Air Serbia, flag carrier of Serbia, resumed longhaul service between Belgrade and New York last year after a long hiatus. JAT, the forerunner to Air Serbia, last served JFK in 1996 with a DC-10. As Air Serbia’s flagship (and only) longhaul route, expectations were high — how would Air Serbia do on an 10hr flight?
I spent the night before the flight in the Air Serbia Premium Lounge in Belgrade. My ideal jet lag elixir is to stay up the night before (thereby already adjusting to the arrival time zone) then catch and early flight and spend most of it sleeping. I highly recommend the Air Serbia Lounge as a pitstop prior to your flight: check out my full review here.
The Air Serbia flight leaves early on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays for New York: on Fridays and Saturdays it leaves in the afternoon.
Boarding began 1hr prior to takeoff according to the boarding pass, but upon arrival at the gate I waited another 15 minute to board the aircraft. Security is performed at the gate prior to boarding but was not overly invasive. My laptop came out, but shoes stayed on and liquids remained in my bag.
Air Serbia 500
Belgrade (BEG) – New York (JFK)
June 20, 2017
Departs at 07:50AM
Arrive at 12:00PM
Seat 1K (Business Class)
Onboard, I was greeted warmly by a trio of FAs working business class. I found my seat on the far side, 1K, which is ideal for solo travelers since you are the middle row faces toward the first row.
Air Serbia A330 Business Class Seats
The business class cabin contains 18 seats (six rows of three) in a herringbone configuration. I don’t think it is the most efficient layout considering a reverse herringbone would have allowed for four seats across, but the seat itself is quite comfortable.
A small shelf leaves a bit of room for a pre-departure beverage or cold towel and below it is a cup holder perfectly designed for a water bottle.
Both a universal power outlet and USB port are available.
In lie-flat mode the seat stretches 6’2″, allowing me to full stretch out (though I tend to sleep in the fetal position). I spent 85% of the flight sleeping, so let that be a testament to the comfort of the bed. Bedding contains a mattress pad with light blanket over it and fairly plush pillow. There is no individual air nozzle, but thankfully the cabin was not too warm and I quickly fall asleep.
One surprising note for a cabin that otherwise very clean and well-maintained: my tray table was showing signs of aging–
Air Serbia A330 Business Class Amenities
Air Serbia amenities are well above-average for a transatlantic carrier. Pajamas and slippers are provided (upon request) and of good quality. If only the pajamas had pockets they would have been prefect. While I don’t usually change into pajamas anymore, I did on this flight since I planned to spend most of it sleeping.
An amenity kit is fairly basic, but the bag has a nice design — I took it with me as a souvenir of Air Serbia.
Newspapers were also offered:
Air Serbia A330 Business Class Service
Service was an absolute high-point on this flight. Surprisingly, there were only four passengers in the cabin plus three non-revs in the last row. Nevertheless, I think service would have been just as personalized had the cabin been full.
I was addressed by name and the FAs were not just beautifully groomed (Etihad grooming standards with hair tied and perfect makeup) but incredibly cheerful. I sensed so much pride in working for Air Serbia on its flagship route and that showed in the high level of gracious service I received.
Another tremendous touch — meal service was conducted like first class. No carts and no trays: after a white tablecloth was laid down every item was carefully laid out. Clearly FAs had studied where they should put the salt and pepper shakers, where the bread bowl goes, and even in what direction to lay the silverware. That certainly did not go unnoticed!
A FA named Dijana helped me for most of the flight and did a tremendous job.
Air Serbia A330 Business Class Food
I decided to stick with Serbian food as much as possible on the flight and was not disappointed. Here’s a look at the a la carte breakfast and snack menu + wine list.
Service began with mixed nuts and fresh-squeezed orange juice after takeoff.
Prior to takeoff I had already had a couple glasses of orange juice.
I chose the Serbian dish for breakfast: spinach pie and popara with kajmak and ajar served with beef prosciutto. It was very nice — something different yet delicious. Dijana was pleased that I chose the local dish and promised I would like it. Before the main course, though, I enjoyed some Greek yogurt with berries and granola and a delicious fruit smoothie (so good I had five refills during the flight).
Although it looks beautiful, the cappuccino (and filter coffee) onboard were very poor.
I’ll be honest: I was expecting a full lunch prior to landing and there was not a set lunch menu, just several snacks you could be ordered. But Dijana recommended stuffed grape leaves with chickpeas and that combined with a bowl of fruit and delicious apple pie proved to be a very satisfying pre-arrvial lunch.
Air Serbia A330 Business Class IFE and Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi is available for purchase the the following rate–
Because I slept through most of the flight, I did not avail myself to the Wi-Fi service.
IFE selection is fairly limited: I counted about eight English movies and a dozen Serbian movies. There were also TV and audio selections plus games. The only IFE I used (beyond the map feature) was to play a game of solitaire.
Air Serbia A330 Business Class Lavatories
Lavatories passed the clean test. There were no special features.
I was elated to finally try Air Serbia and highly recommend it. Take a comfortable seat with good Serbian food and warm hospitality and you have a winning combination. At a cost of 68K Etihad Guest miles one-way with no fuel surcharges and great availability, the choice becomes even more compelling.