TRIP REPORT: Air Serbia, Belgrade - Hanover - Belgrade


Written by Miroslav Al. Mešanović

I bought my ticket in the Economy Light tariff on June 3rd, almost 2 months ahead of my flight through Air Serbia’s website. The price was 13.300 RSD (roughly 112 EUR). As usual, the website purchase was easy and worked out well. There was also a small discount applied thanks to having a registered account on the website. Since I had no intention on bringing any checked-in baggage in order to avoid any hassle as online check-in works again, there was no need to buy priority check-in service. However, it is notable that this service as a stand-alone costs more than in the 2+1 package of services.

JU270 Hanover /August 26th/

As soon as the possibility to check-in began, I did my online check-in and had my boarding pass printed at home. I always feel somehow special to read -sequence number 1- on my boarding pass.

On the day of departure, I arrived at the airport just a bit over 2 hours before the flight. I went for a quick stroll to check out the situation at Terminal 2. Even tough the screens were instructing Hanover bound passengers to check in at check-in island 2, the ground agent was rerouting everyone to the rather packed island 3. The check-in machines that were acquired a while back were put to work, so I tested them and got the industry standard boarding pass printed in a minute and then went upstairs to the not so lengthy safety control que. Once I approached the person in charge of checking boarding passes, he told me that I am in the wrong que since Etihad Guest members ought to use the priority lane! Just to note that my membership is Base (the lowest) but this is not visible on my boarding pass. Only 2 x-rays were in operation which added to the extra time needed to clear security, but I was lucky to be “the Guest”. At 04:55 I strolled from Tesla Square to C-Pier to check out gate C4 and people were queuing at every open coffee/drink stall. WOW! Getting back to the Air Serbia Premium Lounge I had to wait in front for the first time ever, since a lot of people had shown up at 5 sharp. Service is fine (although for the first time ever I had to go to the bar and bring my coffee to the table once it was prepared). The new buffet service/offer leaves a lot to be desired but OK. Some 40 minutes before the departure time I headed off to gate C4.

Boarding commenced at 06:28 and it was a zoned boarding. Given my seat was 2A, I was in zone 2. By 06:34 it was my time to finally board and at 06:42 the cabin crew announced that boarding had been completed. The headrests on the seats now feature a special anniversary design. Before pushback, the captain addressed the cabin with basic info about the flight, stating it would take as 1 hour 40 minutes to our destination with good weather conditions. Airbus A319 YU-APE had 130 passengers, 3 in business and the rest in economy class. We finally pushed back at 06:57 and started taxiing at 07:00. A smooth take-off from Runway 12 took us to the west along the Sava River with nice views of Obrenovac and Sabac (including the almost completed bridge on the highway Ruma-Sabac). On its route, the plane overflew Graz. The economy class catering on this flight over 90 minutes was a surprise – instead of signature package of “Čačanski” chips we were handed two individually packed “Noblice”and a bit larger bottle of water than before (0,33L instead of 0,25L). After informing the crew about top of descent at 08:22, the plane safely landed at Hanover Langenhagen Airport at 08:51 (scheduled arrival at: 08:45). Being in row 2, I was able to clear the German passport control in no time by 09:05. Just to note that there were 2 German federal police officers (professional and pleasant without any hassle) on duty for non-EU citizens that morning.

Lower Saxony, whose capital is Hanover, offers many sights to visit. Apart from the Herrenhäuser Garden of Royal House of Hanover, the capital offers a couple of attractive museums, an iconic City Hall and an excellent zoo. But real gems are in the province - old towns such as Hildesheim with 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites and an exquisite Egyptian museum or Hameln with its preserved old town (houses from the 15th century) where the story of Rat Catcher took place for real.

JU275 Belgrade /August 29th/

For the return leg I went for an upgrade bid of 7.800 RSD (65 EUR) and during my first evening in Hanover, I received a confirmation e-mail. The seat allocated to me was 1A. Since Air Serbia doesn’t offer online check-in from Hanover, one has to go to the airport in order to complete all the formalities.

