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:
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 TIV to BEG aboard YM. This route is operated twice daily by YM and once daily by JU. YM is the only carrier that operates an afternoon flight. This is part of a $100 round-trip ticket that I booked BEG-TIV-BEG. There will be a tourist bonus on Kotor at the end of the report.
After touring Kotor, I took a taxi back to the airport since there is no public transportation from Kotor to TIV. The “flat rate” they advertise is €10, which is reasonable. The taxi dropped me off right in front of the terminal 100 minutes before departure.
Inside, all of the counters were closed so I stopped by the restroom first. Leaving the restroom, I take this picture of the lobby. As soon as the camera clicks, a lady comes from behind and says something to me in Montenegrin. I have no idea what she was saying, but she then switched to English and told me that there is no photography allowed pointing to the giant red sign hanging in the middle of the lobby (top left corner of this photo). I looked closer and didn’t see anything that said no photography, but respected the request and apologized. There really wasn’t anything else to photograph in this lobby anyways.
The YM check-in counters opened 90-minutes before departure. I joined the queue of the couple other people waiting around and got my boarding pass for this flight. Since the security line wasn’t open yet, I went to the café in the lobby to grab a beer while I wait.
This café fortunately had FIDS on display inside. Sorry, for the quality. As you can see, the only flight leaving this afternoon is my flight to BEG and the only arrivals will be YM flights from DME and BEG.
60-minutes before departure, the security line finally opened up. I cleared security and passport control and was dumped airside. Airside has nothing. There was a large duty free store, but other than that just rows of seating.
Montenegro Airlines, YM 202 Equipment: Fokker F100 [4O-AOP (ex-JJ), delivered October 1993] Departure: 15:30 (ATD: 15:31) Arrival: 16:10 (ATA: 16:08) Flight time: 0:37
At the indicated boarding time, an announcement was made for priority boarding and special assistance boarding. General boarding soon followed. I was one of the last to board around 20-minutes to depature.
Walking out to our plane, which is exactly where I left it this morning. As I mentioned in the last series, this plane is only used on the TIV-BEG route so it sits on the tarmac in between the morning and afternoon flights.
Up the stairs we go.
Entering the plane, the FAs take a double take when they see me. It will be the same crew as this morning. The male FA quickly welcomes me back in English. My seat for this return leg and some cabin shots showing off the old grey leather seats.
Seat pitch is the same as what I saw in the exit row on the previous leg, looks about 32”.
What I don’t like about the Fokker F100s is that the armrest is flush to the wall so you have no elbow room.
And the windows are horribly scratched making photography difficult.
The cabin as boarding completes, you can see there are 4-6 people in J.
Seatback contents and the safety card.
The door closes and the FAs do the safety demonstration, but we don’t move. We finish the safety demonstration and are still sitting there. I finally see the YM ERJ-195 taxi by arriving from DME. TIV has no taxiways so our plane can’t leave until they arrived.
We then taxi onto the runway and head to the far end of the runway. We make our U-turn on the runway to take off towards the airport.
As we lift up, we get a view of TIV.
Lifting up over Tivat.
We make a U-turn to the left to loop around and head towards BEG.
Drink service starts up and the same male FA asks me what I want to drink. He served me my coffee and remembered that I wanted it black. He also asked me if I wanted water to go along with it, so I agreed.
We are soon soaring over the snow-covered mountains of Montenegro.
After service items were cleaned up we were dropping into the farmland of Serbia.
A sunny afternoon as we descend past Belgrade.
Crossing the Sava River.
The shadow of our Fokker.
We touch down a little ahead of schedule.
We taxi around and pull into a gate next to a JU A319.
Exiting the plane, the FAs thank me for flying. Follow the signage towards the baggage claim, which is horribly blurry.
“Welcome to Serbia” as you head towards passport control, which was very quick.
Through the baggage claim and out to the bus, where I take the bus back to Belgrade for 300 РСД (€2.40).
On the bus ride back to Belgrade city center, I notice this ad for JAT Airways. A nice reminder of the past.
I’ll leave off this series here as I return to BEG. Tune into the next report for the start of my journey from BEG to LIS, which will feature the flagship BEG-LHR service on JU and a Belgrade tourist bonus.
——————————– BONUS: The point of flying to the little airport of TIV was to visit Kotor, a magnificent town nestled into the Bay of Kotor below towering fortresses and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Arriving to Kotor before the towering cliffs, which I will be hiking.
Classic Aegean Sea coast harbor views.
Looking towards the Bay of Kotor.
The old city walls of Kotor.
If I blow up that picture, you can see a small red flag at the top of the fortress, which is where the hike will take me.
Entering the Old Town through the Vrata od Škurde.
The hiking trail map for Kotor Fortress.
Reaching the trailhead, you have to pass through some unmarked alleys to find the entrance.
The initial ascent gives nice views of the old orange roofs of the Old Town.
Most of the trail has some steps so its not too bad, but it does get worse.
Aerial view of the Old Town and the harbor. The airport is located on the other side of these mountains and is accessed by a tunnel.
The beautiful Bay of Kotor.
The ruins of the fortress and some narrow openings you have to crawl through to continue your climb.
Reaching the top of Kotor Fortress, you are left with spectacular aerial views of the Old Town and Bay.
Ruins of the old fortress.
A look down at the old wall.
Not all of the paths are easy to navigate and require some climbing and crawling to make your way through to see some old parts of the fortress.
Exploring the countryside you find some old churches and sheep.
But the scenery is worth it the entire time.
A look back at the fortress as you descend back into the Old Town.
Saint Nicholas Church.
The rest of my time was spent wandering through the streets of the Old Town which are lined with shops and cafes.
The Old Clock Tower.
Church of Saint Luke.
Church of Saint Michael.
Cathedral of Saint Tryphon.
Since the cats of Bulgaria were so popular, I’ll also include the cats of Montenegro.
Tivat - TIV
Belgrad - BEG
Another nice flight on YM, they are a decent carrier. I probably would never try their J product, but their Y service seems on par with other European carriers. The cabin on the Fokker F100 is average, but there are friendly crews and good on-time performance.
Cabin comfort: Old Fokker F100 with fairly comfortable leather seats and no trash in sight. The pitch is good for Y at 32”. Not much elbow room in this tight cabin.
Crew: A friendly YM crew with fluent English ability (both pilots and FAs).
Meal and catering: A full drink service on a 37-minute flight is good in my books. Only improvement would be a salty/sweet snack to accompany the drink.
Entertainment: Standard seatback literature. No IFE.
On-time performance: We left on-time and arrived early. We could have been much earlier, but were held by ATC in TIV.
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