Read The First Air Serbia A330 Business Class Review

As most of you probably know by now, Air Serbia began flying between Belgrade and New York this past Thursday. This is huge expansion for the airline, given that they previously only flew regionally. The flight is operated by an A330 that Air Serbia acquired from Jet Airways, which they were able to pick up thanks to the backing of Etihad Airways (they have a stake in both airlines).

Air-Serbia-A330

I’m excited about the new route for several reasons, including:

Air Serbia has herringbone seats on their A330s, meaning they’re fully flat and feature direct aisle access. It’s not a cutting edge hard product, but certainly much better than what’s offered by many airlines.

While I have plans to try this route eventually, it’ll realistically be a couple of months before I fly with them.

However, I figured it was worth sharing a link to the excellent review that Carfield published on FlyerTalk about his experience in business class on the inaugural New York to Belgrade flight, as it’s the first trip report out there about the product.

I’d suggest reading the full report, but here are my takeaways, both positive and negative:

Pros:

  • It’s great that Air Serbia uses the Etihad Lounge in New York, which is one of the best airline lounges in the US
  • The flight attendants were friendly and familiar with the product, despite it being the first flight; apparently they had been trained by Etihad crews on the Abu Dhabi to New York flight
  • There’s a dine on demand menu, which is perhaps a bit unnecessary and even complicated for a quick transatlantic flight, but overall the food looks good
  • Air Serbia’s regional business class product looks great, as they feature great catering with seats similar to what you’d find in the US, rather than just economy seats with a blocked middle, as is the standard on intra-Europe flights

Etihad-Lounge-New-York - 15

Cons:

  • Right now the flight has a non-ideal schedule, as several days per week the New York to Belgrade flight departs at around 2PM, which is too early for most people to get any decent sleep
  • Air Serbia doesn’t have proper blankets in business class, but rather just a premium pillow and an economy blanket (that really needs to be fixed)
  • Air Serbia offers wifi, in increments of 90MB for 13.90EUR — that’s going to get pretty expensive if you’re trying to do a significant amount of work

Air-Serbia-Business-Class

Bottom line

I’m excited to fly Air Serbia myself at some point, though it was great to read about the first flight. It’s awesome that the crew were great, so hopefully over time they can adjust some minor aspects of their service, and then they’ll have a top notch product.

How does the trip report compare to your expectations of Air Serbia business class?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Full disclosure: I am a huge Carfield fan, and have saved (and have had friends save) airline menus that I then send to him (less often than I should), done it for a few years now, though I’m a bit behind. Hi Carfield! I have a bunch of menus for you!

    His contributions to FT (and before that thetrip.com for the oldsters) are always fun and valuable.

    Sorry if this was ot. 🙂

  2. Ach! Infernal submit button!

    Meant to include/conclude that this review is another great Carfield contribution!

  3. Last Sunday I landed at JFK from MXP and at baggage claim I noticed a very attractive team of flight assistances with an unfamiliar crew uniform …. So I asked and they told were from Air Serbia ….need to add this point on your “Pro” list

  4. Forgot to include the fact that you’re being pad to write posts about them. I keep losing more and more respect.

  5. A friend of mine used to fly Air Serbia a lot and he was really pleased with the service. Besides, I’m always looking forward to reading your reviews of more “exotic” airlines.

  6. Ben, when you do take that Air Serbia flight, you should continue on to Montenegro’s Tivat Airport and visit Kotor and Budva. They are both beautiful destinations and Budva even has an Amanresort!

  7. The business class seat looks very nice, not really what you would expect from a new start-up airline (if that is the right term for Air Serbia?). At least to me it looks much better than some offerings on major full-service airlines such as British Airways or Lufthansa for example. For some reason it reminds me of the old Cathay Pacific business class product.

  8. I can’t tell if this is a sponsored post or not. I guess not if there’s no disclaimer? But if yes, it might be helpful to toss up a note that mentions you have a small partnership with Air Serbia. I have no problem with the blog having sponsorships and partnerships–if it helps you I’m all for it! It’s just a bit troublesome if sponsored or sponsor-motivated posts are presented as the same as your other posts.

    Of course, I could be wrong and this might not be sponsored at all! If so ignore this, and thanks for the great blog all around.

  9. Didn’t read the review as the flight schedule is abhorrent. This is a much more pleasant way to spend an ‘all-nighte’r relative to freshmen year studying in a crowded library, but I certainly would have hesitation taking this flight regardless of the product offered.

  10. @ QR — Not sponsored at all. I have no financial relationship with Air Serbia — they allowed me to give away two seats on the blog, though I have no other obligations. I just found the trip report interesting since I’ve been fascinated by this new route since long before they approached me about a giveaway.

  11. Lucky,

    I am always wondering, why you are that obsessed with wifi in business class? Isn’t any passanger able to use the wifi, no matter what class he is flying?

    So I don’t get your point that a good and reasonable priced wifi relates to a good business class. Am I missing something?

  12. @ Thenewone — Because when you’re comparing different business class products it’s a point of comparison. I’m not comparing wifi in Air Serbia business to wifi in Air Serbia economy, but rather am comparing wifi in Air Serbia business to wifi in business class on other airlines.

  13. @Lucky ok, but as wifi or access to it is not tied to the business class product itself, at least for me it does not contribute to the quality of the business class rather to the quality of the airline. but that’s just my opinion 😉

    I think evaluating a business class product should only consider aspects that are tied to the product, e.g. the seat or food.

  14. @Thenewone So now you think you should determine how Lucky evaluates business class, and what he puts in his trip reports? I don’t think you’re going to get anywhere with that. Maybe you should start your own blog. 😉

  15. @Robert Hanson As a reader of his blog I was simply letting him know what my thoughts are on that topic, as it was puzzling me.

    In no words I was saying how Lucky has to evaluate business class products. When you understand my post as I am teaching him how to do his job…please do so.

    I bet he won’t, as I think he is long enough in this business to see when one of his readers is just charing his thoughts on a specific topic.

  16. Thanks Ben for recognizing my effort in posting my trip report! I have just flown the return segment, since I won’t have access to speedy wifi till I will be home in LA tonight. I won’t be able to post the last chapter of the trip report till tomorrow the earliest.

    Anyway, I am happy to report that there is indeed a turndown service and even pajamas (but they are all Etihad products). I was the only one in business class on the BEG to JFK segment, while economy was almost completely full again.

    Thanks for most of your kind comments here!

    Adrian

  17. Air Serbia has a true business class product on intra-europe flights and personally, I like the herringbone product. They are an airline worth seeking out.

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