TRIP REPORT: Aegean, Belgrade - Larnaca via Athens

TRIP REPORT


Submitted by Nemjee

Greetings!

It was time to take a break from work so I decided to go to Cyprus for the weekend. This winter our options are rather limited as it all boils down to either flying on the regional hegemon's Friday flight at midnight or on Aegean via Athens.

I wanted to combine JU and A3 but unfortunately their code-share agreement is extremely expensive. I looked at flying non-stop on JU with the return via Athens but the fare came out to be some €450. Thanks but no thanks.

In the end I decided to fly on Aegean, heading out on Friday and coming back on Monday. Initial price was €176 (no luggage) but when I went to book it I noticed they had a sale so the price dropped to just €153- a bargain.


We were not off to a good start. BEG airport employees are some of the worst in Europe... if not the world. They are rude, arrogant and hostile towards passengers. This is the perfect example of this phenomenon. A Turkish couple had some issues with their passport so both airport employees worked on it while the line grew and grew until it reached the very end of the departure area- all the way to the stairs/escalators. We were standing for 15 minutes like this until a guy wearing an Air Serbia tie came and started checking our passports and boarding passes. Luckily the passport control took a minute and I was in the gate area.


C gates with some modest Christmas decoration.


A couple of Russians and Pegasus taking off to SAW in the background. From what I saw, Aeroflot departed packed while Red Wings arrived with some 65 passengers.


Air Serbia has finally discovered the art of marketing.


LH times two, MUC flight was fully booked while the FRA one arrived with 156 passengers. Not bad for the last day of November.


easyJet to Berlin being pushed-back from A6 while stepmother's A319 is here for a refuelling stop on its way to the UK where it will be stored.


A gates.


A nice lounge area between gates A5 and A6 with a nice view of the planes outside.


KK A321 that went a bit too far so they had to push it back since A6 is a fixed air-bridge. In the background you can Jat Tehnika with four JU aircraft parked: 1 A332 and 3 A319.


Gates A7-A10, depressing.


It was time to go to the gate.


Our ride for today, the ten year old A320, SX-DVU. It arrived from Athens with 144 passengers and it returned with 96.



Once all passengers were seated crew went through the plane handing out candy.



By the time were were pushed-back the airport was almost completely empty. Only two aircraft remained, a Swiss A319 and ULS Cargo A310.


Communist urban planning in all of its glory.




Overflying Belgrade - Vinci's upcoming noise pollution crusade


Leaving Belgrade behind us. Pictured below is Avala where the Zrnov (Жрнов) castle used to stand until it was blown up in the 1930s so that in its place they could build the monument to the unknown soldier.




A light snack was served on this one hour flight.


Flying west of SKP


Overflying Thessaloniki, to the right you can see SKG. JU A319 was somewhere down there.



Explanation of different forms of connecting possibilities at ATH and what to expect each time.


Overflying Athens from the west... then from the south until we turned northwards and landed on the runway 03R some 40 minutes ahead of schedule.








Upon boarding our A321 to LCA I noticed this sticker which I found to be pretty cool. Especially the part where they inform you that they can warm up your baby's meal.

Conclusion:

Aegean is in my opinion a fine airline. Their crew is fantastic, friendly and overall pleasant. You can see that they pay attention to little details most other airlines ignore. Their inflight app is also great as it allows you to chat with fellow passengers, there is a wide range of music, films and various videos. They even have a section for aviation lovers where you can watch a video of the delivery process of their brand new A320s. Another is from the Athens flying week...


Flight back to Belgrade was operated by an A320 that was almost fully booked, I think there were maybe 2, 3 empty seats on the flight. We were served a cheese-spinach pie with homemade baklava.

Interestingly enough, Aegean maintained four weekly flights to BEG until the end of November. Will be interesting to see if, by the time summer comes, they add even more flights to Belgrade.

Comments

  1. Nice report. Last time I flew with Aegean was a long time ago - summer 2010, I think but I do remember on our flight Belgrade - Athens (with RJ100) we were served a full hot meal :D

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    1. Thank you! Yes, that is quite correct, back then OA had the rights to operated the route and they even planned on increasing BEG to double daily (Atr) from January 2010. Aegean snatched the rights from them but they didn't make it so in the end and the rights were handed back to OA.

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  2. Nice report Nemjee. Aegean looks good for such short flights and for European standards.

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  3. Love the pics of Belgrad! Looks really big!!

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  4. It looks more like Belgrade airport review than Aegean but still nice.