Getting to one of the major airports in Germany by public transport should be no problem, however, Deutsche Bahn made the day! The commuter train (SBahn) on line S5 was late from the terminus station and soon it was announced that the train would miss Hannover Central Station and the airport. So a tip to everyone - the alternative is to use the U1 line all the way to Langenhagen (the town where the airport is located) and transfer to Bus 470 that leads to the airport.

Finally, at 19:40 (1 hour and 15 minutes before scheduled departure) I arrived to Terminal C where 3 check-in counters were at their disposal for Air Serbia’s flight with one of the counters dedicated to business class passengers. However, since there were no passengers waiting to be checked in, only one counter was staffed and I was done in a minute. Oddly enough, the agent handed me Economy class tags for both pieces of cabin baggage. Even before starting my journey to the airport, it was clear that YU-APN bound to Hannover would be late since the plane had been late from its previous flight to/from Athens. The plane departed Belgrade at 19:35 instead of 18:10. At this moment there were only 2 international departures from Hanover - Air Serbia to Belgrade and Sunexpress to Kayseri. Only one security control lane was working, and the agents were extremely slow. Needless to say, there was no fast lane available for business class passengers. At the end, only one federal police officer was stationed to check passports. The airport itself is nor big nor small and during the day it might be dynamic and interesting. However, in the evening almost all the shops are closed and they keep one cafe bar open and a small Duty Free. Even the airport’s lounges close at 19:00 sharp.

Finally, at 21:19 my bird parked at gate C16. Fifteen minutes late,r people started moving to the stand in front of the gate, some of them making comments why a lady in a wheelchair is being taken onboard first. Finally, at 21:47, all the passengers were invited to board the plane. No zoned boarding no priority.

I had boarded the plane without getting noticed by the crew and had to place my baggage on my own to the overhead compartment. Couple of minutes after one of the cabin crew members informed the cabin senior - oh, one of the business class passengers had arrived! I was approached by Vladimir who had practically entered into my private space (I am Serbian and private space is usually not an issue) and introduced himself and his senior colleague: "Dobro veče gospodine. Good evening Sir". After getting a reply from me in Serbo-Croat he continued: "My name is Vladimir and together with my colleague Aleksandar, I will be at your disposal during tonight’s flight. Here is the Menu, take your time before you order, and would you like some newspapers?" Couple of minutes later, Vladimir was back ready to take my order, going step by step from aperitif to coffee choice.

At 21:56 boarding was completed - total 65 passengers, 2 in business and 63 in economy. Plane pushed backed at 22:05 and finally at 22:20 we took off for Belgrade. Safety demo was interrupted by the captain by giving basic info about the flight.

As soon as the fasten your seatbelt sign went off the crew began economy class service which was extremely fast. At that point Vladimir brought my plum rakija and mineral water. Two details worth mentioning - YU-APN did not feature a curtain behind business class row and Air Serbia is now serving water in disposable although branded plastic cups. Ten minutes later, Aleksandar inquired if I am ready for my meal to be served. Gnocchi with meatballs in tomato sauce were nicely warmed and the wine was cooled properly. Metal cutlery was provided. Vladimir was again very attentive coming to check out if everything is OK and if I require anything else. Elevate Deli&Bar offer was rather limited since the crew had sold all the sandwiches on the way to Hanover. Passenger had to satisfy their hunger with salty snacks such as chips or peanuts.

Business class lavatory was clean but had no dedicated amenities (I was used to having at least hand cream before).

The rest of the flight went by uneventfully and at 23:53 the plane landed. After waiting about 5 minutes for Fly Dubai to clear the taxiway, YU-APN parked at gate C4 where passengers to Larnaca were waiting to board. On my way to passport control I was able to spot that JU886 to Larnaca was 50 minutes late. There are some minor works on the arriving passengers’ level and both transit desks were unattended.

