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DutchBoeing
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Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:48 pm

Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:09 pm

Air Serbia (JU) is such a mystery to me. For the first ca. 3 years of their existence I was a huge fan of them and would go out of my way to fly them in Business Class. Seriously the best in Europe (SU is even better, but geographically not really suitable for most EU-EU connections). Luckily I had to fly a lot from North Europe to BEG, SKG, ATH, TIV, etc. so they were often an option. The seats were big and comfortable, meal service great (hot) with linnen table cloths and napkins, glassware, metal cutlery, PTV's, elegant menu cards, blankets, pillows, pre take off drink, etc. A really stylish and comfortable way to travel.

Now? Only 1 claustrophic row (curtain directly behind you and bulkhead in front of you) with those uncomfortable rockhard, straight up slim recaro seats (don't like them), no pre take off drink, no pillows, no blankets, no PTV, no more meal (you get a small cardboard box with a few local snacks squished / smashed into it and EVERY flight the same one), no placemat, paper napkins, plastic glasses and plastic cutlery. As a desert you get a tiny biscuit warpped in plastic and heaven forbid if you ask a second: NO. Only 1 allowed, eventhough they have plenty, as they sell them for like E 1 in economy. Really cheap. Personally, I think this is now the worst Business Class in Europe. I can't think of an airline where the offering is so poor (UX perhaps? Heard mixed reviews). I prefer AZ now over JU.

Now I go out of my way to NOT fly them. First of all because I don't like the experience any more (no value for money) and second of all, because of a bit of spite. I understand they had to economise since sugar daddy EY ran into financial difficulties, but the changes are too radical and too quick. The flight attendants say they get complaints on every single flight and they are very tired of it. It seems so short sighted of them! You chase away your highest yielding pax. Sure, the frills cost, but what does it cost not to have them? Since they are still working closely with EY, I am surprised EY allowed the product to get so dismal.

Question: does anybody know if this was a wise choice? Does everybody complain, but still fly JU? Or is it true, what I picked up somewhere, that their C-class bookings are down by 30 - 50%? I hope some / one of you has some more insights. It really puzzles me why they ruined their carefully built up image as a quality airline overnight... Thank you!
 
CobaltScar
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Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:31 pm

Interestingly enough I had to fly them a couple months ago in economy. They seemed like a Spirit airlines type deal where nothing was free. I would not want to be on them for more than 2 hours. I did notice some cheesy make shift business class in the first few rows. They looked like regular seats but had these strange blocks in the middle seat so Business was basically window/aisle only. Was all very 2nd world and makes you appreciate home!
 
zakuivcustom
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Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:31 pm

CobaltScar wrote:
They looked like regular seats but had these strange blocks in the middle seat so Business was basically window/aisle only. Was all very 2nd world and makes you appreciate home!


It's like that for nearly every single European carriers for intra-Europe (and some North Africa) flights. The configuration is usually call, well, "EuroBusiness" for that reason. To get "real" business class for flights within Europe you'll have to fly SU or TK. JU (Air Serbia) used to have "real" business seats also, but they went the EuroBusiness route as well. No, BTW, not even extra legroom in those "EuroBusiness" seats. The theory is that they can easily convert Y seats into EuroBusiness seats if Business class load is high on the flight (The reverse is also true, but I don't think they ever "convert" the first 2 or 3 rows, depending on the airline, to regular economy seats.

Side note, BA do have a few "Mid-Haul" A321 with "real" business class seats also, going to AMM, BEY, TLV, and DME. IIRC those are going away, though.
 
DutchBoeing
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Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:48 pm

Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:10 pm

I agree that with most airlines "EuroBusiness" seating is poor. However, KLM at least has a lot of extra legroom in their "Euro Business" (Air France very poor leg room, weird) and airlines make up for the lack in seating comfort with other perks like better meals - even that JU can't claim anymore. I really hope to find here somebody with some knowledge how it goes @ JU...
 
UA777EWRTLV
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:50 pm

Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:27 pm

Which airlines operate intra-European flights with a true business class seat? SU and some TK flights (I believe TK has a proper c class seat on the 737 only, but a320 is “eurobusiness”, am I correct???? Not sure...)
 
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HELyes
Posts: 1637
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:26 am

Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:10 pm

UA777EWRTLV wrote:
Which airlines operate intra-European flights with a true business class seat?


Not much available. TK use widebodies on some routes from IST, Finnair sends A350 to LHR once a day, then there are a couple of 5th freedom flights like LATAM 787 MAD-FRA and Ethiopian 787 OSL-ARN.
 
