidman, no less). You can argue that Residence is only there for the halo effect, but that's exactly what will raise the level of Etihad brand as a whole above SV or TK, if it's not already above them.

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    11. I wonder how anyone can compare Etihad to Saudi when Saudi doesn't even serve alcohol on board, and has a history of confiscating bibles, stars of David, crucifixes, and pork.

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    12. I have lived in Riyadh and Jeddah for a number of years and traveled with Saudi a number of times and trust me comparing Saudi to any of the ME3 ( Qatar, Emirates, and Etihad) is absurd and hilarious actually. I am not talking from the political perspective, but solely based on product.

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    13. I see smoke, I see mirrorsMarch 17, 2015 at 11:09 AM

      Wow, some of you people seem incredibly insecure,

      First, you seem to be in the anti-choice camp of terminal check-in only since you like to be chatty with the agents. Good for you, but I prefer choice. I want to see an Air Serbia that is efficient and competitive offering online check-in, mobile check-in as well as terminal check-in. I simply pointed out that wanting to talk to an agent is not a good reason not to introduce online check-in. Otherwise, why stop there? Why not remove the website and go back to along the sales offices only (to hell with phone bookings too, not personal enough)?

      Second, Etihad is good, very good. But it's certainly not as good as some would have us believe. It's smoke and mirrors. Skytrax seems a little bit more objective than some random Mr Stojanovic or Anonymous Riyadh and Jeddah resident. Etihad is in the same category as SV and TK (eat your heart out!). They want to get better and inshaAllah they will get there, but they are not there yet. It's the same with JU, major improvements but they're nowhere near as good as some would have us believe. Again, inshaAllah they will get there, but there is a lot of room for improvement. SV does not even serve alcohol in its Alfursan lounges, yet it's 4-star Skytrax rated like Etihad.

      I want to see and Air Serbia that is truly very good, but some of you seem to disagree regardless of whether the criticism is constructive or not. But you can only fool some of the people all of the time, or all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time. And I'd rather we don't fool anyone but create an airline with very good product and customer experience. If you think we're there then you're either have fallen victim to the smoke and mirrors or you're creating the smoke and placing the mirrors.

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    14. Many of us do not care about on line or Kiosk check-in. It takes exact same time as waiting in line to check in and get even better seat. I do not understand why people think that waiting for 24 hrs prior to go on line is ok? Like you have to go on line, put al your information in, look at the seat map, select the seat, answer few question, plus some good seats are blocked for airport agents anyway and you can not get them.People are brain washed when they think on line is better and save the time I have never used AirSerbia but reading some great passenger reviews on line are make me think that they are going the right directions.

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  6. You guys are really amazing. If this poor unfortunate ASL offered you transatlantic flights for $99 in first class with private butler (online check-in included + unlimited baggage + $100,000 compensation for each piece of baggage lost + $50,000 for each minute of delay in takeoff) I am sure you would still have your looooong lists of ASL fails that make it a disaster company not even worth comparing with exotic African carriers.

    I like your high demands and expectations. I hope you put them on yourselves too.

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    1. Exactly, just like my wife reacting to the new car: heated wheel takes too long to heat up! Cooled seats feel like sitting in a puddle! 360 view doesn't work well on a rainy night! You get the picture...

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    2. On line is today standard in air transport as primary school or literacy is standard for children today (and was not 25 years ago). It is no longer considered better quality but it is basic civilization level. And as somewhere in middle of Africa there are still illiterate children, and in Europe there are none, in same way online check-in is minimum standard that lacks only in the most isolated places in central Africa.

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    3. Actually internet access is basic human right according to the UN, not online checkin as you incorrectly mention. Air Serbia will provide that "basic human right" to its passengers unlike other airlines in the region. See ya h8ter!

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    4. Of course I did not say that on-line check in is basic human right. You cannot be so hmmmm… that you find me saying so.

      I just compare that today it is standard for company to have on line check in. It is so NORMAL as it is NORMAL that children in Europe and 90% of the World can read. It is not about basic rights. But what is normal for air company.

      It is so normal that no one even notice that but presume that air company have this service.

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    5. You implied it as "basic civilization level", so almost equivalent. When is OU going to offer onboard internet, it's "normal for air company" nowadays?

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    6. OT:

      http://www.poslovni.hr/hrvatska/krecu-redovne-linije-za-juznu-koreju-292076?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Status&utm_content=292076&utm_campaign=FB+page+statusi

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    7. OT: What is happening with BH Airlines? Sunday has passed:

      http://exyuaviation.blogspot.com/p/b-airlines-has-suspended-all-of-its.html

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    8. As it says in the article, flights resume on Sunday, and they did, to Zurich.

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    9. Is it temporary or does it mean debt has been paid and all services will resume? What about Belgrade service?

