TRIP REPORT: Air Serbia and ITA from Serbia to Italy


Written by Ivan Pusineri

Hello everyone and welcome to this report of my experience flying from Belgrade to Florence via Rome, on Air Serbia and ITA Airways respectively.

The flights were taken at the very end of July. To once again confirm what is basically public knowledge at this point, Air Serbia codeshares are horrible - for my flight at least, booking certain dates wasn’t possible, even if I tried booking two separate tickets, and the airfare wasn’t particularly cheap either. Airport expansion continues on, here is a general overview.

Since my flight was on a Saturday, it was an early morning one. I arrived at the airport around 4am, for the 6:45am departure. T1 check-in was jam-packed, and Air Serbia’s T2 check-in wasn’t much better. The airport screens indicated one set of check in desks for Rome, but when I got there, I found out check-in was being done at a whole other set of desks, and a nearby Air Serbia ground agent told me where to go. The check-in experience itself was a bit out of the ordinary - likely since a flight to Moscow was also checking in. I got asked a multitude of questions such as “Did you pack your own bags?”, “Are the things in your luggage only your own?”, etc... Upon finishing up, I headed upstairs, cleared security in less than 5 minutes, and headed for the gates. Once again, the only open café at this hour was Kapital, which is always full.

I won’t talk much about the airport inside, as not much has changed in the 2 weeks since I last travelled (if you are interested in a more detailed take on the airport renovations check out my previous report to Antalya). One thing which I found this time around was the 95 Years of Air Serbia / 60 Years of Belgrade Airport “exhibit”, if you can even call it that, which was recently transferred to the airport. It is located around Gates 7 and 8. During the walk I even got a nice view of Air Serbia’s wet lease fleet.

I soon got to Gate 14 where I waited for boarding to start, it was slightly late. We quickly boarded the newest member of the A319 fleet, YU-APN. Nothing much has changed within the cabin. Legroom is actually pretty fine considering I’m over 190cm. An A319 soon pulled into the gate next to us as we waited for doors to close. Once they did, I noticed the flight was only 50-60% full. The pilot also informed us we would be delayed by another 40ish minutes due to traffic in Rome and ATC delays. I even got to see the Hainan A333 when it landed!

After some time, we started taxiing. Basically, everyone was delayed at this point. BEG ATC decided, for some reason, to have planes alternate runway use – first plane in line took off from RWY30, next in line from RWY12, and then my plane from 30 etc.. I have no idea why they did this since all planes then had to wait for a few minutes to depart. I’ll leave you with some of the views on takeoff.

Inflight service at Air Serbia really makes you think if they are joking with you, to test how cheap they can go. We got a small bottle of water (VodaVoda now), and two “Noblica’s” – just to clarify I actually mean only two separate cookies, not two packets. Buy on Board is laughably expensive, and Elevate is always there, and featured some articles on the new Air Serbia routes. One thing I must note is that the plane was literally freezing cold the entire time, I recommend carrying a hoodie or something similar when flying.

I was half asleep the rest of the flight, and soon we were approaching Rome. It was unusually bumpy for FCO, but the landing was so smooth you could barely even feel it, and we taxied towards a bus gate. During the ride to the terminal, I got my first live glimpse of the new ITA livery, and I must say pictures do not do it justice, as it looks great when you see it up close!

Rome’s Fiumicino Airport has had an interesting few years - in 2015 a massive fire broke out which basically burned an entire concourse to the ground. FCO was already due a renovation, so a project to revamp the entire terminal was started. It resulted in the E concourse and gates (used for non-Schengen flights), and the more recently opened, brand new, A concourse. According to ACI Europe, FCO has won best European airport multiple times in the last few years, and I’d say its deserved. Below you can see a pic of the E concourse, and then a few others of the new A concourse. There was even a small art exhibit placed within one of the connecting parts.

