Air Serbia Launching Belgrade To New York Flight Next Month

While Etihad doesn’t belong to one of the three global alliances, they do have their own “Etihad Airways Partners” group, and several of those carriers are ones in which they have an equity stake.

Etihad-Partners-2

One of those is Air Serbia, a regional airline based in Belgrade. While the Gulf carriers have largely been prevented from operating fifth freedom routes to the US (aside from Emirates’ Milan to New York flight), the benefit for Etihad is that their partners can operate flights to the US.

As has previously been announced, Air Serbia will be launching 5x weekly flights between Belgrade and New York JFK as of June 23, 2016.

JFK-BEG

The flight will operate with alternating schedules depending on the day of the week, as follows:

JU500 Belgrade to New York departing 7:30AM arriving 12:00PM
JU501 New York to Belgrade departing 2:40PM arriving 5:30AM (+1 day)

or

JU500 Belgrade to New York departing 12:55PM arriving 5:25PM
JU501 New York to Belgrade departing 7:30PM arriving 10:20AM (+1 day)

The flight will be operated using a leased Jet Airways Airbus A330-200, featuring 18 business class seats and 236 economy class seats. The business class seats will be in a herringbone configuration, similar to what you’ll find on Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin-Atlantic-Upper-Class - 4
Virgin Atlantic herringbone seats

I find it sort of hilarious that Etihad is basically leasing a plane from one of their partners to one of their other partners.

Air-Serbia-New-York

It’s worth noting that Air Serbia just took delivery of the A330, so they have plenty of time to get it ready for the service to New York.

If you do want to redeem miles on this flight, Air Serbia uses Etihad Guest as their frequent flyer program. One-way award redemption rates between Belgrade and New York are as follows:

  • Economy class: 44,970 miles
  • Business class: 64,082 miles

Air-Serbia-Award-1

Air-Serbia-Award-2

While that’s not cheap, do keep in mind that Etihad Guest is both a Citi ThankYou and Amex Membership Rewards transfer partner, and Amex even has a 30% transfer bonus to Etihad Guest at the moment, which would lower the cost to 50,000 Membership Rewards points one-way.

Etihad-Transfer-Bonus

The catch is that the only way to book Air Serbia award tickets is to call Etihad Guest, as these awards aren’t bookable online. So while I’ve ascertained that availability is quite good, you do have to go through the hassle of booking by phone, which can be a time consuming process.

Bottom line

This is a cool new route, which I’d be curious to try at some point. I’ve heard great things about Serbia, so this would be a great opportunity to visit a new country while trying out a new service as well.

Anyone interested in taking the new Air Serbia flight between New York and Belgrade?

Comments

  1. I’m definitely going to be giving it a shot since it is literally the fastest way to get from Greece to NYC. Leaving in my morning and being able to hit New York by lunch is great, plus the economy prices are not too bad.

  2. It’s a great country and Belgrade is fun. Cheap, good food and fun nightlife.

    That said, what does this mean: “I’ve great things about Serbia, so this would be a great opportunity to visit a new country while trying out a new service as well.”

  3. @Jason
    This would be a chance for him to visit a new country and at the same time; and try a new business class product. Belgrade is indeed an awesome city; the nightlife is simply amazing; perfect combination for the college student I was.
    This plane seems to be flying a pretty dense configuration.

  4. Going to book it Lucky? I’ve flown virgin upper as they call it and I find it dated, don’t have much personally to compare it to because I don’t fly much but I prefer the square seats and sleek cabins. With it being a new route for them are they doing deals? Always wanted to go to Belgrade.

  5. I’ve booked Air Serbia flights with Etihad guest miles (Belgrade to Bucharest and Prague to Belgrade.) There are no fuel surcharges, and booking only takes 5-10 minutes over the phone. Award space has always been available in economy on every flight I’ve checked.

    The is a different beast, but I expect wide open space in economy and business class. Look me up if you get to Belgrade before the 4th of July. Otherwise I’ll probably be on the Croatian or Montenegrin coasts.

  6. I’ve flown Air Serbia back when it was called JAT airway( it’s only renamed to Air Serbia 3 years ago) , had to book US carrier to Zurich and JAT airway departing from Zurich to Serbia as it was still under US lead UN embargo. Lived in Serbia for 3 months, it was a time when the series of Balkan war still fresh in people’s memory. That flight was quite an experience, the plane looked like it hasn’t been update since the 70s, just like the Yugo cars… There were cigarette butts in the ash tray of the seats yet there are small signs in English that says no smoking allowed, except no one speaks English. Balkan region was a difficult place to travel to at the time, there were very little information about the region online and no available information from tripadvisor (when tripadvisor was available only for US states and major EU cities) and the effect of economic sanction was very obvious in Southern Serbia near Kosovo border. Kosovo was still under UN administration and most UN personnel stay in Macedonia instead Kosovo. The coastal towns of Montenegro & Croatia like Dubrovnik were sleepy, quiet, most things closed at 9pm. Went back to the Dalmatian coast last summer, Dubovnik is now unrecognizable, hip & trendy full of night life and mostly now known as ‘real life Kings landing’ with iron throne replica very where, island of Hvar is now the party central that attract Prince Harry, Tom Cruise, Blake Griffin, Montenegro is also flooded with sun seekers. Did a day trip to Bosnia even there is jammed packed with tourists. Border crossing is such a breeze now compared to 9 years ago. Balkan people are now counting on Serbia & Montenegro to be the next EU candidates. Go before American tourists show up….

  7. Love traveling to the former Yugoslavia. Even with the rapid development of Croatia the whole region still feels like a step back in time. Great nightlife, extremely affordable, wonderful beaches and some of the most beautiful people in the world.

    Belgrade isn’t a very tolerant city however. (At least it wasn’t five years ago) Zagreb, Sarajevo, Ljubljana and really anywhere on the Adriatic coast are much more welcoming

  8. I flew one of those Jet Airways planes on an Etihad operated flight from Mumbai to Abu Dhabi last year. I found the aisle-facing seats extremely awkward as I was one of the first to board and all the economy passengers don’t just walk past you, but you look them directly into the face. Also the seat cover had some “fold” which pressed right into my back, especially in the lounge position. Still quite comfortable for sleeping though, and the service was excellent. Wouldn’t mind flying that plane again.

  9. Ben you should fly from Denver to Munich on Lufthansa! They re-added it, it’s 10 hours and it’s an A330-300 V2 on seatguru.

  10. I am excited about this route but only because I hope that Washington, DC will be the next city with direct connection. From what I hear though, it might be Chicago. Let’s wait and see. I really miss Belgrade and I would go at least twice a year if they realize that DC market is just as good, if not better than New York.

  11. Belgrade is indeed a very interesting city with lots of history, great food and nightlife, interesting museums, but this should not be the only reason to visit Serbia. The rest of the country has lots to offer as wells, gorgeous nature/vistas (mountains/lakes/rivers), plenty of monasteries that can be visited, great food, a relaxed lifestyle and, thankfully, still few international tourists, at least for the time being. Neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina is a fascinating country to visit as well.

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