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  7. This is great news. A good way to attract more customers. Congratulations Air Serbia.

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  8. What will be the price for Air Serbia onboard internet? Will it be available all the time or above 10000ft? Thank you!

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    1. I think Internet will be free

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    2. "I think Internet will be free"

      LOL Only a handful of airlines offer free wifi, and that is only on their largest aircraft flying very long routes, where large ticket prices easily absorb cost of the service.

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    3. Would be nice if free Wi Fi would be some kind of a unique selling proposition. Be their >thing<. If the seats and planes are not up to date, or if their punctuality can still be better. If online check-in is nowhere in the site.

      Like JAT used to have 30kg checked in luggage. You have to offer customers something more than just mere transport.

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    4. Phone service gets charged through provider, but internet service is usually cash, credit card or prepay before flight. If it's cash only, cabin crew has to carry change. If it's credit card only, crew has to carry POS devices, and some passengers don't have credit cards. If crew already has to carry POS devices and/or cash, why not sell other things - earphones (for those who forgot to bring them), or additional food/snacks/drinks?

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  9. Lounge upgrade is good- the lounge at BEG is a sh*thole, especially in the early morning hours (think Arab transit passengers putting the couches together to form a bed children screaming, tasteless food...). At the same time, JU should extend lounge access to all airports they serve to in order to make status and premium pax happier. Gold members should also be allowed to bring a guest with them into the lounges; common practice both within Star Alliance and Skyteam. Priority boarding could also be an idea- it would certainly be far more appreciated than the welcome they wish to Etihad Guest members onboard every flight!

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    1. All that you counted is already there. You can invite guest if you are Gold, and you have access to all lounges. Trust me. :)

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    2. Lounge access with a guest is only available to Etihad Guest Platinum members now.

      http://www.etihadguest.com/en/earn-miles/preferred-airline-partners/air-serbia/

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    3. ^^ Which is outrageous, as translating it to the world of say LH would mean that only HON members, flying over 600 000 miles in a year, are allowed to bring guests with the. Perhaps an extreme example, but-- Air Serbia/Etihad, get your act together. It sucks not being able to take friends in for a couple of free beers before a flight, especially at more expensive European airports. CPH lounge access would be much appreciated!

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    4. That information there is not correct, because I am Gold and I was with guest in BEG, WAW, AUH ... during last two weeks. Yes I travel a lot ... and there was no issue at all.

      So trust me, Gold works just fine.

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  10. I am sure some of you guys used this system more than once so an explanation would be warmly welcomed.

    It makes sense for the internet, but how do the phone services work? Will it work only above certain height or in Serbia only? If you are flying over some other country does it connect to foreign operator?

    Annnnnd finally, are there any limitations to using the system? I am more than sure than bunch of people would be calling their boyfriends/girlfriends mothers and fathers to tell them how cool is to fly at 33.000 ft or some other nonsense.

    Personally, I would always choose another airline, if I have a choice, just not to listen other people on the phone for hours.

    Thanks a lot

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    1. @Annnnnd finally, are there any limitations to using the system? I am more than sure than bunch of people would be calling their boyfriends/girlfriends mothers and fathers to tell them how cool is to fly at 33.000 ft or some other nonsense.

      Are you under impression that this would be free? Because it wont.

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    2. I am not, but still there is a possibility that some can bother on me on the phone for 2 hours...

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  11. This wifi info was already published before, no?

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    1. It wasn't confirmed by the CEO before and we didn't have info about on board phone calls and new lounge

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  12. Ne mogu nikako shvatiti da neko mrzi toliko jednu Aviokompaniju i da je pljuje svaki dan jel to zbog toga sto je uspesna i sto ce imiáti prva WI-FI.
    INN-NS

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    1. Ne mogu ni ja da verujem da si napisao sve ono za a330 i za letove do Kine, al ipak jesi...

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    2. Doslo je do promene nisam ja kriv a kao sto sam vec pisao za nekoliko meseci bi trebala posada krenuti na obuke za A330 ako bude sve po planu.
      To sto vi radite je 10 puta gore nego bilo sta drugo zato sto nema nikakve veze sa Aviacijom i zato bi zamolio Gospodina Admina da obrise sve te gluposti.
      INN-NS

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    3. INN-NS-i ulgavom se slazem sa tvojim komentarima, al poceo si da davis sa tim sto mrzite, sto ovo, sto ono, pusti ih covece nek kenjaju do sutra, sta se i ti primas na svaku pljuvacinu.pozz

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    4. Air China starting from May1st 4x weekly Peking-Budapest: http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/6343310/

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    5. Yes, it came as a surprise to many and it's via Minsk. Already discussed in here. Refer to the previous topics to see the comments.

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  13. Nice news except this:
    "Passengers will also have the opportunity to access mobile telephone services, allowing for voice calls, SMS and MMS messaging while airborne."

