TRIP REPORT: Brussels Airlines, Brussels - Ljubljana


Written by Matjaž Nose

It seems odd, but Ljubljana is the only destination in the ex-Yu region served by Brussels Airlines at the moment. A319 aircraft is used to serve this route almost exclusively, though occasionally A320 heads to Ljubljana too. The following airplane took me home from Brussels on one Sunday afternoon in November:

Brussels (BRU) - Ljubljana (LJU)
Flight number: SN3343
Flight date: 21 November 2021
Aircraft type: A319-111
Aircraft registration: OO-SSW
Departure time: 14:00
Arrival time: 15:40
Seat: 11F

When I booked my return ticket from Ljubljana to Brussels I opted for an Economy Light class fare, without hold luggage. I bought it one month in advance, total cost was €112. In this trip report I am going to describe my flight experience on the return BRU-LJU flight and give you some information on Brussels Airlines, an interesting carrier focused mainly on European and African destinations. They currently have an all-Airbus fleet of 40 aircraft. These include a mix of A319s and A320s, which cruise the European and nearby skies, while their wide-body A330 airplanes depart towards North America and Africa daily. If you decide to visit Africa, do not forget to check Brussels Airlines options too since they also fly to less known African destinations within Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, Benin, Angola, Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda among others, usually combining two African cities in one rotation from Brussels. The flights bound for Africa depart Brussels in the morning, between 10am and noon, and arrive to African destinations late in the afternoon the same day before returning to Brussels during the night, landing in the early hours of the next day (5am - 7am). My first flight experience with Brussels Airlines was actually their long-haul flight to Dakar a few years ago when I spent my miles from the Miles & More programme for a return ticket to the Senegalese capital. It was a pleasant experience but let me focus on my recent Brussels-Ljubljana flight.

Some two weeks before departure, Brussels Airlines sent me an offer to bid for the upgrade to business class. The minimum bid for OW flight was €95 (“poor offer”), maximum was €200 (“excellent offer” according to Brussels Airlines remark). Of course, I opted for ''excellent option'' for me so I did not bid at all. It seems ridiculous to me paying €95 - €200 to upgrade on a flight lasting approximately an hour!

A day before departure I checked in online. Seats were assigned automatically, and you are not able to change them for free. It was also not possible to print out the boarding passes and head straight to security check. I had to pick up my boarding passes at the check-in counters where they also checked Covid related documents requested by the destination country.

Flying to Belgium, I had to fill in the passenger locator form in advance and have it with me before I was issued a boarding pass to Brussels.

On the Sunday when I flew back to Ljubljana it was cloudy. I took a train (€9.10) from the centre of Brussels to Brussels-Zaventem airport. Immediately upon arrival to the airport I got a greeting from the nearby departures screen - a free 40-minute delay upgrade for all passengers bound for Ljubljana! Surprisingly the check-in area was not crowded, and I managed to get my boarding pass within a few minutes and headed towards the security check area.

Brussels airport is located some 12 km northeast of Brussels. It is a compact, easy to navigate airport where all facilities are located under a single roof. There are two piers. Pier A is mostly used for flights within the Schengen area while pier B serves non-Schengen destinations.

Entrance to the terminal from the train station

Aircraft at pier A - Iberia's wide-body A330 bound for Madrid

Icelandair departing to Reykjavik, Lufthansa preparing for departure to Munich

If you want to visit the Smurf country, please contact your nearest Brussels Airlines office

My gate A53 was located in pier A and with a generous 40-minute delay I had more than enough time to explore the airport, do some shopping and have lunch. Two words that describe Brussels airport best are beers & chocolates. You can find a lot of shops selling different kinds of chocolate products and beers, there is even a vending machine selling beer cans exclusively.

The aircraft heading to Ljubljana was a 14-year-old A319 registered OO-SSW which started its flying career in Iberia's livery years ago. Interestingly, Brussels Airlines has decided to change its existing standard livery. The dotted letter ''b'' found on the tails of its aircraft made way for 9 red dots of different sizes which form a square. Explanation: since no dot is alike, the new brand identity represents the diversity of its passengers, destinations and employees. When I saw their first aircraft (OO-SSO) in the new livery it reminded me of Croatia Airlines, especially the tail section looks very similar. The first aircraft in the new livery operated its first scheduled flight on November 19 to Geneva and back, the second rotation being Ljubljana's afternoon set of flights operated on the same day.

The inbound flight from Marseille landed some ten minutes before 2pm, they needed half an hour to prepare the airplane for the LJU flight. Boarding started at around twenty minutes past 2pm and it was soon completed. The airplane was half full or half empty as you wish. During check-in I was assigned a slimline 11F window seat with surprisingly good leg room.

There is no free meal service on board, not even a cup of water, but you can buy snacks and drinks advertised in the Onboard Menu. No cash is accepted, you can only pay using credit cards. Masks were obligatory during the whole flight, upon boarding we were given disinfecting wipes.

It was a pleasant flight lasting an hour and a half before we landed at around 4pm. I will definitely fly with this airline again, next time hopefully somewhere in Africa again.

Airplane bound for LJU

Old and new arrangement of red dots for the livery


The end of the journey & this trip report

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  1. Anonymous09:04

    Great report and thanks for all the photos.

  2. Anonymous09:05

    It's crazy how it has become acceptable for European legacies not to even offer free water. Thanks for the report!

  3. Replies
    1. Matjaz-N11:49

      According to my estimation LF was around 50-60%

  4. Very nice report and nice sense of humour 🙂 Pitty onboard experience became bus drive-like but your travelling excitement is still there, it keeps reader's attention to the end. Thx!

  5. JU520 BEGLAX11:10

    Thanks for the report and all the photos. That in Y not even a bottle of water is handed over, just shows the humanity and characteristic of todays business world. Cold, arrogant and rip offs to fill the pockets of the rich.

    Other point which angers me and is good to see on yr LJU AP photo: Gate A1 has no jetbridge. I hve no understanding for an airport who builds a new terminal with an additional gate, but cant install the jetbridge.

    If I see how well Belgrade is being expanded, we def. have the wrong owner in LJU. Cost control is good and important, but this example has more to do with stinginess than cost control.

    1. Almost all airlines in Europe stopped free beverages / water. You also dont get a free drink in a train or bus, so why should you get it in the plane`?

  6. Anonymous12:35

    "Of course, I opted for ''excellent option'' for me so I did not bid at all."

    Haha. Great report. Thx

  7. Anonymous13:06

    They have definitely copied OU with the new tail design.

  8. Anonymous22:25

    Why should anyone get a free bottle of water on a short 90 minute flight? Since when did a bus, coach or rail service provide this?

  9. Anonymous08:20

    Very nice report. The new SN livery is a copy of OU. I also dislike Brussels. Some of its areas are quite dodgy. Belgium itself is a weird country. Prefer Netherlands 100 times.

  10. Anonymous21:55

    Indeed one in the top 10 trip reports so far. Thanks for sharing


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