The Unique AirSERBIA A330: Business Class review from Belgrade to Podgorica!
Hello everyone and welcome to Belgrade, Serbia! I’m currently at the Belgrade Aviation Museum, which is located at the Nikola Tesla Airport You can see, we have a Caravelle here, that was owned by AirSERBIA back in the Yugoslavia days This is the airline that preceded AirSERBIA and they operated these Caravelles on their route network which was very similar to the current network They even had DC-10’s that flew to New-York and if you know anything about AirSERBIA is that today, they have an A330 to fly the route to New-York And this A330 is actually the airplane that I will be flying this morning, basically But it won’t be on a transatlantic flight to New-York. I will be flying it on a 45-minute hop down to the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica Now the reason why I booked this trip is actually because AirSERBIA recently received a new A330 that dates to about a month ago, so nobody has made a trip report on the aircraft yet So I thought it would be a good occasion to fly on the new A330 in business class down to Podgorica on the 45-minute hop to Montenegro So let’s check out what the successor of Jugoslovenski Aerotransport, AirSERBIA has to offer on this incredible flight Let’s go (“HEJ SLAVENI!” BY SAMUEL TOMÁŠIK PLAYS) Now if ever you do happen to come to Belgrade Airport for either a flight or just driving through It’s really worth it to come to this museum because I think it is free I mean, there is a gate there which is open and since it’s open, I decided to pass through and nobody asked me to see a ticket or to pay So now I have access to all these planes and informations on the boards I don’t know if you can actually get inside the dome but we can at least walk around these beauties Alright so it is now 10:30 which means that I have 3 hours before my flight Let’s go and check-in and go check out what the lounge looks like I’ve heard some mixed reviews so I’m excited to check it out by myself Let’s check it out The doors of the terminal are just a mere 5 minutes' walk away from the aviation museum Although it is not the most welcoming of pathways, it is still an easy walk if you don’t carry much luggage with you Once you enter the building, you must walk to the left until you reach the AirSERBIA check-in counters Normally this is where I’d get my ticket, but since I already had it on my phone I headed straight to passport control So one thing about Belgrade Airport is that security, instead of passing a general point of security like most airports It’s like small portions of security at every gate which is a system that personally, I’m not sure if I like I hate being trapped in the gate area once you pass security but I also like the idea of being able to go airside even if you don’t fly So I guess there are good and bad sides to it When buying a business class ticket with AirSERBIA, you will receive complimentary access to the lounge which is located near gate A4 Upon entering, you simply show the receptionist your ticket and you’re good to go I was positively surprised at how clean and professional the lounge looks despite the relatively small size of the airline You can help yourself to cold drinks as you wish, and normally there would be a self-serve buffet but as part of AirSERBIA's health and safety measures, today will only be à-la-carte service Once settled down, I opened the menu and I was a little underwhelmed by the options, however, it is very acceptable for the price I’ve paid on this trip I was curiously tempted to try out their “Meet Balls”, or the “Chees”, but in spite of these rather funny mistakes I settled down for something a little more familiar I just realized that I ordered the most American thing possible, aka Coke and fries... Even though I had only selected an entrée, it was plenty enough before boarding my morning flight to Montenegro We’ve actually got a full-on bathroom here! Just having a shower is a huge plus for me So far the lounge is very good While making my way to gate C5, I couldn’t help but stop by this interesting sight: a Qatar Airways Airbus A320. Not a plane we usually see on my side of the ocean After passing through Belgrade’s rather annoying gate security system, I was able to set my eyes on the brand new AirSERBIA A330-200! This aircraft features the name and portrait of the famous Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla, who makes the pride of this airline and airport As a business passenger, I got to board the plane before anyone else, as per standard First impressions of the cabin and seat 3A are rather good! The cabin looks a little outdated, as it is the same one used by the previous owner: Aeroflot But still sports the Air Serbia colour palette The seat features virtually infinite legroom, a large seat pocket, a shoe storage compartment, a coat hanger, seat controls, a universal power outlet, more storage, a reading light, a very big tray table, a pocket for the magazine, the safety card and finally a remote control for the IFE This is all surely a great way to fly over to Montenegro, especially for 120 euros… As passengers continued to board, I decided to check out the bathroom since I figured I wouldn’t have much time in flight It seemingly featured all the usual amenities you’d normally have, and looked like it had just been cleaned by the crew. Overall a decent place