    From what I understood its free, and I wonder how it will be when everybody takes their iphones out to show off and call all the extended family. Also a lot of people from our region tend to be on the more loud side when on the phone. I am not complaining about ASL which has improved greatly which many people dont see, BUT if calling is free on board then it will be a disturbance for pax who want to sleep and yes I do not want to wear headphones all the time (what someone might suggest) or those ear plugs.

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    1. nvm, just read the posts again and the article and apparently it wont be free, so no issue here.

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    2. If someone is able to do voice calls, will make for a very unpleasant flight,especially ,as mentioned, people from the Balkans tend to be loud. Will there be restrictions on how many people can be calling at a time and talking?

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  14. When will Air Serbia fly to Cairo?

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    1. and when will Air Serbia codeshare to China as promised?

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    2. when they get more planes! Cairo is a huge market for transfer pax (much bigger than Beirut), but no expansion without new planes.

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    3. When is that gonna be? They should really rather fly to Cairo than Tel Aviv.

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    4. ^ true, big +1
      TLV route is a joke, and the funniest part was when ASL reported they are increasing the number of flights to 5w while when compared to last summer they are decreasing from 7w.

      INN-NS please admit they got trashed on that roue, I beg you :P

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    5. also to add, TLV has the biggest dumping of prices for transfer pax I have ever seen in my life. Way back in November I found a ticket for 200 Canadian dollars ( 150 euros) from AMS to TLV. I regret for not buying it now.

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    6. I was just looking at tickets to CAI and i can tell they're far from cheap. The cheapest right now on the route would be Aegean which has constant promotions, next is TK at around 400 Eur. and that's about it.

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    7. I don't know ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ they need to get couple of additional planes first, hopefully very soon.

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  15. OT: Adria will start fly from Maribor

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    1. 3x per week to London, destination stil unofficial for now

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  16. OT:
    As per Amadeus I found the following schedule:

    DEP Zagreb 1210 ARR Toronto 1555 Wednesdays
    DEP Toronto 2355 ARR Zagreb 1525 (Depart on Mon and Arrive following day.

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    1. Wed return, WTF? This means passengers have to lose 2 extra work days for the same trip duration as the trip with connecting airline that departs YYZ on Fri night, returning to YYZ on Sun afternoon. For a 9 day trip with SkyGreece, passengers need 7 vacation (work) days; for the other schedule they need 5 vacation days for the 9 day trip. Are the extra 2 vacation days, no IFE, no Aeroplan FF miles and probably slightly higher price worth going nonstop?

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    2. Why are you suddenly surprised? Ex-Yu wrote thousand times that flights from ZAG depart two days later.

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    3. Typical annual vacation allotment in Canada is 2 to 3 work weeks, 10-15 days. Burning 2 more vacation days for identical stay is not irrelevant if you have only 2 weeks of vacation.

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  17. Why does the lounge needs to have a prayer room?
    I don't recall any other European airline thas has one in it's lounges.
    Is this a muslim demand on behalf of Etihad?

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    1. it may well be a muslim demand from Etihad. But if you are trying to attract a biger share of a broader customer base - especially in the all important premium market, then you need to appeal to as wide a group of people as posisble. For MIddle Easterners who are Muslim, this is important and it seems like a smart move to me. As for other European airlines providing this, you obviously haven;t been to many european airports to see how many muslim prayer rooms are being provided - from as far away as London to the west, to as far away as istanbul in the East ...

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    2. There is no harm in offering a prayer room, and if it makes the airline accessible to people of other faiths and origins, then it is certainly beneficial.

      And I think that a prayer room is non denominational, and could be used by people of all religions, not just Muslims.

      Delete
    3. Well, to me, it is weird that the prayer room should be in business lounge! Only the rich ones have access to it?
      I believe it is fine to have multi-faith meditation/prayer room, or how I would call it "meditation/prayer/reflection", not to discriminate against any religion/philosophy/atheism, etc.
      As long as it is not exclusive or includes just several religions, or names any number of religions/philosophies, etc. As an atheist, I would use it to relax in peace&tranquility, especially since there are no smoking boots. :)

      Delete
  18. Air Serbia B733 business class does exist!
    https://knightofmalta.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/air-serbia-business-class-boeing-b-737-300-belgrade-to-bucharest/

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    1. Same as Adria, Croatia Airlines, Lufthansa, British Airways, and almost all other European airlines then?

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    2. Don't some 733's still have the classic business-class seats?

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    3. No. All are in full economy (sardina) layout. Also all 737's they use now, are painted in Aviolet livery...

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  19. Does anybody know whether any other company other than Air Serbia and Etihad get catering in BEG? What about Qatar now that Ankara tag was changed to Sofia?

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    1. Etihad carries catering for both legs from AUH.

      Delete

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