TRIP REPORT: Air Serbia, Belgrade - New York in business


This flight took place around a month ago from Belgrade to New York on Air Serbia’s A330-200 registered YU-ARB. It was my first time flying this plane, although I have flown the route before with the previous A330 operated by the airline, registered YU-ARA.

I arrived at Belgrade Airport around 3 hours early, factoring in the traffic congestion that is present in front of the terminal because of all the construction going on and the traffic being regulated differently than usual. I headed to the check-In desks and noticed that Air Serbia has “pimped” its business class check-in desks. They are now red, compared to the rest which are blue, there is a divider between the business and economy check-in desks, and they even put in a sofa. The process was quick. I checked in my bag, got my boarding pass and was instructed that I could use the Air Serbia Premium Lounge.

The centralised security screening was quick. There is a dedicated lane for business class passengers although this loses its purposes when you pass security as there is no dedicated lane for passport control for premium passengers, and the airport was rather busy. Although there was a line in front of passport control, it did move relatively quickly.

Once you get your passport stamped, you go into the duty-free shop and funnily enough I noticed this Air Serbia branded jersey on sale.

I headed to the lounge. The area around the lounge is now a big construction site and it is rather dark in that part of the airport as the windows are blocked off. So, I noticed that Air Serbia put a huge, illuminated sign to direct people to the lounge. The lounge was quite busy. This is because it is now being used by several airlines. Even the agent at the front desk was helping with clearing plates.

The buffet is now back after Covid but they have also seemingly removed the a-la-carte dining menu which was previously available. The lounge is still good with good facilities, including showers. I had a drink and a sandwich and went to the gate.

Boarding began around 40 minutes before scheduled departure time. The plane was full to the very last seat, which was not surprising considering it was September and most of the US diaspora that spent their summer in Serbia and the wider Balkans starts going back home. Two air bridges were connected to the plane, so business class passengers had a dedicated entry.

All seats occupied in the cabin

I chose a window seat, which is closer to the actual window. The seats alternate, with the ones closer to the window having more privacy than the ones closer to the aisle. The crew greeted each passenger upon entry and later at their seat. Interestingly all crew were wearing face masks even though it is not a requirement for passengers.

There was a bottle of water, menu, blanket, pillow and headphones at the seat. This was a middle of the day flight and crew came by relatively quickly to introduce themselves and offer a welcome beverage of champagne, water or orange juice. Once that was done, the crew came by to ask for the meal order and noted that you could eat at any time you desired.

The menu was as follows. I chose the Serbian salad for starter and stuffed zucchini for the main, and also decided to have my meal upon take off. I had some fruit and coffee prior to landing.

We were delayed on departure by 45 minutes. The pilot apologised and informed us this was due to a late connecting flight that was bringing passengers. In any case the time was made up for en route and we arrived just 5 minutes behind schedule I appreciated that the pilot gave us detailed information of our flight path and details.

After departure the crew first served drinks, mixed nuts and handed a disinfectant wipe. It was followed by the meal, which was good. All of the meals are served on individual plates (there is no tray) and are brought out by the crew. Olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar is also served along with the meal.

Lavatory was in good shape and there were a few amenities like a facial mist, hand cream and antibacterial gel. However, Air Serbia no longer offers an amenity kit or PJs with slippers as was the case before. I asked about it and the crew simply told me they no longer had any.

The entertainment system is OK. Nothing special but there is a mix of Serbian and US movies and television shows. These were some of the options on offer on my flight.

A huge minus in my opinion is that the plane has no Wi-Fi. I know the airline has removed Wi-Fi from all planes, but I think they should at least consider it for their wide-body. It’s a real shame.

The seats are comfortable, well-padded and have a lie-flat option.

Overall, crew was nice although I can’t say they went above and beyond. I also noticed some things like them not having any ice to go with drinks because they ran out halfway through the flight and little details like that.

I would say their catering was above European carrier standards for a transatlantic flight. On the other hand, they should do more to improve IFE, try to introduce Wi-Fi, stock their flights better and bring back amenity kits and PJs.

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  1. Anonymous09:19

    Nice to see that JU well maintaine A330 and business class. It is interesting that they use Serbian words in English version of the Menue. Good report, too bad that is not signed

    1. Anonymous16:28

      I will agree with you in regards to the menu. Some Serbian and English mixes together. People outside Serbia, do not know what kajmak or ajvar are. The menu is driven, in my opinion, fir the Serbian traveller and not the many other nationalities, whose second language is Serbian. Sorry it is a turn off for me.

