Review of Montenegro Airlines flight Belgrad Tivat in Economy

Airline Montenegro Airlines
Flight YM 201
Class Economy
Seat 15A
Aircraft Fokker 100
Flight time 00:40
Take-off 14 Mar 16, 09:35
Arrival at 14 Mar 16, 10:15
YM 5 reviews
NGO85
By 3112
Published on 26th March 2016
Background:

This series covers a two-week vacation to Europe that will feature stops in SOF, BEG, TIV, LIS, ARN, and ATH. For background and planning, please refer back to Part 1. As a reminder, the routing for this series is:

Part 1 – IAH-IAD [UA 373, Boeing B767-300ER, Economy] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-13577.html
Part 2 – IAD-MUC [UA 106, Boeing B767-400ER, Economy] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-13623.html
Part 3 – MUC-SOF [LH 1702, Airbus A321, Economy] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-13658.html
Part 4 – SOF-BEG [JU 123, Aérospatiale/Alenia ATR 72-500, Economy] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-13675.html
Part 5 – BEG-TIV [YM 201, Fokker F100, Economy] – You are here
Part 6 – TIV-BEG [YM 202, Fokker F100, Economy] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-13726.html
Part 7 – BEG-LHR [JU 380, Airbus A319, Business] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-13820.html
Part 8 – LHR-MAD [BA 522, Airbus A330-300, Business] – Coming soon
Part 9 – MAD-LIS [IB 3118, Airbus A321, Business] – Coming soon
Part 10 – LIS-LHR [BA 499, Airbus A320, Business] – Coming soon
Part 11 – LHR-ARN [BA 780, Boeing B767-300ER, Business] – Coming soon
Part 12 – ARN-BEG [JU 411, Airbus A319, Business] – Coming soon
Part 13 – BEG-ATH [JU 512, Airbus A319, Business] – Coming soon
Part 14 – ATH-IST [TK 1850, Boeing B737-900ER, Economy] – Coming soon
Part 15 – IST-ATH [TK 1843, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Coming soon
Part 16 – ATH-FRA [A3 830, Airbus A321, Economy] – Coming soon
Part 17 – FRA-IAH [UA 47, Boeing B787-900, EconomyPlus] – Coming soon

Tourist Bonuses:

Sofia – Part 4
Kotor – Part 6
Belgrade – Part 7
Lisbon – Part 9
Sintra – Part 10
Stockholm – Part 12
Athens – Part 16

This report will cover the flight from BEG to TIV aboard YM. This route is operated twice daily by YM and once daily by JU. JU sends an ATR 72 and YM uses a Fokker F100. This little side trip from BEG arose spontaneously one day. I noticed most of the sites in BEG are closed on Mondays so I decided to jump ship and head somewhere else for the day. I was intrigued by Kotor, so decided to book a daytrip with YM for $100 that would allow me 5.5-hours in the city. This is the only route that YM uses its F100 on, the rest of the routes are run using their brand new ERJ 190/195s.



Pre-flight:

After breakfast at the hotel, I walked to Slavija Square to catch the shuttle bus to the airport. Showing up, the bus was already there waiting so I got in and bought a ticket from the driver for 300 РСД (€2.40).

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40 minutes later, the bus dropped us of in front of the terminal and I head towards the international terminal.

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The YM check-in counters were open for flights to both Tivat and Podgorica. There was no one in line so I was quickly helped. I handed over my passport. He asked if I had any luggage to check, which I declined and was immediately handed my boarding pass and sent on my way.

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The main departures hall at BEG. It has an old school FIDS with the mechatronics and some cafes and shops off the side.



At BEG, passport control is the first thing you pass through since security is done at the gate.

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After passport control, you enter the duty free stores.

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Most of BEG is new since it is being built up to support JU’s expanding operations so it has a lot of windows and seating areas.

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Power charging stations throughout the terminal.

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Some early morning spotting at BEG.

EY A320.

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YM ERJ-195.

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TK B738.

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RO ATR 42.

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A3 A320.

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The YM ERJ-195 lifting off for TGD.

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The gate opened an hour before departure so I went in. As you reach the gate, you have your boarding pass checked and pass through the security checkpoint and into a quarantined room that at least has a restroom.

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My boarding documents.

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My YM Fokker F100 arriving from TIV.

