Sunday, April 29, 2018

TRIP REPORT: Air Serbia, Belgrade - New York

TRIP REPORT


Submitted by Filip Danilović

I travel regularly on Air Serbia's New York - Belgrade route as I live in New York but visit Serbia often. The Air Serbia New York flights come in very handy and I'm happy to pay a bit extra on the ticket fare to get to Belgrade without transferring. The following report is of the Belgrade - New York sector since it's a day-time afternoon flight and I was able to take photos. There are positive and negatives to Air Serbia's long haul product and experience and I have listed them in the report below.


Before heading to the airport I checked the "Expert Flyer" app to see the load on the flight and sure enough it was showing that it was full in business and economy, which was evident at check in. Thankfully, Air Serbia has dedicated check in desks for its New York flights. After checking in I headed to the lounge, which I have seen people have already posted photos of, so I won't. All I can say is that for a small European airline the lounge is probably one of the better ones on the continent. Afterwards I had a walk around the terminals at the airport, which offer great views of the tarmac. I like that the airport has large viewing areas and lounges.





Our flight JU500 was at the last gate at the airport - C6. Security check is done at the gate. They were using the new security screening system where your entire body is basically scanned so there was no need for people to go through metal detectors and take off their shoes or valuables in order to pass security. Bags were also tested for explosives. There was a dedicated line for business class passengers. The C6 gate lounge is quite large and has its own toilet facilities too. Soon after clearing security, boarding commenced. Again, there is a dedicated business class lane. Since Air Serbia uses two jet bridges to board the A330 in Belgrade, business class passengers had one entire jet bridge dedicated only for them.




Upon entering the aircraft I was greeted by a friendly purser who addressed passengers by name after viewing their boarding card and a female cabin crew member took me to my middle seat. Air Serbia has odd seating which isn't ideal for couples as it is impossible to sit together. Even if you are seated in the two seats facing each other it is difficult to communicate. But, these seats are excellent for privacy. Once seated it is almost impossible to see anyone else. Even the people seated right in front of you can't be seen.




Waiting at each seat was a bottle of water, blanket, menu and headphones. Air Serbia used to give an amenity kit before, as well as pajamas and slippers (on the JFK - Belgrade night flight) but this isn't the case anymore and my guess is that this has been cut as part of cost cutting measures, which is a shame (especially about the amenity kits which were Air Serbia branded).

After settling in, the cabin crew came around with welcome drinks which consisted of champagne, water and juice. They also introduced themselves and brought a warm towel. Before takeoff the crew took meal orders and asked when each passenger planned to eat. It is very similar to Etiahd's style of service. The crew was extremely friendly and during the flight passed numerous times through the cabin asking passengers if they wanted a drink or snack. Also, each time a passenger went to use the lavatory the crew would quickly come to the seat to fix it up by folding the blanket and stuff like that.




After takeoff I had lunch. I chose the Serbian mezze as the first course and the fish for the main. Both were delicious. The Serbian mezze consisted of kajmak, cheese, gibanica and some cold cuts. I had some champagne along with it. The menu also has a dine anytime section, which you can order whenever you feel like it and the crew were actively asking passengers if they wanted anything from it through the duration of the flight but I didn't take up the offer.








Air Serbia has AVOD on its A330 but this is the biggest point of criticism for me. The movie selection has not been updated for a good year or so. Like I said, I fly this route regularly and the same movies are constantly playing. They only seem to update the main "headline" movie every six months while everything else is exactly the same. The number of movies and shows is limited. There is an option to purchase wi-fi on board, which worked well for me with ok speed.













The seat itself is comfortable, and as I said above offers a lot of privacy. It transforms into a flat bed and if you are able to sleep on a plane (unlike myself) you should probably be able to get some rest in these seats. There is a "do not disturb" button as well so the crew won't come around offering you drinks and meals.



Landing in NY was smooth and on time. Air Serbia uses one jet bridge at JFK although business class passengers are let off first.


