TRIP REPORT: Lufthansa, Belgrade - Madrid via Frankfurt


I recently flew from Belgrade to Madrid with Lufthansa as it was the only viable choice for me. I needed to be in Madrid at a particular time, so I booked Belgrade - Munich - Madrid, the alternative was Belgrade - Frankfurt - Madrid, however it was more expensive than the Munich one. Economy was sold out on both flights to I purchased a business class ticket as I had no other choice.

My Munich flight was scheduled to leave Belgrade at around 7AM. I arrived at the airport at 5AM and it was extremely busy since it was the time of Air Serbia’s morning wave. When I arrived at check-in, the agent just told me: “You will be arriving in Madrid at 7.05PM”. I told her this was not correct since I should be arriving at 12.15PM. She didn’t say anything and then the supervisor came and simply said: “You are going via Frankfurt”. After I told him I’m booked via Munich he finally explained that the Munich flights would be late an hour and a half for departure, which would make me miss my connection, and that they will put me on the Frankfurt flight so I could catch the Madrid flight and arrive at 12. I was fine with that, I didn’t really mind although I was surprised Munich would be delayed since the aircraft arrived the evening before in Belgrade and when I saw the plane parked at the stand across the terminal there was no one around it so I doubt it was a technical issue, perhaps crew duty times were exceeded the night before, since they have a layover in Belgrade.

Due to the new routing, my flight was departing at around 6AM so I went straight to the gate. There was no time to visit the lounge. The Belgrade Airport Business Club has finally reopened. The flight was departing from one of the old A gates which are small and cramped. Our plane was an A321neo so there was no space for people to fit inside the gate area. The airport is a construction site. Thankfully, near the A1 - A4 gates which they are expanding and renovating, they put portable air-conditioning units, so it is no longer hot in this area since they had to shut the central air-conditioning in this section. Especially useful since we have had early mornings with temperatures already at 30C.

From the gate area it was obvious that most passengers were of Indian descent and had spent a few weeks in Belgrade as a “safe” country in order to reach their final destination. Since Lufthansa reads out the connecting flights on board, I realised most were going to Canada.

I boarded the flight and there was a nice male and female crew member greeting everyone in Serbian upon boarding. Everyone was given a disinfectant wipe upon entering the plane and some were given masks if they didn’t have the appropriate one on. The business class section had 7 rows for this flight, and I would say over 90% of passengers were Indian in the cabin. The flight was packed.

The seats are standard economy class with the middle seat blocked. A nice touch was that they had charging ports underneath the seat. We departed on time and as soon as we took off, the crew started work. They served everyone a meal, which were some cold cuts and yoghurt. Afterwards tea, coffee and some chocolate was served. The crew was very friendly and nice.

We landed in Frankfurt on time, and we arrived at the gate only to wait there for 15 minutes. The crew member came over the PA to say that we are waiting because there are no workers to mount the air bridge onto the plane and added that Frankfurt is always “a bit of a mess”. After 15 minutes had passed, they brought the stairs at the back of the plane for us to disembark. We all crammed into busses (making the exiting by rows due to corona completely useless) and we were driven to the terminal.

We all had to pass passport control as we were arriving form a non-Schengen country. Passport control agents in Germany were as usual extremely unpolite, cold and made sure you felt as if you were coming from some third world country with their usual interrogating questions. The terminal in Frankfurt was very busy. I had around an hour until my flight, so I proceeded to the gate. It was another A321 but not the neo version.

On this flight the crew was also again extremely polite and friendly. Unlike on the Belgrade flight, a menu was issued on this one. The food was good, and we landed in Madrid with a bit of a delay, as we departed late. I noticed there were another two people from Belgrade travelling on the Madrid flight. 

