Travelling amid a pandemic from Belgrade to Dubai


Flight: FZ1746 (Flydubai)
Route: Belgrade - Dubai
Trip date: July 9, 2020
Equipment: Boeing 737-800

Belgrade Airport was relatively quiet for early July, although there was lots of construction going on both inside and out. Terminal 1 is currently not in use, so all airlines, Flydubai included, were conducting check in at Terminal 2. At the time I arrived at the airport, passengers were checking in for a Wizz Air flight to London, Aegean Airlines flight to Athens, Aeroflot to Moscow and the Flydubai flight to Dubai. The Air Serbia check in desks were empty as most of their flights were departing right at that moment.

There was a delay at check-in as there was an issue with processing passports, so all had to be scanned, sent to Flydubai’s office in Belgrade and then apparently approved by the UAE, however, the issue was quickly fixed and passengers were able to complete their check-in formalities. It was interesting to hear many foreign languages at check-in for this flight - Russian, Macedonian, Hungarian and Arabic, along with Serbian of course.

Belgrade Airport was very quiet at midday, with the departure board already displaying flights for the following day. There was a lot of construction work going on inside the terminal so some areas were closed off as a result.

Masks inside the terminal are mandatory. The Flydubai flight landed on time and a lot of passengers seemed to disembark. However, our flight was delayed around 45 minutes, apparently due to more stringent cleaning measures of the aircraft.

Business class passengers and those with small children were invited to board first. The crew were wearing a protective gown, masks, glasses and gloves. Boarding was completed quickly and as the station manager walked in before the doors were closed she told the crew member there were 47 passenger on board. There were four of us in business class plus two pilots who were at the controls on the outbound service, so each passenger had a free seat next to them. Interestingly, the three other passengers in business were all continuing to Abu Dhabi. Just before pushback, a Transavia B737 parked next to us.

Service began shortly after takeoff and I was surprised that there were no cuts whatsoever. In fact, all economy passengers even received a complimentary meal, which was not the case before. The tv screens were not working, although this was indicated in an e-mail from the airline before the flight, which suggested you bring a book. They didn’t work before either, so it’s no big difference. However, the on board Wi-Fi worked really well and was fast, although a bit pricey.

The leather seats are comfy and there is sufficient legroom. Furthermore, there was a packaged blanket on each seat. The crew sprang into action immediately after the seat belt sign was switched off. Of course, everyone had to wear masks throughout the flight, except while eating and drinking. The crew first issued a Covid form that had to be filled out and handed in Dubai. Then, snacks such as crisps and nuts were offered, and the menu was distributed. There were three meal choices. I chose the chicken and it was tasty. A sanitizing wipe was also provided to all passengers, as well as a bottle of water. There was a full drinks menu too, with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

The meals were cleared quickly after each passenger finished and I spent most of the flight reading. The crew asked if passengers wanted coffee or tea during the flight. Around an hour and a half before landing, a second meal service began. Passengers were offered a hot wrap with chicken, chicken and moussaka, or vegetables, along with drinks. Not bad for a hybrid airline. An immigration fast-track card was also issued.

We landed in Dubai almost on time, despite the delay in departure. It was quite sad to see so many parked planes around. As we were taxiing to the stand, I even noticed Flydubai’s B737 MAX jets parked with their engines fully open.

There was a bus for business class passengers, and we were taken to the terminal which was deserted. There was no one there other than staff. After immigration, all incoming passengers were directed to an area in the baggage claim hall to register their details such as name, passport and phone number. We were then given a small test tube and asked to proceed to Covid testing. Despite almost all passengers on the flight having already taken a test in Belgrade or their home city, we were told that it didn’t matter (they didn’t even ask for those). Although it might sound like a logistical nightmare, the process was amazingly quick and easy. There were at least thirty people working at the testing area. They took a nasal swab and passengers were free to proceed to pick up their luggage. Upon exit passengers are to leave the form they filled out on the plane and are told to stay at their accommodation until they are informed about their covid test result. You get an SMS but you can also check the result online. Our plane arrived at around 21.45 local time. The next morning I received the message of my negative test.

The experience with Flydubai was surprisingly hassle free and comfortable even in the era of corona. The light loads and empty airport probably helped make it a more seamless journey.

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  1. Anonymous09:12

    Great report. Thanks for the photos. The service looks great! Nice that they didn't use covid as an excuse to cut costs.

    1. Anonymous09:15

      They did however used it (Covid) as an excuse to triple the ticket prices and constantly cancel and reschedule their flights :)

      Nice report!

  2. Anonymous10:14

    Wonderful report

  3. Anonymous12:42

    Congrats on how they organized things. Looks like a very decent product for half LCC airline.

  4. Anonymous12:44

    and then Turkish Airline says how they can only serve water in business class because of corona. Yeah right. Nice to see some airlines didn't go down that road.

  5. This is so helpful. Thank you for the pictures

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.


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