TRIP REPORT: Air Serbia, Belgrade - Sarajevo


Route: Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport - Sarajevo International Airport
Trip taken: September 2018
Scheduled Time: 44 minutes

Belgrade and Sarajevo are less than 300 driving kilometers away, but the interest for flights still remains because driving is not always comfortable since the highway is yet to connect the two capitals. Air Serbia's flight on Sunday is a choice mostly for business oriented passengers and also for the numerous representatives of foreign international organisations that still operate in the region.

The time slot at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport for this flight almost coincides with the other regional flights - to Split, Tivat and Podgorica. All three take off in a span of 15 minutes, so I expected certain delays at the check-in counters.

However, the check-in process was quite smooth as numerous counters were open. Since I completed the online procedure for check-in, I just had to drop off the luggage. This was the first time for me, since Air Serbia introduced the online check-in procedure, that I was not issued a printed ticket since I already had the e-ticket on my mobile phone. It was a pleasant surprise to realise that the system can actually work on the appropriate level, as I used the QR code on the screen to board the flight, show it to the security officers and other staff at the airport.

The aircraft was parked at the gate far from the airport building, so the boarding was completed with a short bus transfer. It took only one of the smaller buses at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport to complete boarding. Air Serbia's YU-ALU ATR-72 had three members of the flying deck, a purser and a crew member - enough to serve the 44 minute flight. The aircraft, however, had certain signs of its age. Scratches and broken plastic parts revealed that YU-ALU might need some refreshing of its interior.

The plane took off with a five-minute delay, staying comfortably within the timeframe for landing at Sarajevo. With beautiful, sunny weather along the entire route, it was a very pleasant experience to fly at around 5000 meters, staying close enough to the ground to clearly see the stunning landscape.

Since the crew had very little time to complete the usual Air Serbia service, they started it as soon as possible. It was a pleasant surprise when they offered a 0,25l bottle of water to everyone on board, a recent improvement to the Air Serbia service. Two months ago, this was not the case even on significantly longer flights.

The rest of service was just promoted to the passengers. In a 44-minute flight, there were no passengers interested in purchasing beverages and snacks significantly more expensive than those in downtown Sarajevo.

Following a smooth landing at Sarajevo International Airport, another bus ride was required from the gate to the airport building. And it certainly was one of the shortest bus rides ever - as the plane was parked very close to the building. The ground service at Sarajevo International Airport proved to be very quick. Despite the fact that there were only two arriving flights at the same time, the luggage was available to passengers almost immediately - the outcome that can sometimes be challenging at the airports of a similar size.

Having in mind that Sarajevo International Airport is just a 20-minute drive from downtown, flying from Belgrade to Sarajevo proved to be the fastest way to travel between the two capitals. Combined with the gorgeous weather, and thus the absence of the notorious Sarajevo fog, it was a pleasant short flying experience.

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  1. Anonymous09:20

    Thanks for the report.

  2. Anonymous10:35

    Wooow...the aircraft is a pure relic and should be sent to the musuem at once.
    This shows how reliable the ATR is. A true regional horse.

  3. Anonymous10:47

    ATR: Avions de transport régional <3
    J'adore le produit. Les gents de Toulouse et les français en general sont vraiment heureux.
    Le Serbie est un pays merveilleux.
    J'espère visiter la Bosnie aussi, surtout Sarajevo qui est une ville, riche en histoire.
    Un excellent rapport !

    Je vous souhaite une v excellente journée.


  4. Anonymous15:42

    It surprises me how people in SRB/BIH can be surprised that an electronic boarding pass "actually works" :)
    That is a BAU standard in the airline industry since at least a decade or more!

    1. Anonymous17:37

      This was not possible 5-6 years ago with Air Serbia: electronic boarding pass, online check-in, luggage drop off, check-in kiosks, sometimes well organized check-in process. Sensible onboard service and on-time arrival for well rounded experience. Great trip report, thank you.

      Maintenance of passenger cabin is a low point. Air Serbia decision on the future of regional fleet is long overdue. Even if fleet changes are planned and hopefully coming soon, broken parts in the cabin are not acceptable.

    2. I would rather fly the ATR then the Q400, it is a much better aircraft!

    3. Anonymous11:13

      That is your personal preference. I have an opposite preference.

      However, what does this have to do with ASL finally arriving in the current century (enabling electronic boarding pass/check in etc)?

  5. Anonymous21:45

    Shitty old planes from the ex-yu era together with their ageining B737s.Who is willing to board on that flying corpse? shame on them...They are part of Etihad :) hillarious

    1. The B737's are still relatively young, as they were grounded for 10 years during the war. There is still life left in them!

    2. Anonymous07:57

      3/3 Atrs are from that era and mind you, most of JU's fleet came after Etihad took over.


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