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RO ATR 42 taxing off for OTP as I wait for boarding to start.

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B2 CRJ-200.

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——————————-

Montenegro Airlines, YM 201
Equipment: Fokker F100 [4O-AOP (ex-JJ), delivered October 1993]
Departure: 9:35 (ATD: 9:42)
Arrival: 10:15 (ATA: 10:19)
Flight time: 0:37


Boarding started right ontime. There was a call for business class passengers and passengers needing special assistance. This was then followed by general boarding.

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The glass jetbridge.

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Traffic jam at the threshold of the plane.

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Fuselage shot.

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I was welcomed on board by a male FA who checked my boarding pass and waved me down the aisle. The cabin on boarding.

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My “exit row” seat.

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This is not what I had in mind when I picked an exit row; there was no extra legroom. Even though it was normal pitch, it was still good.

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The tray table.

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My row would remain empty.

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The antimacassar.

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The vintage overhead.

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The seatback contents.

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The safety card for this Fokker F100.

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YM’s Luxury in-flight magazine, which ended up in my backpack as a souvenir.

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YM route map.

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YM fleet.

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As boarding completes, a picture of the cabin.

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As we taxi off, the FAs do the safety demonstration in Montenegrin and English. The pilots also come on and announce the route for today in both languages.

Aligning onto the runway.

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We are up over the Serbian countryside.

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As soon as we level off, the curtain for J cabin is closed and the drink carts show up.

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I ask for a cup of coffee, the very friendly male FA asks me if that’s all I wanted. He offered water or juice to accompany it. So I took a glass of water too. This was actually some of the best airplane coffee I’ve had in a long time. It was very strong and not the normal dilute stuff you often get. He also saw my passport and asked me what I was going to to Montenegro for.

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Sipping my coffee and enjoying the stunning snow-covered mountains of Montenegro.

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As we begin our descent, we get a nice aerial view of Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro for those that don’t know.

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We reach the Adriatic Sea and turn north to drop into TIV.

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It was a wild landing with strong winds and high mountains around the airport so we had to dive bomb in there. We touch down a little bit late.

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We turn off the runway and towards the terminal.

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There are no jetbridges at TIV so we taxi around and just pull up in front of the building.

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Our stairs drive up.

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The cabin deplaning.

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A farewell in English from the FAs as I head down onto the tarmac offering a nice view of our plane.

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The terminal building and cacti.

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We go around the side to where the arrivals area was.

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Passport control.

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The baggage claim.

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After clearing customs, I head straight outside and grab a taxi to Kotor. He doesn’t want to use a meter so we agree on a fare of €10, which is probably high for the 12 minute ride into the city, but without any public transportation to the airport I lack any bargaining power. I’ll leave off this series here as I begin my stay in TIV. Tune into the next report for the return to BEG, a look at TIV, and a bonus on Kotor.
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Verdict

Montenegro Airlines

6.8/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering6.0

Belgrad - BEG

8.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness9.0

Tivat - TIV

6.2/10
Efficiency9.0
Access5.0
Services3.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

YM exceeded my expectations on this short hop from BEG to TIV. Heading into this series, this day trip was earmarked as both a highlight and a potential point of disaster. It turned out to be very nice service aboard from a friendly crew that spoke English well with good on-time performance. I got to finally fly on my first Fokker.

Cabin comfort: This is Fokker F100 is quickly approaching 30 years and will get scrapped this summer (YM couldn't find any buyers for it). You can't expect a pretty cabin, but it looked decent enough with old leather seats and no trash in sight. The pitch was okay (although I was expecting more in an exit row).

Crew: A friendly YM crew with fluent English ability (both pilots and FAs). My first experience with this carrier and they seemed very warm. It is a very small carrier and there seemed to be some pride in their country associated with their service. Offering a second drink and taking an interest in passengers is going beyond what is expected.

Meal and catering: A full drink service on a 37-minute flight is good in my books. Better than what NH would offer on a flight this short. As soon as the drink service was finished we began descent so it is a very tight window.

Entertainment: Standard seatback literature. No IFE.

On-time performance: We left a little late and arrived minutes late. YM shoots itself in the foot since they list a 37 minute flight as a 40-minute flight and leave very little wiggle room.

Related

15 Comments

  • Comment 160507 by
    Numero_2 GOLD 9939 Comments

    Thanks for sharing !

