TRIP REPORT: Air Serbia, Sarajevo - Venice via Belgrade


Written by Amar Hamzić

Already during the summer it became clear that the Italian Dolomities would be the Christmas destination for this year. As Wizz Air decided its nonstop Sarajevo - Treviso flights would only be seasonal and operate until the end of the October, the Lufthansa Group seemed the only available and logical option (as used many times before on the same route). However, when Wizz Air declared that they are fully closing their base in Sarajevo and discontinuing all flights from November, Air Serbia decided to react and offer special prices for the affected routes through Belgrade. At the time, I checked the new special fares. The price per ticket with Air Serbia was approximately 40% cheaper than with any other company flying from Sarajevo. My personal preference would still have been to take Lufthansa Group and fly with Airbus family rather than ATRs (especially considering that the flight from Belgrade to Venice takes approx. 2 hours with the ATR). But as this was a family trip and saving for each ticket was considerable, as well as total trip duration exactly the same, the final decision came to Air Serbia.

New entrance at Sarajevo Airport

New check-in counters located 20 metres to the right from the previous ones

Gate 5 which uses stairs to reach the platform

Before the flight, I was presented with the opportunity to check in online, which is exactly what I did. At the check in page, I was assigned random seats, but also had the opportunity to buy more comfortable seats (ones in the back in the case of the ATR) with prices starting already from 3 EUR. As Sarajevo Airport still doesn't support any digital boarding passes, I still had to go to the counter and collect printed boarding passes there. I arrived to the airport 90 minutes before the flight, and, as always, in the case of Sarajevo Airport, it was much more than enough. Entrance to the main building of the airport is now going through the newly opened entrance doors where new check-in desks and counters are located. The old ones (closer to arrivals) are still at the same place, but simply not being used for now. Security and passport control was super fast, and 6 minutes after collecting my boarding passes, I was already at the gate. As this part of the day is the busiest one, the waiting area at the gates was pretty full. The airplane from Belgrade was late almost one hour upon departure (as the captain later said due to waiting for transger passengers). Boarding started at 15:10 from gate 5, via the stairs inside the airport building and short walk straight to the plane.

The airplane was a modern ATR 72-600, just over 5 years old and recently added to the Air Serbia fleet. We were greeted by the cabin crew who were wearing face masks during the whole duration of both flights. At 15:42 (62 minutes late) we took off from the runway and bit more than 30 minutes later already landed in Belgrade. After landing, we were taxing for more than 10 minutes until reaching our parking position, from where we took the bus to the terminal building. When we reached cruising altitude, we were given a bottle of water and cookies. Total number of people on this flight as I counted was 51, which means around 70% of occupancy. Most of them staying in Belgrade, while less than 20% of passengers headed towards the transfer area and gates.

YU-ALX and golden hour at Sarajevo Airport

Austrian A320 at the neighbouring gate - reg. OE-LBV

The second flight from Belgrade to Venice was planned to depart on time as the planned aircraft previously arrived from Skopje on time. The waiting area at the gates was pretty empty and with many available sockets for charging devices. Boarding started on time and the bus took us to the aircraft. This time it was an ATR 72-500, more than 25 years old veteran in Air Serbia’s fleet. As soon as you enter the cabin, the difference compared to the newer ATR 72-600 is visible. The cabin was in a much more rustier condition and the overhead compartments were slightly smaller. On this flight there were only 23 people on board, which means around 30% occupancy. The flight to Venice took 1 hour and 40 minutes in total and we landed at 19:45 local time. While on board, we again received a bottle of water and cookies, while also this time it was possible to buy food and drinks from Air Serbia ELEVATE bar. Flying mostly at 6000 meters with good weather, we were able to see nice views of Tuzla, Banja Luka, Pula and finally Venice during final approach.

Gate C10E at Belgrade Airport


Venice at night during final approach

Generally, it was a satisfactory experience, and most importantly reaching the final destination in the shortest possible period of time and best offered prices. Also, as someone previously mentioned in the trip reports, on both flights mechanics were present from JAT Tehnika, sitting in the first row (emergency exit) during the flights and assisting with luggage during the boarding.