Overall, Air Serbia has a good long haul product which in some areas exceeds the competition but in some areas there is a lot of room for improvement. As I said above, this flight was full in both cabins. I can't speak for economy but in business there seemed to be a mix of American and Serbian passengers on board. I have to mention that on my flight from New York to Belgrade there was one vacant seat in business.


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35 comments:

  1. Brilliant report, that's for sure! The JU business class looks just very good. Were you happy with the price, compared to the rest of carriers ?

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    Replies
    1. Hey thanks. Sorry for replying late but we are a bit behind here in the US. The price is quite good for business. Overall it is good value for money. I'm not saying there aren't better business class products out there but it does rank as one of the better ones for sure.

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  2. Fantastic report. Absolute fantastic
    Food looks dilicious at least how its presented
    Thank you so much for sharing it

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  3. It's nice to hear that the plane was full

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  4. They never should have gotten rid of the amenity kits and PJs in business

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  5. Dear "guest",
    We are so happy you always have good time on your NY flights. We are even happier we are paying for your pleasure, and will continue to do so in future, as informed by President Vucic few days ago.
    Your serbian taxpayers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You seriously need help, and a life

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    2. @Anonymous 10:29 AM
      What he is saying is exactly what's happening though.

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    3. I bet both of you are unemployed.

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    4. I bet you are employed by the Government and our taxes put food on your table.

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    5. So you would rather have Wizz Air?

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    6. Great report. JFK route is here to stay, the sooner it becomes profitable, the better. 17 out of 18 business class seats helps with that goal. Cargo also helps a lot, just look at the JFK cargo load picture I took randomly couple of weeks ago:

      https://postimg.cc/image/u2os5qtdj/

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    7. Wow, good for cargo

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  6. Nice report, but Admin, please reconsider for these kinds of articles to put thumbnails for photos instead of the larger ones. It takes forever to scroll till the end of the article.

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    Replies
    1. Admin please don't! What personally I don't like is having to click on every single thumbnail to see the picture.

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    2. You can't even see a photo good enough in this half-way size and resolution. This is the one of the rules of a website making and designing - so you don't have to scroll till indefinitely.

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    3. You don't need to "scroll till indefinitely.".
      There is a magic button on the keyboard named "End". Press it and it magically takes you to the bottom of the page! That way you can quickly comment without having enjoyed reading and seeing the pics of this trip report.

      Delete
    4. You're missing the point. The whole page has a very outdated layout and should have been redone, but I guess people here can't deal with anything new.

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    5. Thanks for the feedback. A new updated look is planned for the website by June so these things will be addressed.

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    6. By June? For the 10 years anniversary? Wow, its already 10 years. Unbelievable....

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  7. Great report, many thanks!
    I am very disappointed that they elected to discontinue amenity kits for Business class passengers. This is a very stupid move in my opinion.
    What other full service carriers flying over 10 hour sectors have stopped offering their Business class passengers this simple service?

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    Replies
    1. Singapore Airlines doesn't give out amenity kits, but offers whatever you need in the restrooms or at request. This makes perfect sense and it's much less a waste than these throwaway kits.

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  8. Good report and Air Serbia fares well overall, shame about the movies. Hopefully someone from the airline reads this and takes note.

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  9. I'll probably book direct NYC flight in economy class to take advantage of the shortened flight this summer. Looking forward to flying with Air Serbia.

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  10. Thank you for an excellent report! I went to NYC in economy last month and the flight was also almost full. The service was quite good in economy and even my daughter took the whole meal, which is so rare for her in a plane.

    Re. amenity kits, although sounds bad not to receive it, it would make sense if you can get it on request. I fly occasionally in business on long flights and never used more than one product from the box.

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  11. Excellent report....
    Look forward for travel with AirSerbia..
    Doesn't look more different from ,for example,Delta.....

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  12. Great report. Wery happy and proud to read that report about Air Serbia. Looking forward to flying with the best one.

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  13. Dear Dilip
    Thank you for the report. Nice to hear cabin was full
    When did the flight take place? Which part of the year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. Sorry I completely forgot to write. Both were in early in March.

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    2. Tnx, good to hear that.

      Delete

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