TRIP REPORT: Geneva - Belgrade via Frankfurt


Written by Tomislav Ivanović

One of the most important global wine competitions, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, took place this year in Aigle (Switzerland) from May 2 until May 5. After three days of intense tastings, the organisers announced that next year's host country will be the Czech Republic and the curtains fell on this year's edition of the competition. It's time for all of the wine judges to go back home.

On May 6, 2019, check-in at Geneva Airport was hassle-free. My only concern was the umbrella which I had received as a complimentary gift from the competition sponsors. Namely, it was too large to fit into the luggage and I wasn't fully aware whether it's permitted to bring umbrellas onboard. Luckily, the staff at check-in just requested to see the pointed top of the umbrella. Since it was made of plastic and not sharp, I could bring it on board.

Boarding for flight LX1086 at gate A9 started on time (18.10h). I immediately noticed that there weren't many passengers on this leg from Geneva to Frankfurt. Several business class passengers had priority and the staff greeted them and let them board first. Afterwards, all economy passengers were requested to use self-boarding gates.

The flight was operated by an Airbus A220 (previously known as Bombardier CS300, which is obvious given that security instructions placed in the seat pocket still carry this name). I love the interior design of the aircraft. I felt quite comfortable in those seats, also taking into account that I had the whole row to myself. There were about 50 - 60 passengers on the flight.

We departed with a five minute delay (at 18.45h). The flight was rather uneventful. No turbulence and wonderful sunny weather followed us from Switzerland, however, the sky over Frankfurt was quite cloudy and grey. Flight attendants had time to give us meal boxes which contained a sandwich with cream cheese and spicy herbs and a small bottle of water. As it's common practice on board Swiss flights, passengers were offered milk chocolates  afterwards.

We landed at Frankfurt Airport at 19.55h. While we were entering the bus to be taxied to the terminal building, I cast another look at the parked beautiful craft HB-JCD.

I had to wait until 20.30h for the gate announcement for LH1410 flight to Belgrade. Eventually, the info about gate B23 appeared on the info screen. The flight was scheduled to depart at 21.50h. I often fly with this evening flight to Belgrade, and it's not my favourite. Usually, the flight is full of connecting passengers from the USA and Canada with extra luggage, which means that there is always an atmosphere of the film Who's singing over there (Ko to tamo peva): passengers are putting all sorts of bags, rucksacks and suitcases into the overhead compartments and there is never enough space so they push and press and argue in an attempt to stack everything there. I also noticed that there is a group of Serbian tourists returning from some South American destination accompanied with a tourist agency guide.

The flight was operated by an A320-214 (aircraft D-AIUP). The flight was scheduled at 21.50h, but the airport staff announced that there would be a ten minute delay as they needed extra time to prepare the aircraft given that it had just arrived from Amsterdam. Besides, I always feel there is pressure to leave on time when I am taking this flight, because Frankfurt Airport has a total ban on scheduled night flights between 23h and 5h, whilst only a limited number of flights are permitted to depart between 22h and 23h. Eventually, we departed at 22.10h.

The plane was almost entirely full. I spotted just a couple of vacant seats. For the most part, the lights were dimmed, so most passengers dozed. The only interruption was the distribution of sandwiches (poultry salami and cream cheese) and drinks. Speaking of wine, we were offered white wine Zahel Gruner Veltliner, quite nice fresh wine from a well-known Austrian winery located in Vienna. The choice of red wine included Gerard Bertrand Winery, a huge French producer with a diverse portfolio of wines from different appellations in South France. Anyhow, the red wine was a good option, predominantly fruity on the palate, without harsh tannins.

Despite the initial delay, the flight landed at Belgrade Airport on time, at 23.45h. Light rain outside and only seven degrees Celsius. The majority of passengers in the airport corridors were Chinese tourists waiting for their flight to Moscow. The luggage arrived quickly. This time, customs officers were absent so there was no stalking in the green zone.

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  1. Anonymous09:32

    Nice trip report. That disastrous LF to FRA probably made the flight more comfortable.

    By the way, I think the evening FRA fligth is mostly used by European, Asian and Latin American connections. USA and Canada mostly arrives to BEG on the morning flight. :)

  2. Thanks for the nice report.
    Always good service on-board SWISS, and it costs just pennies to look good.
    LH evening flight from FRA to Belgrade is one I absolutely hate but I am forced to take it regularly.

    1. Anonymous12:04

      Why do you hate it?

    2. It is regularly full to last seat. Sometimes boarding is by bus. There is never enough space in overhead compartments (LH light tariffs+full plane) as illustrated in trip report… plus all staff is nervous about departing before the curfew.

    3. Anonymous17:49

      Look on the bright side, at least you know it won't be delayed unlike their morning flight which is always late. Horrible airline.

    4. Well described, MM...hehehe...

  3. Anonymous14:25

    I see Lufthansa now has 5 daily flights to Belgrade on A320 family. That's almost as much as Wizz Air has with 2 A320 based in Belgrade, no?

  4. Anonymous15:18

    I am liking more and more this new C series jet!

    Too bad it's a bit out of range for most Balkan airlines....oh well, dreaming is still free:)

    1. Anonymous18:49

      Very noisy cabin from the airconditioning, very cheap made quality, gasper outlets brake very easy, noisy engines during taxi, big windows, big toilets, small useless screens, recline is a joke, good seat pitch....
      My opinion about the CSeries

    2. Anonymous23:19

      In 10 years that has been available for orders, only a handful of airlines (not including leasing companies) ordered C series/A220. Out of top 10 global airlines, only one (Delta) ordered it (LH ordered it for Swiss, but not for LH brand that's in top 10. A220 is a very nice plane, but ordering it is "out of range" for most airlines around the world, and Balkan has nothing to do with it. Think again.

    3. Anonymous00:34

      I agree that orders didn't start off great during the early stages or pre-production but hopefully Airbus taking over the control of the program will change that. Yes, major airlines are lacking behind, when it comes to orders other then Delta, Air Canada, Korean and Swiss it needs more bigger players. Currently it has 500 orders on paper, with just over 60 delivered....hopefully it won't turn out like the A380 project.

      As far as interior comments above, I guess I'll just have to try it first before I say anything:)

  5. Anonymous15:19

    money wise....that is.

  6. Anonymous16:15

    Does anyone know why Via Air (operated by Onur Air A321) operated a flight from Belgrade to Marsa Alam in Egypt? They didn't have a gate assigned in BEG.

    1. Anonymous21:02

      It probably took migrants back.

    2. Anonymous09:02

      Vallair not Via Air >> plane TC-OEA


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