TRIP REPORT: Wizz/ČSA, Bratislava - Skopje - Prague

TRIP REPORT


Submitted by Luke Fisher

A couple of weeks ago I set off for Skopje, the only part of the former Yugoslavia I'd not been before. Although I'm based in Prague, I actually chose to depart from Bratislava instead for a variety of reasons, and then fly back direct with ČSA.

For the whole trip that was the best price. Air Serbia were next but I didn't fancy the whole thing on ATRs, and then Croatia Airlines had some outrageous price of over €200. Actually the ATR was what stopped me flying direct from Prague, as I really didn't fancy over two hours on one of them - and ČSA's flight times are pretty horrific too, arriving at 2:30am. In the end it was €25 cheaper to book Wizz from Bratislava, and take the 'Business Class' of the RegioJet train (which I highly recommend if you are travelling around in CZ or SK!), than fly direct.

Stupidly I forgot to take pictures of the outbound leg. I had an afternoon in Bratislava to eat and work a little, and then to the airport. It's a very cute little thing, only a handful of gates but modern and pretty efficient. The bus trip of 90 cents from city centre to the airport door is also excellent.


The Wizz Air plane was pretty much full. I'd booked Priority Boarding because I had no interest in waiting for my suitcase at the other end. In Bratislava they have an ingenious way of separating the passengers, having fitted the bridge over the road to the stairs with some seats for Priority Passengers, while everyone else stays in the regular departure gate. Unsurprisingly the plane was mostly full of Macedonians from various different parts of Austria, and people speaking Albanian. We departed pretty much on time, and landed in Skopje a good 15 minutes early after the short 1hr10 flight.

After six days in Skopje with a short trip to Pristina and back, it was time for home. ČSA's flight back to Prague goes at 4:30am which is really not what you want, and also means you can only take a taxi as the airport bus isn't operating at that time (or it is, if you want to arrive at 1am). I also had problems checking in online, and so had to collect the boarding pass at the airport. That meant I went two hours before to avoid any sort of lines, but it really wasn't needed. I managed to deal with that, and pass border & security controls, in about 10 minutes! I was impressed with the airport in Skopje actually, it's modern and bright, and seemed pretty efficient both on arrival & departure. I wonder how different it would be with 10 flights all going at the same time, though. At that time of the morning it seemed to be mainly holiday flights to Turkey.


I'm lucky to have a Priority Pass. As a freelancer I often travel with clients booking the tickets for me and so struggle to get any statuses, so the PP is a lifesaver. The lounge in Bratislava has to be one of the worst I've been in; a really poor choice of food and snacks, views only of the front road, and lack of power. The TAV Lounge in Skopje however was pretty ok, the snacks were fine and there was plenty of space. I'd prefer if it had sight of the runway though, rather than arriving passengers.


The flight on Monday morning was operating the flight with a wet-leased Slovak-registered B737-400 from GoToSky, with ČSA crew. There were about 50 people on this plane, so suffice to say we all had at least 3 seats to ourselves and it was pretty comfortable. I slept most of the way back, and we landed about ten minutes early again after around 1hr40 flight time.


For €25 and €45 respectively on the plane tickets, I couldn't really complain. The ČSA departure time is really bad, but it gets you into Prague at 6am for lots of other connections which people seemed to be on. I was one of only a handful who proceeded to the exit after we disembarked.


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Comments

  1. nice read! thx

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  2. Wow that ticket on CSA is cheap. Aren't they a full service airline?

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  3. Thanks for the report. I was not aware that Prague is kind of a hub, in any case like that airport.

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  4. I suppose this was a last minute substitute as a load of 50 passengers on a B734 would be disastrous.

    It's truly a shame what has become of OK. They were such a good airline until their downward spiral began.

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    1. Ok was OK. Now it's pffffffrt.

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  5. Thanks guys :) To pick up some points:

    @Nemjee - it wasn't a last minute sub, it was always scheduled as such. They started the route with ATRs, then went to this Slovak plane for a couple of days, and now operate with CSA's own A319s.

    @Anonymous 9:20 - no, they're totally BoB. What makes them kind attractive living here however is their flight times are generally better than the low-cost alternatives with not a huge difference in price.

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  6. Doesn't Air Serbia operates A319s since the beginning of the year?

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    1. It's a mixed schedule, some on Atr, some on A319. Depends on the day.

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    2. I thought it was supposed to be all A319 since this summer.

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    3. No

      "Starting May 19, the airline will also amend its Prague operations from ten weekly on the seventy-seat ATR72 turboprop to daily services, with five flights to be maintained by the 144-seat Airbus A319 aircraft, thus providing more overall capacity on the route compared to last year."

      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2018/03/summer-2018-air-serbia.html

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    4. That's almost all A319.

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  7. did u mean the Caproni Lounge at BTS?

    if, yes, I actually like it (and i like it better than the prime class lounge at SKP)
    The only advantage of the lounge in SKP is, it has a view of the runway, whilst Caproni in BTS does not
    ...but u can watch the hanging retro plane in the terminal building from a very close distance ;)

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