Bottle of water and cookies served on both flights

Air Serbia Elevate menu offered on Belgrade - Venice flight

Comparison of cabins: ATR72-600 on the left and ATR72-500 on the right

Inside the cabin of YU-ALU, ATR72-500

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  1. Anonymous09:09

    Very nice trip report. Always cool to see people transferring in Belgrade!

  2. Anonymous09:15

    Thank you for the report. The difference between Air Serbia's ATR72-600 and -500 are more than apparent. I'm glad they are finally getting rid of the last old ATRs.

  3. Thank you for a great trip report! Was there a que at the italian/Schengen passport control at Venice?

  4. Anonymous11:11

    Only 23 pax to Venice? Not good.

    1. Anonymous11:12


    2. Anonymous14:58

      That's a profit on an ATR72. Load is fine especially in November (slowest month of the year) to a city like Venice. Load that same day on the return could have been full. In any case Air Serbia is increasing frequencies to Venice next summer so they mist be satisfied with the route's performance.

    3. Anonymous18:21

      Verry nice vocabulary from you. Author wrote ASL was by far cheapest option, and with todays fuel prices, and on 25 year old ATR wich saves fuel (how yes no), 23 pax is profit? Or on new ATR wich saves fuel but they pay lease rate, they are in profit? I am sorry but I doubt it.

    4. Anonymous19:02

      Anon 18.21, You can calculate if they are profitable on a route based on a one way load in November? Congratulations. Must be a gift.

    5. Anonymous21:45

      Route? Who said route? I said that one flight.

  5. Anonymous13:51

    Are there any new shops/ Bars and toilets in Sarajevo Airport?

    1. Anonymous18:09

      Sadly, not really. Flew to SJJ and back to BEG in August this year and my experiences matches pretty much what is written in this trip report. The only difference is that my flight from SJJ back to BEG was delayed for more than 2.5 hours and there were a lot of passengers transferring to CPH, which I found peculiar.

  6. Anonymous15:37

    What is the reason behind sending mechanics on ATR flights?

  7. Anonymous15:51

    Gde god AS u inostranstvu nema svog mehanicara ili nema mehanicara druge kompanije koji ima dozvolu za ATR i placase, jeftinije je slati mehanicara kao clana posade koji uradi pregled na zemlji. bio sam u JATu 30 godina.

    1. Anonymous17:15

      Kad se to počelo raditi, još za vreme JATa?

    2. Anonymous21:31

      Apsolutno i za vreme JAT-a i kod drugih kompanija takodje.

  8. Anonymous15:58

    Improve the website and customer support and you have a 4 star airline.

    1. Anonymous17:17

      True dat. Plus on time performance.

    2. I think it's fair to hope they'll get to the website soon. Customer support is probably gonna take a bit longer to get in order.

      Punctuality on the other hand isn't completely their fault but they need to a bit more realistic in the future about their schedule.

    3. Anonymous20:09

      And their own frequent flyer programme and get rid of the Etihad one.

    4. Anonymous23:01

      Whats up with everyone hating on the YUs customer support? Imho they are very good. My wife had to change her flight multiple times during the quarantine times, and they were very nice everytime she called them. They went above and beyond to accomodate her, and the waiting time to get an agent on the line was 10 mins max. As for YU's people at the Beg airport, yes, i agree, they are ass wipes and lack basic decency and customer service skills.

    5. Anonymous23:10

      I honestly don't fly often with JU, but the only time I needed customer support they took care of my request super quickly.

    6. Anonymous00:21

      Then you should fly with JU!

    7. Anonymous00:49

      I should fly with Air Serbia, agreed. There's a little problem flying with JU: I live in Toronto.

    8. Anonymous03:45

      Hahsha.... soon enough my friend, soon enough.

  9. Anonymous20:18

    Nice report. As for customer support; that will take another generation.

  10. Nice report Amar 😊

  11. Anonymous04:33

    interesting report thank you..

  12. Anonymous14:42

    I flew on an ATR72-200 from BEG to Prague about a week ago. That might be the oldest plane I've ever been on, and the pics were a lot like the ones of the old -500 you were on. Hope they replace that one soon.


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