TRIP REPORT: Air Serbia, Berlin - Belgrade and back


Written by Miloš Milaković

For the first time since the pandemic, I decided to travel to Serbia by plane instead of by car. I purchased the tickets at the end of February and the outbound flight was scheduled for the 15th of April. Later, I had to change my flight dates, so the outbound flight was on Thursday 21st of April while the return flight was on Monday, 9th of May. The total price was 250 euros for a return ticket with luggage included. Before the pandemic, the route was maintained by Air Serbia and easyJet, but the latter has withdrawn from the route (and announced further cuts in its Berlin base to only 11 aircraft). Therefore, nowadays, Air Serbia has between 4 to 6 flights per week on the route.

Since Berlin is connected with most ex-Yu airports (before the pandemic, I think Zagreb was the only one without nonstop flight, even Banja Luka, Tuzla and Niš had flights to Berlin) I decided to check and compare prices to other cities with different companies. Belgrade was the only option for me, but I did it just for analysis.

* prices with luggage

This comparison is interesting for me because there are a lot of people saying that Air Serbia is too expensive and that LCC companies are much cheaper, which is absolutely not true in most cases.

My flight was scheduled for 9:45 AM so I went to the new BER airport quite early because of a few reasons. The first one is my own negative experience with waiting time at the security check at the airport and the second one was an official announcement from the airport that they are facing staff shortages. I used the Flughafen Express (Airport Express) train line from the S Ostkreuz station to reach the airport. The ride takes around 15-20 minutes to BER Terminals 1 and 2.

It takes only a couple of minutes from the underground train station to the check-in desks. For my flight, JU351, desks 524-526 (2 for economy and one for business) were assigned and I headed to them. The line wasn't that long and most of the passengers were Serbians headed to spend Orthodox Easter with their families at home. More than half of the people were young ones in their 20s or 30s and quite some families with small children.

I noticed several people speaking Russian and one of them confirmed to me that he is traveling to Moscow via Belgrade. It took around 25 minutes to get my boarding pass and drop off my luggage. It was possible to hand over hand luggage for free, so I chose to do that. BER is one of the airports where you can’t do online check-in for the Air Serbia flights.

The new BER airport has several security checkpoints, so I headed to the closest one, control point 5. To be honest, all of them are the same and super inefficient with a weird distribution of people to the SD control. It is always required that one employee takes care of the line because people aren’t sure how to use it. And believe me, it’s not logical at all. Many of my friends and colleagues are complaining about it as well.

This happens all the time (image below). At some point, the line breaks up into 2 lines. One for the left 4 counters and the right for the other 4 counters. But people just wait in the one (only for the left counters in this case) and that leads to some people skipping the line because there are fewer people in the line for the right 4 counters. To be fair, this time I didn’t notice that many people skipping the line but on my previous flights from BER that was the case. Anyway, the point is that if you have to explain to the people how to use queue line then the solution and the implementation are far from good. In the end, it took me almost 40 minutes to pass the security check.

Meanwhile, gate C06 was assigned for our flight. After passing through the duty-free shop I went to passport control. There was almost no one at passport control so it was really fast. C and D gates are reserved for destinations outside of the Schengen zone, which now includes the UK. Overall, it was almost completely empty as there weren't too many flights.

​​This time I travelled with the Airbus A319 with the registration YU-APC, with the name Novak Djokovic. That was the first rotation that day for the plane, which operated its last flight to Paris the day before.

Boarding started 35 minutes before departure, so we took off on time. Unfortunately, due to bad weather conditions, I don’t have good images from the runway. The flight itself was quite calm and without anything unusual. The flight attendants handed water and Toto cookies to the passengers as usual on Air Serbia flights.

I don’t know the exact LF but would say it was more than 70%.

The Elevate magazine had some interesting topics and the one about the history of aviation in the Kingdom of Serbia and later Yugoslavia was quite interesting for me. I didn’t know that the Kingdom of Serbia was the fifth country in the world with laws for aviation transport.

We landed in Belgrade around 11:35, a few minutes later than planned I think. We parked at the new C terminal, next to Air Serbia’s the only A330 named after Nikola Tesla.

The flight was just a few days after the new part of the C terminal at Belgrade Airport was opened. We headed to the floor for arriving passengers and at the end of that floor 2 hostesses were giving presents to all arriving passengers.

Passport control was quite fast, and luggage was already waiting for us. Unfortunately, I don’t have any images from the outside of the airport mostly because I found myself lost. The situation was a bit chaotic in front of arrivals with so many people waiting for passengers in a very small area. The parking area is under huge reconstruction, so I wanted to come to the car as soon as possible.


The return flight was scheduled for Monday 9th of May at 7:10 in the morning. I arrived at the airport 2 hours before departure. As I checked-in online, I quickly handed over my luggage and headed to security and passport control. It was the first time that I used central security control at BEG. Overall experience was quite good. It took me only a few minutes to pass it. I have to emphasise that it is quite convenient that passengers are not asked anymore to take out their laptops to the separate box. It makes the process way faster.

It took me 20 minutes from the entrance to the airport until I was in the Duty Free Shop. It is much better than before, and I would like to underline that the offer of the local drink rakija is very good.

I found out that the Berlin flight was assigned to the C10 gate.