    An interesting short hop on an obscure carrier. ;)

    Inflight service is decent, although a small snack distributed during boarding (like LH does on very short flights) could be nice, too.

    • Comment 337166 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Merci Clement^^

      Inflight service is decent, although a small snack distributed during boarding (like LH does on very short flights) could be nice, too.
      - I wonder what they offer in J... The fare was close to $250 for J so it didn't tempt me. There were around 5 people in J, which was surprisingly high IMO. I can't image they received more than a small snack and a drink for service. The 3rd FA spent the entire flight in that cabin.

  • Comment 160512 by
    marathon GOLD 9602 Comments

    A decent fare for this round trip to a destination well worth visiting (I look forwar to the bonus in the report of the return flight). The cabin is in excellent condition for the age of the aircraft. Thanks for sharing !

    • Comment 337198 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you for your comments Marathon!

      A decent fare for this round trip
      - Since JU also operates this route in the morning, I considered an award ticket one-way on JU and buying a one-way ticket for the return on YM, but that would be almost the same price^^ The fare was well worth the bonus, I have no regrets :)

  • Comment 160646 by
    KL651 TEAM 4501 Comments

    Thanks for the FR.
    At first I thought they could have offered a snack but then I looked at the flight time and realized it was only a 40 minutes flight.

    Good that the crew was friendly, this is not the reputation people from the Balkans usually have in Europe.

    • Comment 337330 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you for your comments!

      At first I thought they could have offered a snack but then I looked at the flight time and realized it was only a 40 minutes flight.
      - Maybe handing out a salty/sweet snack like AZ would make their in-flight service excellent. Nonetheless, a full drink service is good for a flight of this length since there is just 10-15 minutes for service to be performed.

      Good that the crew was friendly, this is not the reputation people from the Balkans usually have in Europe.
      - I didn't find people in the Balkans too cold, even if there was a large amount of anti-NATO sentiment still in some parts.

  • Comment 160680 by
    CounterSurprise 77 Comments

    It's always great to read FRs from small airlines we hardly know, especially when flying a Fokker (Dutch sentiment here <-- ignore it). So, thanks for sharing! Do you remember what the configuration was in J? 3-3 with the middle seat blocked? Thanks again!

    • Comment 337331 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

      It's always great to read FRs from small airlines we hardly know, especially when flying a Fokker
      - This was my first Fokker and it was great to fly it on YM^^ The Fokkers aren't super comfortable, but they get the job done ;)

      Do you remember what the configuration was in J? 3-3 with the middle seat blocked? Thanks again!
      - It is the same 2-3 as the rest of the airplane. I didn't see the middle seat of the 3-seat section blocked, but given the very low loads in J on this route I'd image no one had to sit next to someone else. The pitch in J looked the same (the forward cabin didn't have extra legroom).

  • Comment 160800 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    Absolutely fantastic spotting shots at BEG! A nice mix of regional carriers with some other ones.

    I love the design of the F100 for some reason, the cabin looks well-maintained for its age.

    I ask for a cup of coffee, the very friendly male FA asks me if that’s all I wanted. He offered water or juice to accompany it. So I took a glass of water too. - That sounds like a really friendly and attentive Y FA to me.

    Stunning aerial shots, I adore the shots of the mountains!

    Thank you once again for sharing this very interesting FR with us.

    Have a good one, see you!

    • Comment 337493 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      A nice mix of regional carriers with some other ones.
      - BEG is the largest airport in the Balkans now. With TATL service starting this fall, it will only get bigger.

      I love the design of the F100 for some reason, the cabin looks well-maintained for its age.
      - The large circular windows are definitely unique. Reminds me of MD80s on the inside with the 2-3 configuration, but this plane was a lot cleaner than most of the old MD80s that AA/DL use.

      That sounds like a really friendly and attentive Y FA to me.
      - Unsolicited offers of anything during a flight are typically a sign of an attentive crew.

      I adore the shots of the mountains!
      - Montenegro is a beautiful country, I look forward to going back and spending a couple of days there.

  • Comment 160881 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    I was intrigued by Kotor, so decided to book a daytrip with YM for $100 that would allow me 5.5-hours in the city. This is the only route that YM uses its F100 on...
    - Talk about a quickie.

    My YM Fokker F100 arriving from TIV.
    - Reminds me of U.S. Postal Service.