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    Replies
    1. Aren't airports also a part of the trip? :)

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  5. Thanks for the nice report, Nemjee. Great plane spotting at BEG. :)
    Regarding rudeness of the staff, I couldn't agree more. It's more depressing than the look of the A-gates. A few months ago I flew out of BEG, and was checking out the clothes in the duty free shop next to passport control. There were some Chinese people looking at an item and discussing something about it between themselves (whether to buy it, I guess), when one of the sales lady turned to the other and said quite loudly, in a rather pissed off manner: "Ne znam sta sad hoce, ne razumem ovo njihovo meketanje!" I was appalled. I think there's still a lot of leftover of that notion from decades ago that whoever works at the airport or for the airline is somehow a higher human being. I really hope Vinci recognizes this and manages to change attitudes a bit, though I'm not very optimistic.

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    1. Thank you. I agree with you, it's not even a hit or miss situation, it's just bad all over. I still haven't met a single kind and polite airport employee. Just like you, I also hope Vinci deals with this.

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  6. Great trip report :)

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  7. Thanks for the report. Good to see glimpse of their service considering how many routes in ex-Yu they will be serving next year.

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    1. They already serve a lot! BEG, SKP, TGD, DBV, SPU, ZAD, ZAG! All that's missing is SJJ.

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    2. It starts next summer :)


      https://www.exyuaviation.com/p/aegean-airlines-athens-sarajevo.html

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    3. Missed that, great news for SJJ!
      It really needs more quality European airlines instead of even more flights to Saudi Arabia.

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    4. I hope they do better than in LJU.

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  8. "Communist urban planning in all of its glory" is much better than new urban chaos in Belgrade, especially in last several years with current regime. Nice report and photos, good job!

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    1. In fact, it's modernist urban planning. The buildings pictured (blok 61-64) were made using French technology (Balency sistem).

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    2. Thank you. The only positive aspect about Communist urban planning, that's missing today, is that they took care of the actual living space by adding parks, green areas, sports fields and so on. However once these buildings are not taken care of, as is the case with Belgrade, then they can look a bit depressing... mostly in winter.

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  9. Finally a good report with more numbers and pictures and less blablalba

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  10. Nice report Aegean looks like a very decent airline with nice touches embeded in their product. I flew DTM-BEG recently and DTM, even though is a minor german airport, left much better impression on me in every aspect. BEG is rough around the edges and needs a lot of improvement and we can only hope that VINCI will bring that soon. I can only agree NBG blocks are soooo depressing.

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  11. Nice, but very negative review. I did not enjoy it completely.

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    1. Are you an BEG airport employee? :D

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    2. No, I am a student

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    3. Constructive criticism is always welcome though I don't believe the report was very negative. :)

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  12. A3 is really the true regional airline in all senses.
    Brilliant report and love the A320 sharklets, makes them super cool. I am generally an Airbus fan.

    The commie BEG blocks are a typical sight in most bigger Eastern European capitals, so no much drama, please ;) Just go to Bucharest or Budapest.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Bratislava is even worse.

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    2. No drama, it's a common sight for all those who regularly fly in and fly out of Belgrade. That said, Belgrade isn't that bad. In my opinion, Warsaw is the worst. It's just an endless sea of blocks one next to the other.

      As for the aircraft, I agree with you. Airbus is much nicer to fly on and I love the sharklets. That's why I always love to sit in the back so that I can admire them. Especially once flaps are out.

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    3. Plus we all know how you admire Greece and Cyprus :)
      No wonder why Greece is one of the most popular air destinations for Serbians.
      Shame that there are no longer LCC to Corfu.
      BEG needs to have seasonal connections to Corfu, Lesbos, Sanotorini, Chania and Kavala.
      In Turkey: Marmaris, Izmir and Bursa.

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    4. Well, Cyprus is my second home. :)
      As for flights to Greek islands, I think those will happen only when Serbs start booking independently their holidays. I don't have any numbers but I suppose a vast majority of them go via some tour operator.

      I think Bursa won't happen as SAW is not that far. That said we could use a flight to Ankara. TK did apply to operate flights but we all know why those didn't happen in the end.

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    5. Next time post PFO and why not ECN :)
      Glad that W6 will resume LCA in spring and Serbs have the possibility to visit a different warm destination.
      Hopefully FR consider BEG-PFO or BEG-CFU.

      As ADB, it is slowly becoming popular. The Poles and UKs already started operating.
      Jet2.com will expand agressively in 2019 in Turkey, Croatia and Bulgaria.

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    6. Haha PFO maybe, not ECN. A friend of mine is a pilot for KK and he told me that they have to be extra careful when landing at Ercan/Tymvou since the runway is in such a bad shape. They can't fix it as they would have to close the airport for a long period of time. Also the airport terminal is basically a glorified shack.

      BEG-CFU is more likely than BEG-PFO as the market to Cyprus isn't that big. After all, Wizz Air failed with year-round flights to LCA which is much better positioned to serve Nicosia as well. Mind you, Wizz Air really wasn't cheap to LCA... even in winter time.

      As for Turkey, unfortunately I think that bilaterals are the main issue here. We won't be seeing more (scheduled) flights until it changes.

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