When I made it back to my seat, a flight attendant came around the cabin to ask us our meal orders I don’t know if this is usual procedure or unique to this short flight, but either way very appreciated While waiting for pushback, Air Serbia likes to play promotional videos in a non-stop cycle on our IFE’s, in a very Serbian fashion If you have been to Serbia before, you’ll know that if there’s one thing this country loves is having advertisements everywhere…. After about 40 minutes on the ground, we were ready to push back with a short 10 minutes delay And after a beautiful climb out of Belgrade, I checked out the IFE system. The remote was quite responsive however the selection was a bit limited Especially since the Documentary section was “blocked” for some obscure reason... A few minutes later, my previous meal order arrived. I had selected the sandwich and cheese platter
Now I don’t usually fly in business class, but I’d have a tendency to say this is an acceptable meal for a 40 minutes regional flight Just as I finished my platter, flight attendants came around to pick up anything remaining as we had already started the descent into Montenegro Now that we have arrived, I waited for everybody to exit the aircraft so I could get a clean shot of the economy cabin I had previously asked a flight attendant for permission, which she gave me. However, when I got up to the task, the entire crew rushed to me saying I couldn’t use those images for public use as it is not representative of the Air Serbia product (Flight Attendant): "If you’d like to take a picture, that is for you. You can’t use it to put on social media" “It’s not up to standards, that’s why I don’t want you to put a picture like this because it’s not representative” Personally, I don’t know how I feel about this censorship, but I understand they have an image they want to keep so here are some Google images instead When deplaning at Podgorica International Airport, you must walk all the way from the plane to the terminal It is surely not the most glamorous form of airport experience, but it is awesome for avgeeks like me Alright so we’ve made it outside of the aircraft. The flight was really good It’s a 45-minutes flight and we got a meal, the flight attendants were really nice to let me take some quick pictures but unfortunately, we didn’t have much time But overall it was a great flight When I made it to the terminal, it became clear that the airport was not designed for wide-body loads! This flight was in fact a one-time event, which I haven’t quite grasped the purpose of, but I do know that in normal times, only A319s and ATR’s fly from Belgrade to Podgorica After being granted entry by one of the two border agents, I made my way outside the airport into the classic Balkan summer heat I found a dodgy taxi driver and made my way back into the city center Welcome back to Montenegro! The flight was honestly great Apart maybe for the fact that we had a 10-minutes delay, but that’s okay for a 40-minutes flight so a 10-minutes delay is alright The only issue was that during deplaning I was told that I was allowed to film around the cabin in economy to show the seats But when I tried to do it, I think the chief flight attendant came around and told me “No, you are not allowed to film” “You are not allowed to show these images because it is not representative of what you get when you board AirSERBIA” And I guess that’s alright because it is a pretty popular flight since I saw other trip reporters and media onboard the flight So I guess the airline has their eyes on this particular flight So I don’t think they want the management to see a bad representation of AirSERBIA under their supervision so I think that’s why the flight attendants told me to not film Because you know how it is, the cabin can be disgusting after a flight and just have a lot of papers, crumbs, maybe stuff laying around everywhere And that’s alright but other than that the crew was amazing, I don’t know if that’s just because I had a camera with me But I found the crew to be really, really nice both in the lounge and in the plane The Serbs can be proud of their national airline It’s a really nice airline and if ever you want to fly on it, I recommend you to do it It’s great value for what it is I paid 120 EUR one-way for this flight in lie-flat business and honestly, for a 40-minutes flight that might seem like a lot of money But just for the unique experience I found it really cheap You know it’s the same price than the ATR business so I was like “Ok, might as well take the A330 then” But yeah, I hope you guys have enjoyed this video as much as I’ve enjoyed filming it Obviously it’s not as fun but you know, at least you get a glimpse of it It was really nice to fly on this aircraft and try the experience without having to fly all the way to New-York And I hope now you get a good idea of what AirSERBIA is Have a great day and thank you for watching!