    B2 CRJ-200.
    - Now that's an exotic beauty.

    There are no jetbridges at TIV so we taxi around and just pull up in front of the building.
    - Good thing it was not raining.

    Thanks for sharing this report on this little known carrier.

    • Comment 337494 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Talk about a quickie.
      - In and out ;) I was in Kotor within 25 minutes of touching down at TIV so it's a perfectly doable adventure, but I would have preferred a couple more hours but the flight times just aren't compatible.

      Reminds me of U.S. Postal Service.
      - Thankfully their on-time performance is better than USPS ;)

      Now that's an exotic beauty.
      - Actually doing a 5th freedom too, it operates BEG-BUD. I can't imagine doing the BUD-MSQ flight on that little guy.

      Good thing it was not raining.
      - It was cloudy, but I got lucky by avoiding rain the entire trip other than the first day in Sofia.

      Thanks for your comments Adan!

  • Comment 161050 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5331 Comments

    Thanks for this rare report on a little known airline. While the livery is not nearly as nice as Air Serbia's in the previous report, overall, the product is solid. Plus it's really cool you got to fly a Fokker 100--they are getting more and more rare, those little Fokkers.

    As you reach the gate, you have your boarding pass checked and pass through the security checkpoint and into a quarantined room that at least has a restroom.
    - Good, I hate when they have to isolated gates and you feel trapped and have no restrooms in some airports.

    The cabin is definitely rocking the retro look. But those old style seats look quite comfortable. Modern thin ironing boards are not as comfortable.

    This was actually some of the best airplane coffee I’ve had in a long time
    - That's good, but it is weird they served it in plastic. I'd be afraid it could melt the cup.

    I find your IFE grade of 2/10 to be really low. Seatback literature is about as much as anyone can expect on such a short flight--that deserves about an average rating IMO. Not to mention you stole the in-flight magazine--that deserves a better grade for sure! LOL

    Great aerials. Thanks for sharing! See you on the next one.

    • Comment 337843 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1622 Comments

      Plus it's really cool you got to fly a Fokker 100--they are getting more and more rare, those little Fokkers.
      - This was the main reason for flying them :) I had to get on a Fokker once. I got nervous since the day I landed on the SOF-BEG flight, there was a problem with the Fokker and they had to use an ERJ-175 on this route so there was some suspense what plane I was going to get. That was also the same day they found the undeclared Hellfire missiles on the JU plane, all kinds of excitement at BEG^^

      I hate when they have to isolated gates and you feel trapped and have no restrooms in some airports.
      - This style also makes transfers at BEG very easy. BEG is a very nice airport to transit in.

      The cabin is definitely rocking the retro look.
      - The yellowed gray seats were pretty awesome. I was just shocked at the lack of extra-room in the exit row, but that might just be related to the age of the plane.

      it is weird they served it in plastic. I'd be afraid it could melt the cup.
      - Yeah, it was definitely weird to get coffee in a plastic cup, but I think from Marathon reports this is also common in China. Placing it inside another cup for insulation would have been better.

      I find your IFE grade of 2/10 to be really low.
      - In the case of turboprops, I'm more lenient since I've never seen one with IFE before. But this is a narrow-body aircraft (most have flip-down screen nowadays) hence the low rating, but I can understand your argument that rating the equipment directly is not really accurate in this case since if there was a screen, it'd be down for 15-minute max during a flight of this length. I'll put it at 5.

      Thanks for all your comments Kevin!

  • Comment 162394 by
    BombieFlyer 93 Comments

    Hi NGO85!

    Thanks for bringing this unknown airline to our attention! not just that actually, i think most of us here don't know where Kotor is :) I for one is guilty for not knowing much more about Montenegro.

    I flew with Fokker 70 in 2014 and probably that would be the very last time I get the chance to do so as more and more airlines retire its Fokker fleet. So to see you rode in a Fokker 100 is a nice surprise! How was it? Did you like it? I particularly like the 2-3 arrangement. Also did you hear the loud screaming from the RR Tay engines? The leather seats look pretty comfortable too

    Cool that you have nice and warm flight attendants who showed curiosity towards you. Probably they don't get to see too many N. Americans in that particular route

    All in all, thanks for bringing the attention of this little airline with its wonderful F100!

    -Bombieflyer-

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