DutchBoeing
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Posts: 138
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Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:25 am

It is really weird how all latest reviews on Skytrax are very, very negative with almost all 1 star rating, yet Skytrax insists on a 7/10 score with about a 4 star average:

http://www.airlinequality.com/airline-r ... air-serbia

As someone in a recent trip report noted: they are so bland now, that they can't be building up a loyal customer base. It is just a question of price or schedule now. And price? They are generally very expensive. I still hope to find somebody with some more insight.
 
LJ
Posts: 5383
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 1999 8:28 pm

Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:46 am

DutchBoeing wrote:
Question: does anybody know if this was a wise choice? Does everybody complain, but still fly JU? Or is it true, what I picked up somewhere, that their C-class bookings are down by 30 - 50%? I hope some / one of you has some more insights. It really puzzles me why they ruined their carefully built up image as a quality airline overnight... Thank you!


It depends on how high yieldiing their C-class actually was/is. If you've to discount your C-class heavily in order than it may be a good idea as the revenue per flight increases (it's better to sell dome expensive Y-class seats than having a half empty C-class at a high discount). Given the travel policies many large companies have, a proper C-class makes no sense in Europe. It may serve the transfer passenger, but those don't generate a very high revenue (though it depends on how you allocate between the flights). Moreover, if C-class tickets are the only fully flexible option, than it's no lost as those needing to travel on those tickets, will travel C-class anyway.
 
debonair
Posts: 3902
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Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:49 am

DutchBoeing wrote:
Luckily I had to fly a lot from North Europe to BEG, SKG, ATH, TIV, etc. so they were often an option.


I think Aegean is offering a good alternative to these markets...

UA777EWRTLV wrote:
Which airlines operate intra-European flights with a true business class seat? SU and some TK flights (I believe TK has a proper c class seat on the 737 only, but a320 is “eurobusiness”, am I correct???? Not sure...)


Nope - not true...
 
UA777EWRTLV
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:50 pm

Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:32 am

debonair wrote:
DutchBoeing wrote:
Luckily I had to fly a lot from North Europe to BEG, SKG, ATH, TIV, etc. so they were often an option.


I think Aegean is offering a good alternative to these markets...

UA777EWRTLV wrote:
Which airlines operate intra-European flights with a true business class seat? SU and some TK flights (I believe TK has a proper c class seat on the 737 only, but a320 is “eurobusiness”, am I correct???? Not sure...)


Nope - not true...


Which part isn’t true? I asked a question with the genuine intent of finding out the answer; as much as it may thrill you (in airliners.net fashion) to tell me i am wrong, could you please tell me what “right” is? I asked the question because I actually want to know which European airlines offer a proper C class cabin on short haul flights.
 
rutankrd
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Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:30 pm

Business and fully flexible economy fares are very poor valued right across Europe period.

All you are doing is giving the carriers a proforma advance payment for a few redeemable miles and maybe access to their lounges stifling the airport operators and their retailers of revenue.

The actual cost of the meals and refreshments offered is peanuts in reality !
 
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CrimsonNL
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Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:34 pm

It's indeed very intriguing. They were all the rage when they first started flying. The Anet trip report section was flooded with reports about how fantastic they were, and everyone was going out of their way to fly them. It was supposed to be THE premium airline around Europe. Then just the other day I noticed a thread on here how JU is "re-introducing" free water. :roll:

How you can go from being full service+ to RE-introducing "free water" in such a short time is quite astounding!

Martijn
Always comparing your flown types list with mine
 
rutankrd
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Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst.a

Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:35 pm

UA77e
None has a rigid US style domestic first equivalent on regular short haul fleets within the EU although Finnair do offer their Business cabins on the A359 between Helsinki and Heathrow and Brussels most days . British Airways offer up the full experience on a daily 77E flight between IAG hubs at Heathrow and Madrid whilst partner reciprocate with a daily widebody aswell.

You can also fly between Edinburgh and Dublin few times a week on Hainan in business, whilst LATAM will take you between Madrid and Frankfurt.

The legacies regional routes across the EU in particular are rarely more than 1 and half hours in duration - they do operate typically 4 times a day between points however traffic mix can vary considerably with morning and evening peaks have high numbers of fully paid business fares whilst the middle of the day flights may have mainly connecting traffic .

Both of these peclude rigid seating as an economic model in the main
 
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HELyes
Posts: 1637
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:26 am

Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst.a

Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:21 pm

rutankrd wrote:
UA77e
Finnair do offer their Business cabins on the A359 between Helsinki and Heathrow and Brussels most days .


Actually no more Finnair A350 to BRU, they now send A350 (or A333) to LHR every morning.
 
