We are going to push the rest of this series out quickly since it is all written and has just been sitting in my drafts folder.
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] – Here Part 2 – IAD-MUC [UA 106, Boeing B767-400ER, Economy] – Here Part 3 – MUC-SOF [LH 1702, Airbus A321, Economy] – Here Part 4 – SOF-BEG [JU 123, Aérospatiale/Alenia ATR 72-200, Economy] – Here Part 5 – BEG-TIV [YM 201, Fokker F100, Economy] – Here Part 6 – TIV-BEG [YM 202, Fokker F100, Economy] – Here Part 7 – BEG-LHR [JU 380, Airbus A319, Business] – Here Part 8 – LHR-MAD [IB 3167, Airbus A330-300, Business] – Here Part 9 – MAD-LIS [IB 3118, Airbus A321, Business] – Here Part 10 – LIS-LHR [BA 499, Airbus A320, Business] – Here Part 11 – LHR-ARN [BA 780, Boeing B767-300ER, Business] – Here Part 12 – ARN-BEG [JU 411, Airbus A319, Business] – Here Part 13 – BEG-ATH [JU 512, Airbus A319, Business] – You are here Part 14 – ATH-IST [TK 1850, Boeing B737-900ER, Economy] – Here Part 15 – IST-ATH [TK 1843, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Here Part 16 – ATH-FRA [A3 830, Airbus A321, Economy] – Here Part 17 – FRA-IAH [UA 47, Boeing B787-900, EconomyPlus] – Here
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 ATH. This was part of an EY award ticket ARN-BEG-ATH.
After arriving from ARN, I had to rush immediately to my next flight and couldn’t stop to visit the new JU Premium Lounge. My flight was leaving from Gate A2 according to the FIDS.
I go through the security at the gate right behind the flight crew.
My JU A319 waiting outside.
W6 A320 taxing by.
LH ERJ-190 arriving from MUC.
Air Serbia, JU 512 Equipment: Airbus A319 [YU-APF (ex-Y4), delivered November 2007] Departure: 13:05 (ATD: 13:12) Arrival: 15:40 (ATA: 15:27) Flight time: 1:15
They call boarding 25 minutes before departure and I head down the priority lane.
Down the glass jetbridge.
2 FAs greet me in the galley and one of them walks me to my seat and places my backpack in the overhead bin for me. The J cabin.
My beloved 2A. The load will be 4/8 in J.
View down my aisle.
Seat pitch is similar to domestic F in the US.
Large entertainment box blocking underseat storage.
The plane is leased and the overheads have not been retrofitted to account for the 2-2 J cabin.
The seatback contents.
The purser comes out and hands me a menu and an oshibori. She welcomes me aboard and addresses me by name. She also asks me if I would like a newspaper and what I would like to drink.
So, the downside is that the menu is the same as what I had BEG-LHR since the flight was departing from BEG in the same month.
A glass of Mumm to start the flight.
LH A319 to FRA.
We push back right on time.
During the taxi, the FA collects my empty glass and takes my meal and drink order. Since I had the veal on BEG-LHR, I went for the sea bream instead.
This passenger, a stereotypical American, refused to put his seat up for takeoff and continued playing on his phone ignoring the directions from the cabin crew. He worked for a certain NBA team, which I won’t disclose, and was obviously scouting either in Serbia or Greece. He was also very rude to the FA throughout the flight. I almost felt like I should apologize to her while deplaning after witnessing all of this. A perfect example of why there is so much disdain for Americans in other countries.
Lifting up over Belgrade and crossing the Sava River.
The FA came out, laid the linens, and delivered aperitifs.
Sparking water and hot nuts.
Snow capped mountains in southern Serbia, Macedonia, or Kosovo.
My drink was refilled and my tray was laid down.
The sea bream was two fillets. The top fillet was very dry from the cooking; the one underneath was still moist. I didn’t find this dish to be as good as the veal I had BEG-LHR or the lamb I had ARN-BEG. The green polenta was just weird visually although it tasted fine.
The salad was the same as on BEG-LHR and lacked a real protein.
No comment on the presentation of the dessert… I just scraped the top off and ate the cake part. Note the best of JU meals.
Going to guess this is Dojran Lake on the Macedonia and Greece border.
Flying straight over the top of Thessaloniki.
Entering the Aegean Sea.
Nea Poteidaia, a little canal.
After the meal I requested a glass of the Serbian brandies they advertise in the menu. I requested a glass of plum brandy and a cup of coffee, which both delivered with a smile.
Unfortunately, not Mount Olympus. I think this is Mount Dirfi, just north of Athens.
Athens is visible below as we circle into ATH. You can prominitely see the Olympiacos F.C.’s Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus as we loop around the city.
Ellinikon International Airport, the former ATH.
Descent into ATH.
Touching down a little bit ahead of schedule past a sea of FR planes, plus the MS B738.
A3 representing their presence at their hub.
We pull in next to a RJ ERJ-175 and a EK B777.
Out towards the baggage claim after immigration. Immigration was pretty quick since our flight was the only one landing at that time from a non-Schengen country.
Welcome to Athens.
Waiting for my bag in the baggage claim.
A great sign in the restroom at ATH.
After collecting my bag, I took the subway into the city to check-in to my hotel. It’s 10 euros for a ticket from the airport to the city center and takes ~40 minutes. I’ll leave off this series here while I start my stay in Athens.
Belgrad - BEG
Athens - ATH
JU just keeps on doing what JU does: excellent service standards on short flights. Catering was flat on this sector, but the overall JU experience is one of the best for short hops outside of Asia. It was a great set of 4 flights on JU in this series and I hope to be back to BEG next year to fly them again for my next trip to the Balkans.
Cabin comfort: The J cabin is good enough for a short flight and the light loads on JU make sure there is plenty of privacy. The seats are wide and the pitch is decent. The only negative is the lack of underseat storage.
Crew: There was 1 FA for 4 passengers so the service was very attentive. She didn't have the best of English abilities (compared to my other JU flights). They follow EY service protocols to the letter.
Meal and catering: From PDB to menus to coursed meals with linens, JU brings long-haul dining to short-haul flights. The main and the dessert were both underwhelming and the worst meals I have had on JU, but if you re-calibrate your expectations for a 70-minute flight, this is pretty impressive service.
Entertainment: Newspapers offered. Standard seatback literature. The iPad is not handed out on this flight since it is shorter than 2 hours.
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