Overall, another pleasant round trip with Air Serbia. Based upon their operations during the summer season, I was counting on delays but at the end it was OK compared to the situation in the rest of Europe. Cabin crew was lovely and attentive although there is definitely space for some improvements.

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  1. Anonymous09:14

    Nice report. They really have to work on their business class meal presentation. It looked much better a year ago (and even then it didn't look great).

  2. Nemjee09:23

    Very nice and detailed trip report.
    Interesting that there was no divider between economy and business class. Since the plane went to Athens before Hannover, it could be that the ATH flight was operating in an all economy class configuration.

    I guess Wizz Air failed here as their A321 was too big. Hopefully JU has more success with their smaller A319.

    1. Anonymous10:35

      It is very unlikely that Athens flight was operated in Y144 configuration. On A319 there is either 1, 2 or 3 rows for business class. When there is no need for C class, curtain is just folded not removed at all. Last week i flew to Athens and there was one row for business class. Y144 is always operated from INI, i think.

    2. Anonymous11:18

      I think Wizz moved completely from HAJ due to the higher taxes.
      All of the flights were removed, HAJ is no longer served by Wizz.

    3. Anonymous11:37

      Romanian A319 often flew to Athens in summer because there is no business class

    4. Anonymous13:59

      No. Romanian A319 flew only to charter destinations. Maybe couple flights weekly to regular destinations, but majority were charters. Same story with SX-MAM. On the other hand, two Lumiwings aircraft were often flying to ATH and SKG, and other regular destinations as well.

    5. Anonymous15:06

      Besides the two above mentioned destinations, Lumiwings planes were also unusally frequent visitors at FCO, MXP, and most notably ZRH. Kinda confusing IMO, especially ZRH, but i guess they send them on the other routes as they either think that they have not too serious competition on the routes, or for slightly reduced capacity on the routes....its anyones guess though, unless someone has some more detailed info

    6. Anonymous15:31

      B734 is also flying on regular routes, today in the afternoon it is going to ZRH and tomorrow morning to Berlin.

  3. Anonymous09:31

    Cool report, indeed. JU product is not bad at all and definitely above average compared to many other European airlines. Agreed about the Business Lounge. It can be better.
    And with no idea to hate but I find the materials used at the arrivals area quite cheap and dull. They remind me a bit of the new BUD low cost terminal. The display screens are good. Overall not great not terrible just okay.

  4. Anonymous09:57

    I find it quite nice that people start sharing a couple of images from their trip, not just related to aviation, from the city of Hannover, also from the aviation Museum, Concorde and Jumbo Jet...I would say that this improves the topic a lot and makes it interesting

  5. Anonymous09:57

    Wow, such a detailed report Miroslav, thank you 🤗

  6. Anonymous11:20

    What surprises me the most is the fact that the only "amenity" that you got with an upgrade was a meal which was poorly presented. No lounge access, no fast track, no other perks. Not to mention that when you bid for an upgrade, your luggage allowance remains the same as on your originally purchased fare.

    1. Anonymous11:37

      Well because the upgrade is cheap, much cheaper than what you normally pay for business class

    2. Anonymous11:53

      But he did got lounge access, business class seat & meal, priority check in...?

    3. Anonymous12:00


    4. Anonymous12:04

      ^^ My mistake, I've mixed inbound & outbound flight.
      When he upgraded for business class on a return flight he got business seat & meal. Priority check in & lounge were unavailable at the airport but for that one you cant blame airline. This is often case at small airports.

    5. For my outbound flight in economy coach I used my Visa Platinum card to enter Air Serbia Lounge. This card has "Lounge Key" as a part of the package.
      For my inbound flight I enquired of Lounge provider at HAJ. The answer was - you may enjoy the lounge until boarding time, but since we need to physically confirm your right to enter please show up before 19:00 because we're not staffed afterwards.
      I was entitled to priority lane at security but unlike my flight from Stuttgart in November 2021, the dedicated lane was not available here.

  7. Anonymous11:25

    Great report, thanks.

  8. Charlie14:22

    Attention to detail makes this a very nice report.


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