Travelling amid a pandemic from New York to Belgrade


Flight: JU501
Aircraft: A330-200 (YU-ARA)
Date: September 14, 2020

Following on from my previous Air Serbia experience from Belgrade to New York, here is a short review of the return flight from New York to Belgrade.

Air Serbia uses Terminal 4 at JFK. Upon entry, it seemed as if it was the only airline performing check in at the time. There were quite a few people at the counters. I noticed that one of the check-in ladies spoke fluent Serbian, which was a nice touch considering many people had overweight baggage and had to pay extra, but they all seemed to oblige.

I checked in quickly and was told that the lounge was not working due to corona. Air Serbia uses the Etihad lounge, which I think has been outsourced recently but it’s still only used by Etihad and Air Serbia. There was no one at security, so I passed through quickly.

T4 was deserted. Many shops are still closed and there were just a few Delta flights departing at the time.

Our A330 had already arrived a few hours earlier from Belgrade and was parked next to a LATAM B787. 

I reached the gate, and everything was ready for boarding. Shortly after, families with children and business class passengers were asked to board. At the entrance of the plane one of the cabin crew members was holding a tray with complimentary masks, although everyone had one on already.

I won’t spend too much time describing the seat as I already did before. Again, waiting for each passenger was a pillow, blanket, bottle of water, noise cancelling headphones and amenity kit. As I took my seat, the crew came around to ask me if I wanted a welcome drink and also gave me a disinfectant wipe. The amenity kit contains a sleep pack, care pack, ear plugs, toothbrush and some creams. The good feature about the cabin, which differs from others with a similar set up, is that there are overhead bins in the middle aisle as well, so if you are seated in the far right aisle you have the option of using the overhead bins both above your aisle and the middle one.

There were around ten passengers in the business class cabin. I forgot to check how many people were in economy. Before departure, the crew also took the meal and drink orders and asked at what time each passenger would like to eat. The menu was as follows:

Again, there were no menus in the seat, I guess because of corona. The menu can be found online and the crew informed each passenger of the meal choices. In the seat one can find the inflight magazine, Wifi instructions card and the safety card.

After some general flight info from our pilot, the safety demonstration was played on the video screens and we pushed back on time, heading to Belgrade.

After departure, the crew served the pre-ordered drink and some warms mixed nuts. Shortly after the crew also served lunch, as I decided to eat after departure. A plate of cold cuts or Serbian mezze with cheese pita was served as a starter. Afterwards, for the main, I chose the fish which was delicious, and the desert consisted of a cheesecake which was also great. Coffee was served with "orasnica" cookies, which were nice too.

As mentioned in my previous report, the entertainment system was nothing special. Most passengers decided to sleep as it was getting dark outside. The crew came around to ask if the passengers wanted their seats made up for sleeping. They put a cover/mattress over the seats and arranged the blanket and pillow, which is a nice touch. The lights in the cabin were dimmed.

I woke up around 50 minutes prior to landing and one of the cabin crew members came right over to ask me if I wanted anything to eat or drink prior to landing. I wasn’t hungry so I passed.

We landed in Belgrade some 40 minutes ahead of scheduled, at about 4.50 AM. We parked at the gate quickly and I headed towards passport control, which was empty at this time, as was the baggage claim area. There was only an Air Cairo flight from Hurghada that had arrived before us, but those passengers seemed to have already cleared the airport.

Overall, Air Serbia provided really good service again, like on the outbound flight. Considering the circumstances, there were no cutbacks in meal service, crew was pleasant, and the policy of wearing masks was followed by crew and passengers.

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  1. Anonymous09:19

    Love JU and it's great to see them do well in New york.

  2. Anonymous09:23

    Very detailed flight report !
    How were the loads in economy ?

  3. Anonymous10:10

    For the main meal having only fish as the non vegeterian option is big fail.

    1. Anonymous10:11

      Just because it's not printed on that menu doesn't mean it is not available. Air Serbia offers a range of other meals including other meat based meals you can also select at the time of booking.

    2. Anonymous12:20

      So why is not printed then?

    3. Anonymous12:56

      Because you have to order it in advance of the flight, as with every other airline in the world.

    4. Anonymous13:01

      When booking a flight there is a clear indication of where you can book a special meal. It's not Air Serbia's fault for certain people's superficiality.

    5. Anonymous13:07

      It is not true. Many airlines are printing 3 options on the menu in business class. Only vegan/kosher/halal options are not printed but are pre oredered. I dont know why JU is not doing this (on this reported flights).

    6. Anonymous13:12

      I Agree with anon 13:07. Last time i flew with them they had 2 non vegeterian options, fish (salmon i think) and meat (beef) so i do not understand why they excluded it from the list if they had it as repoted. Here is link for one trip report where chinken and salmon were printed on menu:

    7. Anonymous17:28

      Covid reduced options to minimum at many airlines including Turkish. Air Serbia is far above it with service. Other than regular, vegan, kosher and other special meals Air Serbia allows ordering additional level of meals:

  4. Anonymous10:46

    Thanks again for the great report!

  5. Anonymous11:04

    When will that tail finally be repainted?

    1. Anonymous13:02

      I agree, I also can't wait for the proud Serbian two headed eagle to be brought back. It's a beautifully designed symbol of or long, rich and proud history.

    2. Anonymous13:26

      Air Serbia has a gorgeous livery, one of the most beautiful in the world.

    3. Anonymous13:35

      Honestly, this current is not so bad on A330. It is not like the original is the most supperior on the world.

    4. Anonymous11:25

      The original livery needs to be tweaked to be perfect. I am proud to see it but there are numerous items that needs to be updated. Engine design should be horizontal blue and red, should be made balanced and aligned with the tail design. The typeface for the JU logo is... let's say "questionable" + italic (yikes!).

      The "Serbia Creates" idea could be promoted, it makes sense, but only if at least one narrow body aircraft would carry it as well... or if there are at least two A332s in the fleet so that one can remain in full livery, and the other carrying the special one.


    5. Anonymous11:54

      Actually the engines could remain as well white with the dark blue logo on top of it aka AF or Iran Air.

    6. Anonymous11:58

      Some were half-painted and it looked better than this childish drawing.

  6. Anonymous15:53

    Thank you for great report!

    Did you have to take off the masks on security and passport control?

    1. Author19:52

      Thanks. Yes they ask you too.

  7. Anonymous01:57

    No one check's your temperature in NY or Belgrade nor does anyone ask any questions related to covid. It's as if there's no pandemic. You get a feeling that everything is normal. One of my family members just flew this route.

    1. Author03:13

      You pass through infrared cameras upon arrival in Belgrade where your temperature is checked. You also have to fill out a corona form upon landing in the US.

    2. Anonymous13:07

      Fuck the plandemic.

  8. Nemjee06:38

    BEG-JFK this morning has 10 in business and 225 in economy. There are 66 transfers from Tirana, 17 from Skopje, 4 from Zagreb, 5 from Tivat and so on. Hopefully this good performance continues into the winter season. Most passengers in JFK continue to Tampa, 13 of them.

    1. Anonymous11:02

      So much for some saying how JFK flights are running empty.


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