A few years ago, I flew Air Serbia from Greece to New York City. It was a cheap ticket and I had not flown this particular route before so I thought it would be a good option (not to mention it gets into NYC much earlier than most European flights). However, as you can read in my review, I was not entirely pleased with the experience and I decided to not fly that route again.
Impressions of the New Air Serbia Business Class – JFK to Belgrade
Why I Chose to Fly Air Serbia
However, when cheap prices come around for business class, of course you have to give the airline another shot! Plus, it would be on their new business class for this flight and it has the “throne” seats of which I am very fond of with SWISS and Austrian so I figured, “why not!” I needed to fly from NYC to Greece anyway and I had points to offset the cash price so it was an easy decision.
This is not an actual review because I was so exhausted when I boarded that I put the seat into sleep mode right after take-off and skipped dinner. But, more on this in a moment. 🙂
Interestingly, the cash price for the business class deal that had been going on was $650 for one-way out of JFK. I was able to cut that more than half with points and it ended up being a great deal for me since I needed to take two full checked bags anyway. But, the interesting part was that people were paying $800 at check-in to upgrade to business class. So, they had purchased economy tickets and then paid more to upgrade than I paid for the whole ticket!
This Airbus A330-200 is a “new” aircraft to the Air Serbia fleet. It replaces the other A330 that Air Serbia had and is just a year newer than the previous aircraft. This particular plane was manufactured in 2008 and was previously flown by Aeroflot.
It has a whole new livery that was done to honor Nikola Tesla (whom the airport in Belgrade is also named after). I actually really liked the design and thought it looked vibrant and fresh.
Air Serbia Business Class Cabin
Onboard, the business class cabin is different from the previous plane that flew this route. The design is similar to what is onboard the Aer Lingus business class cabin. Some may prefer the older layout (I had not flown Air Serbia business before this so I cannot speak to that) but I do like this business class layout.
When traveling alone, I really prefer selecting the “throne” style seats. When flying SWISS, you have to pay if you want to grab those seats unless you wait until check-in. With Air Serbia, they were available for anyone to select. When I first purchased my ticket (just a couple of weeks before the flight), there were barely any seats selected online. For the flight, business class was almost completely full.
The Business Class Seat on Air Serbia
I didn’t take a lot of photos of the seat and layout, frankly, because I was so tired! If you want to see a lot of photos, hop on over to read Matthew’s review at Live and Let’s Fly. I will say that the seat was not the most comfortable business class seat I have slept on but I did sleep for 6 hours in it! That definitely tells you how tired I was but also that the seat was fully adequate for sleeping.
The cabin was cool enough for the flight (I hate it when the cabin is warm)and the seat really was comfortable enough. I liked that Air Serbia included what seemed to be a half-size pillow compared to what a hotel or home may have. With many airlines using small pillows, this was a welcome find and I found it to be one of the more comfortable pillows I have had onboard an airplane.
There was plenty of storage around the seat with a mesh area in the front under the entertainment display. It was a good spot for small things with more mesh storage areas to the sides of the seat. I liked that there was a large, open-front storage area to the right of my seat (I was sitting on the right side of the aircraft) which held things like my iPad and noise canceling headphones case easily.
There were power options in the back to the right from my seat along with a light. On the left, there was a light with a bottle holder. There was a bottle of water waiting for me in that slot.
Given that Air Serbia retrofitted this aircraft when they took delivery of it earlier this year, I was surprised to find the amount of wear and tear on surfaces already. I am not sure if they were actually using older parts or the cabin had already taken that much of a beating. Of course, it didn’t affect my overall experience but is just a passing observation.
Entertainment and Food
I will make this little thing quick – there is no WiFi available onboard so nothing to report there on speed or price! As to entertainment options, that was really lacking as well with just a few movies and TV show selections. If you are someone who relies on in-flight entertainment and will by flying Air Serbia on this route, definitely load up your computer/phone/tablet with entertainment for the long flight.
As to food, I had gone to sleep right before dinner was served. You can see the complete food menus for both directions of the flight.
However, I was awake for breakfast and had the French toast. I have to tell you – this was one of the best bread-based meals I have ever had on an airplane! I may be very easy to please when it comes to something like French toast but it was not dry, overdone – just right. I actually really enjoyed this so I can at least give their breakfast high marks!
Business Class Amenities
I typically grab the business class amenity kit before deplaning (if I have room) because my kids always love those kinds of things. But, I didn’t even bother with the Air Serbia bag, let alone opening it. It was by far the cheapest-feeling business class amenity bag I have ever felt.
Granted, they probably only offer this particular bag on this flight since they don’t have other long-haul flights so that means that they are only purchasing 21 kits per direction. So, buying bulk on more quality bags is not cost-effective for them. Still, I was surprised by its poor quality but that is not something that would turn me away from flying it again!
The Air Serbia Premium Lounge in Belgrade is actually a very nice lounge. They have a nice menu you can order from and it was not too crowded while I was there (which was mid-morning). The seats were comfortable and the internet fast enough.
The showers were closed due to Covid but the regular bathrooms were open and private.
The Lounge in JFK
I’ll just drop this here since I am not going to do a separate review on it. Air Serbia uses Terminal 1 at JFK and they open their counters just about 4 hours before departure. The lounge they use is a Priority Pass lounge, the Primeclass Lounge.
It is right near the gate where the Air Serbia flight departed from and the area you walk in at is just for the check-in area of the lounge. Then you take an elevator or the stairs down to the lounge area. This is right at tarmac level and the seating was plentiful.
There are a number of flights that use this lounge, plus Priority Pass members can as well but the food selection was far better than the Lufthansa lounge in Terminal 1 from a few months ago. Plus, the seating was all comfortable as well. There could have been more power outlets but I was able to find one not far from my seat.
The Belgrade Airport
I have flown to/through the Belgrade Airport a few times now and it continues to be the only one I can think of that does security this way. Each gate has its own security which means that if you are flying to the US, you will want to allow for plenty of time for this section. There are bathrooms at the gate area but no water or any liquids so drink up before you enter your gate!
Also, if you are flying business class, they will let you cut to the front of the line.
Negative of Air Serbia from JFK to Serbia?
There is one problem I have with this route by Air Serbia, however. They only have one aircraft to make this route and they only service JFK for all of America. This means that if there is a technical problem, your schedule can be thrown off.
It also means that their onboard staff is not like most airlines that fly routes to the US all the time (however, there could be just two or three crews that make this route – I cannot say for sure). I found the crew to not be the friendliest I have had on airlines. This could possibly be due to the fact that it seemed like a couple of the crew members I interacted with did not speak very good English.
Overall, my experience in business class on Air Serbia between JFK and Belgrade was night and day in difference from economy. Sure, the service was not a lot better but the food was better and the seat was definitely an improvement! 🙂
Will I fly them again? Absolutely – if I can find this deal again. Their schedule for the early flight to NYC works exceptionally well for me so I would like to do it the other way. It is also not bad from JFK.