It seems to me that some little things are not finished at the new C terminal, which spoils the impression a bit. The biggest issue is lack of the food options. Especially in the morning since Hleb & Kifle opens at 6 am, so basically before that time you have only Kapital bar Lounge as an option if you want to eat something. In general, not enough for such a big airport. I’ve seen that some Bistro is preparing for opening inside new C terminal so that might be helpful. Additionally, the impression is spoiled by dirty windows facing the parking lot.​​​​

A330 Nikola Tesla again:

​​Again I flew with Airbus A319 named after Novak Djokovic. I slept almost the entire flight and the flight itself was uneventful. The load factor was similar to the first flight (around 60-70%) based on a personal estimate. The interesting thing was that the VK Crvena Zvezda team was on the flight, probably going to CL match with Spandau in Berlin.


As usual, the AirSerbia service was as expected and quite good. Even when easyJet was present on the route I preferred flying with Air Serbia as I found their service much better on the given route.

Regarding the airports themselves, I have mixed emotions. The BER building itself is of course much bigger, and more convenient for passengers. Also, the materials used inside are way more pleasant for the eyes than in Belgrade. On the other side, service is much more convenient and faster at BEG which is as important as the quality of the building itself.

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  1. Anonymous09:44

    Thank you for the report. I have had very similar experience at BER, passenger flows were somehow inefficient & confusing, although the airport layout seems simple.We also had a member of staff who had to direct us to the empty security line. Almost none got it intuitively. The check in was also inefficient, we waited for more then an hour, the lady at the check in had to ask her colleague for help with almost everything and everybody. Something needs to improve there if possible. As for BEG, yes the arrival hall is chaos at the mo and the windows were smudgy, but it's still a construction site.

  2. Anonymous10:19

    Skupa je to karta za tako mali LF.

    1. Anonymous10:27

      Може им се.

    2. Anonymous11:15

      Again, what is expensive or not is personal impression and very relative. Whether AirSerbia has higher prices or not, you could see by comparing the other fares author gave.
      I totally agree that low-cost is not always cheaper and it is certainly not cheap if you compare same tariffs (return flight with hand luggage). Of course those famous 9€ tickets are synonym for low-cost, but unfortunately they are very limited.

  3. Anonymous10:27

    Good news is that from the 11th Germany is dropping all entry restrictions from Serbia. Hopefully loads pick up even more.

  4. Anonymous11:36

    While easyJet was on the route, you could find Berlin for 100€ (no luggage).
    Proves once again that they’re just waiting to hike the prices up once they’re left without competition.

    1. Anonymous12:28

      @ 12:12

      Quite so. It’s running us all into the ground.

    2. Anonymous17:41

      @12:12 You're edgy, but right. That's a market game though, and when unregulated, you loose on comfort, dignity and soon enough national carriers get lost (which we know can be very useful as shown by the pandemic and Air Serbia). A better practice would be asking yourself why are 50-100 euros a big difference to pay for a ticket and why am I so poor. The reason lays somewhere around with O'Leary's fantasies on charging toilet access.

    3. Anonymous23:38

      >> Proves once again that they’re just waiting to hike the prices up once they’re left without competition.

      Ahh if you just bothered to read this great trip report! It talks about five Berlin routes by LCCs, three of those more expensive than Air Serbia, two cheaper. Most if not all of those LCC routes are without competition!

  5. With the price of gasoline today I'm sure flying is the better option.

  6. Anonymous14:41

    During that time period was the Catholic and Orthodox Easter periods so this is why the prices were crazy. Although TGD was a better option.
    FR used to fly daily to SOF before the pandemic and now 5 weekly. Sadly, they kicked off easyJet on the route.
    Nice report. BER looks modern but quite outdated at the same time. Good to see BEG undergoing so many changes. It should be a construction site but all of this is temporary for sure.
    LF was okayish though there were quite a number of empty seats in the front right if you zoom the photo. With crazy rates like this, I think BEG deserves a second option to BER - either W6 or U2.

    1. Anonymous15:37

      W6 could make it work, they know how to cope with JU on the same route. Afterall they go after another type of pax.

    2. Anonymous19:02

      Exactly. I think they are doing quite well in BER.

  7. Anonymous15:41

    Flew from BER to BEG in April , one way, 60€ with a carry on bag and a backpack. I'd say it' an OK price. Bought ticket 2 months ahead.

    1. Anonymous15:45

      Small under seat backpack I should add*

  8. Anonymous21:32

    Thank you for the report!
    Much details and iteresting comparitions.
    My last experience with BEG airprot service in May was wery positive. They where much more effective and faster than Lyon (my other destination of return flight with transfer).
    I hope that they will be good again in August for our vaccations.

  9. Anonymous22:49

    Last couple of times (in May and June) my experience with BEG airport service was quite negative - long queues at both newly centralised security control and passport control on return; toilets not even of third world countries standard; nowhere to eat before 6am; waited full hour (?!) for baggage delivery; approach to airport building in total chaos; VERY long walk from new C gates to the passport control with only a few short moving sidewalks that were out of function... Incompetent management or something else ?

    1. Anonymous23:11

      No, it's just you.

    2. Anonymous09:14

      +1000 Anon 23:11

    3. Anonymous11:07

      hahaha +1 Anon 23:11


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