    2. Anonymous19:48

      meant to say whose second language is not Serbian

    3. Anonymous20:24

      I think "kajmak" or "ajvar" are ok to use, as they are quite specific (all of my foreign colleagues & friend very quickly adopted those terms after visiting Serbia :) ) This is the way to promote local products, although an asterisk with additional explanation might be a good idea.
      On the other hand, i really think that words like "valjusci" are not locally related and should be translated.

    4. Anonymous21:45

      As a marketer, completely disagree with 16:28. You want to use your unique native words/terms when it comes to food as much as possible. What sounds better to you: escargot or snails?

  2. Anonymous10:07

    Nice report, great loads, good service overall but this food presentation is so passé it makes me laugh.

    1. Anonymous10:22

      Yes, they could work a bit more on their presentation. Also it annoys me so much when the crew isn't motivated. Like if you don't like your job get the hell out. Don't ruin your employers brand and reputation because you are not satisfied.

    2. Anonymous12:49

      I think company can do more for their motivation and, thus, reputation. Employer branding is huge thing in HR today, every company wants their staff to stay and feel satisfied.

    3. Anonymous14:34

      And they are rewarded when they fly more by receiving higher salaries. It's very simple. However being rude towards paying customers is really not fair towards your employer!!!!!

    4. JATBEGMEL18:54


      Your comment is soo out of line, I don't even know where to start. Obviously you have never worked in aviation.

      Dead people and crashed planes are a reason why flight time limitations are set in place. Pushing crew to fly beyond those stipulated under international regulations is not ok, especially with a 20% cut in pay to that. 'Flying more to get more money' gets you probably a few thousand more dinars a month and thats it. What would have a better impact is returning salaries to what they were prior to Covid, as have almost every airline have done by now. Staffing flights was a big problem this summer as not enough staff were available to pull off the schedule. Crew scheduling arguing with staff to get them to fly outside of their legalities isn't motivation. Delayed at the gate? 0€ pay. Im sure you would be super motivated with a couple of hours of delays, 0€ pay for it while hundreds of pax treating you like crap because obviously it is the crews fault for the delays.

      JU service used to be fantastic, rather than blame the crew perhaps ask what impact has JU HQ had on the overall service deterioration.

      Btw, no where in the report does it mention that the crew were rude, in fact the comment was that they were nice. The negative marks come down to overall product downgrade, which isn't down to the crew but JU and its cost cutting.

  3. Anonymous10:26

    Thank you for sharing your Tripreport, it’s very interesting and nice to read it

  4. JU520 BEGLAX11:12

    Most annoying to me is, when airline and airports dont keep their standard, especially in Business you just keep your level without saving and removing little extras you had such as a la Carte dining, WIFI etc

  5. Anonymous13:37

    Which seats did you like more the one from ARA or ARB?

  6. Anonymous20:20

    Lavatory was in good shape?

    Are you for real? YUARB business call lavatory is worst I’ve seen in my life… sticky and smelly… with dirty aftermarket soap containers…

    Catering above standard comparing to other EU operators?

    Which one exactly? Food in AS transatlantic is uneatable. Even flight attendants bring sandwiches with them…

    1. JATBEGMEL20:53


      It's quite common that crew bring their own personal food onboard. Onboard catering (including crew catering) after a while becomes boring and repetitive as the menu doesn't change very often. That doesn't mean the food is bad. Personally I think the food on JU is quite good. Presentation is much better than EK business for example.

  7. Anonymous20:47

    Thank you for the report. I am just surprised that they still offer common allergens like walnuts etc when most airlines have moved away from those products. I travel with a child with severe allergies if ingested and I always carry an EpiPen but I am surprised to see these items on a menu. Although Vasina Torta sounds delicious. I think Air Serbia has still opportunities to improve overall service. I have flown with them and I found them to be ok.

    1. Anonymous21:25

      Good grief, if someone has an allergy then it's up to them and not the airline to be carefu. Imagine the mess if they had to make everyone happy.

    2. +1 @anon 21:25

  8. Anonymous22:57

    Interesting report but having flown almost all the major carriers in Europe as well as the US, I would say only Turkish Airlines offers more food and tastier food


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