As we landed, I got a message on my phone from Lufthansa that my baggage was not loaded onto the flight, so I went straight to the lost and found. I filled up the form and was given a phone number to call in case I needed to as well as a website to track the bag. I went to the site and the luggage information was not updated once, even when I finally got my bag. It took 3 days for the bag to arrive even though there are multiple flights to Madrid from Frankfurt. I called the phone number given and had to deal with some really rude Spanish staff from Lufthansa. Whenever I called, I was calm and collected but at one point a lady from the call centre started yelling at me that I shouldn’t call anymore and that the bag will arrive when it arrives. I simply told her not to be rude and that it wasn’t me that lost the bag but the company she works for and she just hung up. I called again, got the same lady and I asked her to put me through to someone who actually wanted to give me some information and not hang up on me. At that point she became polite and told me that the bag wasn’t lost in Frankfurt but that it was never loaded in Belgrade. I can’t believe that they could not have been bothered to load the bag on any of the other Lufthansa flights on the day of my departure (there were another 3 flights that day) or any subsequent day. I got the bag after three days of my 4 day stay. I had to buy some things while I was there and upon returning home, I submitted the receipts as I was told by Lufthansa. To my surprise, I was refunded the cost of the things I purchased within 3 days (it took longer for the bag to arrive).
Hope you enjoyed reading this trip report!

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  1. Anonymous09:34

    My friend, this sounds like a nightmare from start to finish. To be honest, everybody bashing on Wizz Air and Ryan Air should read one or two of these reports and they'll realize that "legacy carriers" are just held together by duct tape. I've faced similar problems with the Middle Eastern carriers, and all I can say is that a bunch of monkeys would run an airline better.

    Also, I see you ended up in YC on the BEG-FRA leg? Did you at least get refunded for the downgrade? Or I'm seeing wrong, and that's actually JC?

    1. Anonymous10:18

      It doesn't look as like the person got downgraded. Where did you get that impression?

  2. Anonymous10:27

    Hey Admin?! You made a mistake in the headline, it is not via Frankfurt but via Munich

    1. Anonymous10:32

      You might want to read the report past the first sentence...

    2. Anonymous12:12

      I love these people who insist on commenting but don't read the report.

  3. Anonymous12:15

    Interesting flights, you were generally not bored :) It is nice that you got refund so quickly, because there are a lot of companies in Serbian market that do not refund for long delays and lost baggage. Thanks for sharing .

  4. Anonymous14:18

    Thank you for the report. Three days for Lufthansa to find and return your baggage is a shame. Third world airlines have better results.

  5. JU520 BEGLAX17:22

    Western neoliberal business practise at it's best. Arrogance and no service and this even for a Business class passenger. Pride comes before a fall. Now you know why. I am born and grown in up in Switzerland but what I see today while doing business within Europe, US, Eastern Europe, ME or Asia. Europe and US in terms of quality going downwards, Eastern Europe, ME and Asia going upwards. Neoliberal regime is hurting Europe badly. The top 5% are living excellent, the middle class is shrinking and financially stagnating or loosing ground, the bottom level of the society gets thru poorly or with taxpayers money. Neoliberal means, that the top management salaries are superb, in the US crazy high and sametime there is not enough funds around to invest for decent customer service quality. A shame for the western world and there is nothing we hve to be proud or arrogant, not in this manner. I feel this daily in my work and it angers me everytime I notice it. I am really sorry u experienced this.

    Btw the meal fm FRA to MAD does not really looks inviting.

    1. Anonymous08:27

      You sound jealous as you can't afford to fly Business class!

    2. Anonymous16:03

      Yeah, that's it.

  6. Thanx for detailed trip report. You Paid more money for nothing. It would be better to fly with Ryanair.

  7. Prepelica08:44

    Unfortunately, I had a fair shair of airtravel mishaps in the last 10 years and I must admit, it was by far the best experience having to deal with Lufthansa staff compared to others, even their partners from Star Alliance (United was quite horrible). That's why for the last 6-7 years I was using Lufthansa as much as possible, even if they were slightly more expensive compared to others. Whenever I had a problem (and few times they were caused purely by my mistakes) I was happy with the way how Lufthansa handled the issue. I only hope that they will shift focus to MUC, because FRA is a horrible airport.


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