Upon getting to my gate, I got a good opportunity to compare the “newest” Alitalia livery, and current ITA livery on the same plane. Of the two, mine ended up being the Alitalia one, EI-IMC to be exact. The flight was delayed on its arrival from Nice. I got an email and message from ITA confirming the delay which was nice since some airlines (like Air Serbia) leave you to guess.

The plane still sports the old Alitalia interior with some small touches to indicate it’s operated by ITA now. Legroom was bad. The flight did not last long and we got some drinks. It was quite bumpy, but little did I know it was about to get a whole lot bumpier!

Florence’s Peretola Airport is surrounded by hills and mountains, and to add to that, it has a runway which is just about 5.000ft long - i.e. just barely enough to fit an A319. Consequently, this was likely the roughest approach I ever experienced, and also the hardest landing. It was stormy though so that likely contributed! On the ground there were apparently some technical issues, so we had to wait a bit to de-plane. We then took a short walk to the terminal, where we were once again delayed in getting our bags. The only complaint I have is that the baggage hall gets a bit cramped if you have 4 or 5 planes de-board at similar times.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed! I’ll hopefully be able to write the return report soon!

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  1. Anonymous09:07

    Nice report but I don't get some of the complaints. So they served two packages of 1 Noblice instead of 1 package with two. Maybe the company that produces them ran out of packages of two...

    1. Vlad11:07

      No, he's complaining that the package of Noblice contains only two biscuits.

      I don't see the problem really.

  2. Anonymous09:15

    Thank you for a great trip report! Air Serbia's service leaves a lot to be desired sadly...

    1. Anonymous09:47

      I don't understand you people...

      Lufthansa is offering a small piece of chocolate and a bottle of water (if you are lucky enough to get it) on their European flights and JU offers noblice+water or chips+water and you complain...
      Of course much bigger carriers like OS or LX also offer next to nothing. Comparing to these airlines JU offer looks generous.
      If you are hungry or thirsty you can always decide for BOB if you really need it for so short flight. Also I do not see the prices are that huge especially comparing with airlines like FR, U2 or LH...

    2. Anonymous09:51

      This is a trip report on JU, not on LH or OS. When there are trip reports on them people also leave rather negative comments. So just because LH and OS are bad JU should be too? JU needs to copy LO and improve their product.

    3. Anonymous09:56

      This is not trip report only about JU but about AZ as well.

      LHG is the biggest legacy in Europe and it is logically to compare their service with JU especially if it proves that JU is not that expensive at all.

    4. Anonymous09:57

      There is not too much to be captious if onboard service on European average or even slightly above it. Sadly, but regarding onboard service this is the world we are living in.

    5. Nemjee09:59

      I found Air Serbia prices to be rather ok. Also, compared to Austrian Airlines, they actually have more to offer when it comes to BoB.
      Air Serbia overall is just ok as an airline, nothing to write home about. Not great but not bad either.

    6. Anonymous10:17

      The statement that buy on board is “laughably expensive” is really not fair. The prices are really decent and comparable to any other airline that I flew.

      On the other side, Belgrade’s airport is a real mess and it is falling a part - due to the ongoing construction works, but also due to the already poorly finished works.

    7. He needs to hire a private plane. Pays for economy but expects a bussines service. Every earlier offers such a service on a short flight and that is just today's standard and normal people have 0 issue with it . Get me there safely and I am happy .

  3. Nemjee09:41

    Very nice trip report, thank you.

    Indeed, BEG check-in staff is some of the worst in the world. My friends were flying LYS-BEG-LCA and for some reason they didn't give them a boarding pass in LYS for LCA so they had to get it in Belgrade.
    We got to the check-in and the rude agent working there changed their seats which they paid for while booking their flights. I was standing on the side so he didn't know I spoke Serbian. When my friend kindly asked him to give her the seat she bought he barked at her to give him her passport. When she did he turned towards his colleague and said: какав дебил од човека.

    Naturally then we got into a fight and when we left he insulted her to his colleague, some bottle blond agent sitting next to him who was extremely rude to every single customer she checked-in.