SR100
Posts: 108
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Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:43 pm

UA777EWRTLV wrote:
Which airlines operate intra-European flights with a true business class seat? SU and some TK flights (I believe TK has a proper c class seat on the 737 only, but a320 is “eurobusiness”, am I correct???? Not sure...)


Though not intra-European, but from Europe to Tel Aviv, El Al operates their 738 and 739 with proper business class seats, while many European airlines like LH, AF, KL, AZ, OS and many more offer only the "Eurobusiness" seats on their narrow-body flights to TLV. Same can be said about MEA and Egyptair, both with proper business class seats, on their respective flights from Europe to BEY and Egypt.
Flown all types and variants of Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed, Bombardier, DC, Embraer, Fokker, ATR, plus BAe146-1/2/3, Britannia, Caravelle, Comet, Concord, CV440/990, M404, Herald, Avro, Trident-1/2/3, IL-18/62, SWM, Viscount, VC-10, Tu-104/134/154, YS-11
 
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sergegva
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Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:09 pm

DutchBoeing wrote:
Since they are still working closely with EY, I am surprised EY allowed the product to get so dismal.


It's not a surprise if EY allows it, because they are following the same way.

Some years ago, Etihad had one of the best Y class along with Singapore Airlines, according to many reports here. I flew with them for the first time last week (long haul), and it was one of my poorest flight in Y. Seats were very cramped in their new 789s (width of course, but also pitch!), meals rather bad, absolutely nothing was given to pax except the two meals (no wet wipes, no earplugs, no socks, no eyemask). And for 2 of my 4 flights, one FA only was serving the meals. As a result, beverages were available on her second pass only, long after I finished my meals. And the boarding procedure was very disorganize and slow.

The only good point was the very good IFE screen.
 
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globetrotter94
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Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:33 pm

UA777EWRTLV wrote:
Which airlines operate intra-European flights with a true business class seat? SU and some TK flights (I believe TK has a proper c class seat on the 737 only, but a320 is “eurobusiness”, am I correct???? Not sure...)


TK A321s have proper business class seats, IIRC. Never flew on TK A320s, so cannot comment. And definitely TK 739s will also have since those birds are also deployed to mid/long haul routes down to central/southern Africa.
6E, 9W, AF, AI, B6, BA, BI, BR, CA, DN, GA, IC, JL, KB, KL, KU, NH, QR, SQ, TG, TK, UA, VS
 
zakuivcustom
Posts: 3568
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:32 am

Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:12 pm

globetrotter94 wrote:
UA777EWRTLV wrote:
Which airlines operate intra-European flights with a true business class seat? SU and some TK flights (I believe TK has a proper c class seat on the 737 only, but a320 is “eurobusiness”, am I correct???? Not sure...)


TK A321s have proper business class seats, IIRC. Never flew on TK A320s, so cannot comment. And definitely TK 739s will also have since those birds are also deployed to mid/long haul routes down to central/southern Africa.


If Planespotter is correct, about 75% of the A321 has proper business class seats, and about half of the 738s does (all the 739s have proper C Class seats as they usually fly to African destinations). Their A320s and A319s are "Eurobusiness" only, though.

TK also fly a fair amount of A330s and some 77Ws (Mainly to LHR) to major European destinations (i.e. LHR, CDG, FRA/MUC, etc.), which have lie-flats (or angle-flats) on them in business.
 
DutchBoeing
Topic Author
Posts: 138
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Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:26 pm

I understand the flights intra EU are not very long, so understand to some point JU had to change seats, but the soft product they could have kept. Now it is just insulting to call it business class. It is premium economy at best. I never flew EY, but sad to hear they are even a shadow of their former selves. Again, I get the need to be cost conscious, but like CO's Mr. Gordon Bethune said in his book "From Worst to First": If you scrape (to much) cheese of the pizza, nobody wants to eat it... I fear both EY & JU have cut so many frills, nobody wants to eat their pizza anymore! Again, I still hope for an insider reply about JU!
 
DutchBoeing
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Posts: 138
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:48 pm

Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:35 pm

Luckily I wasn't the only underwhelmed person:

https://www.exyuaviation.com/2018/08/tr ... urich.html
 
Insertnamehere
Posts: 336
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Re: Air Serbia: from first to worst...

Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:48 am

They changed since I took them last year they seemed alright, the crew were friendly when I went to stretch my legs and was given a snack box. Wasn't expecting much or anything but was fine for the flights I took with them. (For Reference the flights I took with them were Dubrovnik-Belgrade-Amsterdam)

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