This was my first flight as Air Serbia Passenger on an Air Serbia scheduled/regular flight. Previously I flew Air Serbia as Al Italia Passenger just couple days after the Airline had re-branded itself from Jat Airways into Air Serbia. Also, this was my first Trip to Germany as well. Most of my flights are usually charter ones, usually operated by JAT/Air Serbia since I live in Belgrade. Ever since 2005 the Airline utilized Boeing 737-300 both for all operations. After re-branding, Air Serbia leased younger planes - A319 and A320. Leased planes are completely refitted and sport Air Serbia livery, unlike the old JAT planes (bought directly from Boeing and delivered in 1985).
Unfortunately,737-300 had been assigned to my outbound flight from Belgrade to Berlin. I was hoping to finally "test" the new bird, but I will have to keep patient until my inbound flight.
By late spring 2015 Air Serbia did not implement online check-in system, so I had to be at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport two hours before my flight. Air Serbia's strategy is to have at least 3 daily waves for each plane, and my flight was in the first (morning wave). There is no specially dedidated Terminal at Belgrade Airport for Air Serbia, all legacy carriers use T2, while the old Airport Building T1 is used for LCC and Charter operations. Check-in counters used by Air Serbia are divided into those dealing with Regional Traffic (Flights to Former Yugoslavia, Albania and Romania) and Euro-Mediterranean Traffic. Waiting time for Check-in is from instant to 15-20 minutes because all counters check-in all the flights.
Air Serbia now features dedicated baggage tag paper with information about check-in and boarding times in order to allow the plane to depart on time.
Belgrade Airport is relatively decent for O&D Passengers in terms of what is offered, unlike in my opinion insufficient for ever growing number of transit Passengers. Anyhow, after obtaining my Boarding Pass, I went through Passport Control and got into the Gate Area.
Belgrade Airport allows its Passengers relatively good conditions for plane spotting, so here are some of the early morning birds - Air Serbia's Airbus 319 YU-APC and YU-APB.
My plane waits at gate A4. The good old Boeing 737-300 YU-ANJ now sporting Aviolet livery (charter department of Air Serbia). Boeing are being used only when there aren't enough Airbuses available.
Boarding went smooth and at 07:21 plane started to taxi its way towards runway 30.
At 07:29 JU350 is finally airborne. The Passengers were greeted by Cabin Senior on behalf of Air Serbia, Etihad Airways, Air Berlin, Etihad Regional, Air Seychelles and Jet Air. Couple of minutes later Captain announced that the plane should land at Tegel Airport at 09:10.
The plane is high above the clouds and fasten your seat belt is no longer mandatory - perfect time to take the stroll to the lavatory. You may see that although clean, the plane interior (including the lavatory) is worn out.
The Airline has not done any refurbishment since 1985 - except changing the original seats in 2012 with 2nd hand Lufthansa seats produced by German Recaro. Cabin overview and above head panel. Note that even tough you may press the FA button, nothing will actually happen nor will the crew be aware of your call.
Air Serbia in-flight entertainment is mediocre, at least for economy - just the in-flight magazine Elevate.
The Catering is generally good, but I think that the breakfast served was quite a miss. On flights shorter than 2 hours, Air Serbia dispenses "meal bags". Apart from the meal bag, you may order one complimentary drink and a coffee. My bag contained: chocolate bread, fruit yogurt, wet wipe and a cardboard glass (for coffee).
As the Plane prepares for landing, we fly over a highway and some apartment buildings.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Berlin… and what a welcoming party it is - Air Berlin at Berlin Tegel Airport. The plane touched ground at 09:00.
The plane continues to taxi until it reaches parking position in front of Terminal C (kind of temporary solution made to facilitate Air Berlin if I understood well). However passengers and baggage are transported to the main building of Tegel for all the formalities.
Baggage claim is extremely fast. Once you are through the Passport Control you find yourself directly at Baggage claim area with only one lane dedicated exclusively for your flight.
What I disliked at Tegel is the fact it is simply too small for the capital of Germany and that it is not connected to down town the way other major German Airports are (no S-Bahn, no U-Bahn). You need to take one of the municipal buses or taxi. Since I was heading to Hamburg by bus from Central Bus Station (ZOB - ICC) I decided to take TXL bus for just a few stops and then hop on S-Bahn at Beusselstrasse stop. ZOB ICC is reached in about 15 minutes ride you need to step off at Messe Nord / ICC S-Bahn stop).
The former Berlin Fair Complex is the home of the oldest broadcasting tower in Berlin - Funkturm. It has a viewing platform, but it is sometimes closed due to strong winds (like that morning).
Germany has lifted domestic-bus transportation ban and you may travel dirt cheap by bus.
Belgrad - BEG
Berlin - TXL
Overall it was a smooth flight. IFE as expected. Breakfast - could have been better.
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