    Absolutely unacceptable behavior in my opinion. The worst part is that no one seems to care about these things. BEG employees are some of the worst there is in the whole world. If Air Serbia wants to build a strong brand then they can't tolerate such behavior. Calling a client who is asking to get what they paid for (an extra service JU charges) an idiot should be grounds for immediate termination of contract.
    Unfortunately, knowing how BEG works, I wouldn't be surprised if they end up promoting him in the future.

    1. Anonymous09:57

      You should asked for his name, inform the managment by email and tell them you'll go to media if don't get appropriate feedback (full Karen, maybe it would work). Ha ha hub with this behaviour.

    2. Anonymous10:01

      I think I would be immediately calling for his superior.

    3. Nemjee10:02

      Haha I don't think it would have worked as it seems that's the type they are hiring these days, at least judging by his colleagues. I have to say the lady working on the other check-in looked really presentable, even very nice and she even spoke Russian to numerous Russians who came to check-in for the Sochi flight. It felt like a breath of fresh air.

    4. Anonymous10:07

      At least you could have tried. If it doesn't work there is always a possibility of reporting him by email to BEG management.

    5. Anonymous11:12

      Same here. Nothing but the worst experience with BEG airport staff.

  4. Thank you for your report!

    I also had a very similar opinion on AirSerbia overall, until I took an Airserbia flight two weeks ago. I was flying TIA-ZRH via BEG, and got to experience both the new ATR72 (surprised how comfortable it was, and the noise levels are abysmal compared to their predecessors aka JAT dinosaurs) and their A319. I found the cabin crew very professional and the aircraft very clean.

    What really struck me was the pilots who would still give a detailed overview of the route and you could tell how proud and content they are to be doing their job. Nowadays, this is a rarity with European carriers, at least IMO.

    The new terminal at BEG is lovely and can rival many big European hubs. I was genuinely positively surprised by the experience overall, and would definitely fly Airserbia again.

    1. Anonymous09:50

      How was the load on your flights? Did you take the morning or the afternoon flights from TIA?

    2. I took the afternoon flight. TIA-BEG LF was around 80%, and BEG-ZRH was almost at capacity.

    3. Anonymous10:21

      To which “new terminal” at BEG you are referring to? The last “new” terminal was build in 1978..

    4. Anonymous10:24

      He is referring to the expanded C gates. That's where transfer passengers arrive and that is probably where his flight to ZRH boarded.

    5. Anonymous11:47

      Thank you, Ljupco, for sharing something nice and they are nice and deserve it, but people (Serbs mainly) enjoy to complain and brag about everything without any sense of rational or knowledge of market standards.
      Thank you!

    6. Anonymous12:22


  5. Anonymous09:52

    I fly some 150000 nautical miles per yesr with many airlines and it is definitely NOT correct to claim that on bird sales on JU are comparatively expensive.

    1. Anonymous09:57

      Yes, I am sure you fly that much but that is true, JU is not that expensive.

    2. Anonymous09:58

      Of course not.

    3. Anonymous11:50

      Well, if you compare to the bakery around the corner of course they are expensive, but if you compare to the other airlines I would say that they are cheaper than any other I used to fly recently which includes Ryanair, Iberia, Brussels Airlines, Tuifly and Lufthansa.

    4. Anonymous12:08

      Air Serbia cheaper than Ryanair? Sure, of course.

    5. Anonymous14:30

      ^ he was talking about prices for BOB. Read more carefully.

  6. Anonymous14:29

    I must say I got SMS from JU about flight delay.

  7. Miroslav Ivkovic14:49

    The negativity of many people on this site is dispicable. I think most people don't know how unorganized, expensive, and unprofessional most airlines and airports in the US and the west really are? In Hamburg last year for example, I had to wait over an hour to get my luggage, then another hour for a taxi to downtown because of lack of drivers. I have never had this type of experience at Belgrade Airport.

  8. Anonymous14:51

    Service consisting of "some drinks" on alITAlia (but not a single bite) are without negative comment, on the other hand Air Serbia's water bottle and cookies service "makes you think if they are joking with you, to test how cheap they can go". No one can go any lower than your comment in a country where domestic service is dominated by zero service FR and W6. Unhealthy attitude kills your whole trip report.

    1. Anonymous15:51

      Do you realize that a return ticket to Moscow costs around 1200e? For that amount of money you get noblice and and a small bottle of water. Then you can add up a more or less guaranteed 2-3 hrs delay (this comes free for now!). That gives you all the attributes you really that Air Serbia is a great airline. Congrats on your sophisticated standards but I call this extortion and I call Air Serbia a cheap airline not better than an LCC.

    2. Vlad16:11

      Call it extortion as much as you want, JU is no better or worse in that respect than any other airline. A month ago a friend of mine had to pay €900 for a one-way flight from FRA to OSL on LH because he needed to get home urgently. Do you think LH served him anything beyond a piece of chocolate and a small bottle of water? Of course not.

      If you have beef with the way the airline industry works in terms of supply and demand, that's fine, but don't single out JU for it because it makes you look either uninformed or hypocritical.

    3. Anonymous16:33

      Last Anonymous, I personally don't agree with you. JU needs to set the bar high, not to follow the downward spiral. They should be like LO, AF, KL...and not like SK, FR or LH.

    4. Anonymous16:48

      Anon 15:51 Trip report was about Air Serbia and ITA trip from Serbia to Italy. Comment was about author being a hypocrite when describing beverage service at two airlines.

      I am sure there are more appropriate places you can discuss return ticket to Moscow.

    5. Anonymous16:50

      More appropriate than on an aviation forum? Hmm

    6. Anonymous17:21

      More appropriate than Serbia-Italy trip report, there are articles about flights to Russia.

      Or if you are frustrated about the price of Air Serbia BEG-SVO nonstop flight, please feel free to fly with ANY other airline offering NONSTOP flight between Belgrade and Moscow. That will cut you down to size.

    7. Anonymous17:24

      I suppose you are working for Air Serbia or generally do not fly, or at least do not fly to Russia so you don't care how much they charge. If you were being ripped off like this then I am sure you would have minded. Charging €400 or €500 to Moscow would have been one thing but we are talking about €1.200 for an economy class ticket on a flight that is 02.45.

    8. Anonymous17:27

      Some people are not enjoying their double standard in treating ITA and Air Serbia being exposed here so they are trying to shift the topic away to something else. This thread is about author's hypocritical comments about in flight service of Air Serbia and ITA. Comments about other topics are failed attempt at disctraction.

    9. Anonymous17:35

      Dude you do realize that no one takes ITA seriously, they are a complete joke of an airline and they are generally not relevant anywhere. They are even less relevant than JU! I am not the guy from above but I find that you are no better than the JU hate brigade. Give it a rest, take a chill pill.

    10. Anonymous17:38

      Ivan no one cares how much you have to pay for flight to Moscow. There is nothing you can do to disctract from trip report being rightfully called out for hypocrisy. Nothing.

    11. Anonymous17:41

      No Ivan it's someone else that will point out your hate for Air Serbia every time. Burn.

    12. Vlad17:52

      "Dude you do realize that no one takes ITA seriously, they are a complete joke of an airline and they are generally not relevant anywhere."

      They were relevant enough for AFKL and Delta to outbid LH for the purchase of the airline...

    13. Anonymous19:08

      If you think that 1200€ for Moscow flight is way too expensive solution is simple - don't fly to Moscow with AirSerbia.

    14. Anonymous19:50

      That was already suggested above. Their goal is not to complain about that price, but to attempt to distract from the fact that trip report author has double standards slated against Air Serbia in his trip review. They can't stand it. Report was supposed to sound as if neutral but it's not and they can't handle it, so they try to "posion the well" with completely unrelated topic.

    15. Anonymous14:45

      Report author here (Ivan):

      -Please calm down, i have never made any comment on this post prior to this one. There is no reason to imply my involvment simply because you disagreed with another commenter(s), and thought it was me blindly defending my points, since i was simply unable to comment prior to this. You should know better than to blindly argue with people on this forum where 95% of users are anonymous.

      The accusation of bias would make sense if these were at all comparable flights, which they were not - ASL was a short/medium haul international service. ITY was a domestic leg, which was literaly 30 minutes from gate to gate, less time than it took me to get from the airport to my home when i returned to Belgrade.
      For a 30 minute domestic flight drink service is more than enough - and since you insist on comparing, it is more than most airlines would offer you on such a service.

      As for my ASL remarks, i stand by them. Just saying "others dont even give that", is nonsensical to me since at least i think thats not the level of service ASL should strive for, rather the oposite. I probably should have explained further, ill give you that. When i say cheap i meant that the service between their flights is incredibly inconsistent which makes them seem cheap (besides cheap in the monetary sense as well). Ill remind you ASL charter flights (that are considered generaly secondary priorities compared to scheduled), technically get more service than regular services, though dont get me wrong im not a fan of the charter bag either.
      It also stands that having inonsistent delay comunication, inconsistent hard product, strange check in procedures and most importantly difficult to book flights and useless codeshares which are horribly overpriced also didnt help.
      Also, it is not my place to mention, but this is also representative of the general ASL product, on even longer flights as some have mentioned, which makes my critiques even more valid.

      (Comment split since it was too long)

    16. Anonymous14:46

      I would critique ITA on something else if i had something else to critique on. On both the FCO-FLR leg, and the return which i will write about when i have time, there was nothing to mention except the above mentioned legroom which was horrible. This does not mean i favour ITA or am biased towards it (as im guessing you deduced based on my livery comment?), just that i didnt experience anything else bad, since if i did i would definitely mention it.

      I might also add, i do not hold any grudge against ASL, i actually think they are doing great the last few years and have been making some excelent business decitions lately. I only hold opinions based on objective experiences on the above flight, and previous ones. On the other hand, this was my first time flying ITA, so i have no basis for bias on that side as well, and since some have mentioned it, not even an extensive flight history on AZ makes up for it, as i had more than my fare share of bad experiences with them as well.

      Your accusation of bias is completely unfounded and based solely on your disagreement with, ill once again highlight - other commenters who you assumed were me purely since they didnt agree with you, and you decided to keep fighting with them - which clearly points to the fact that your issue lies more with your perceived disagreement with me, rather than any actually valid critique of the report and my opinions (opinions which we are suppsedly all allowed to have, and should respect even if we dont agree with?)

      To conclude and adress all other comments in a more general manner - i absoloutely expected i higher level of service since for the price of my ticket, i could have, as some suggested, bought a business class ticket via LH Group....which had only days prior to my trip cancelled over 80% of flights due to a "surpise" ground staff strike - since i wasnt exactly flexible with travel dates i think its clear that it is not worth comparing my flights to what is now fast becoming the most hated legacy carrier in Europe. I have no idea what Moscow flights have to do with any of these comments.

      And finally to cap things off, as i mentioned i wasnt able to get to replying yesterday untill comments were already closed, so i would like to thank the EXYU Admin once again for giving me the oportunity to clear my name of these false impersonations of me.

  9. Anonymous17:29

    Stop spamming with your russian comments. No one cares in this thread.

    1. Anonymous18:25

      what Russian comments? we are discussing tbe lack of service and lack of quality onboard air serbia. Read more carefuly! In line with topic of today.

  10. Anonymous14:26

    In Australia flying any of the airlines you won't even get a biscuit, unless you pay. You get free water poured into a plastic cup or coffee/tea. That is it! What are you complaining about? Serbia is not even in the EU. The country is making great efforts.


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