The Belgrade British Airways Experience!

Old Nov 1, 2023, 4:35 pm
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The Belgrade British Airways Experience!

British Airways has resumed services to Belgrade after a 13 year absence from the Serbian capital. Here is the lowdown on this new but old route. The first flight was on Tuesday 31 October 2023.



Service frequency: three times a week, Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Departure time around 07:30 to 08:00 from London on BA888, returning around 12:00 to 12L35 from Belgrade. on BA889. The first service was on an A320neo and that seems the main aircraft here. The timings are a bit odd, in that the main Serbian diaspora in the USA is in Chicago and while this allows a same day connection in the BEG-ORD direction, it doesn't allow one in the ORD-BEG direction.

LHR Terminal 5 to BEG Terminal 2. Nikola Tesla Airport is under major refurbishment at the moment so temporarily at least the place is something of a building site.




Check-in area - this is currently in the middle of the construction zone, look out for desks 213. The ground handler is Vinci, who also run the airport, Vinci also handles Qatar, and there are some connection options available here. BEG is on FLY and OLCI, app boarding passes all work here.



Security has a clear Priority Lane for business class, I'm not sure if that works for Silver and Golds in ET, any reports of that welcome. They are fully on CT scanners, so no need to separate out your liquids and laptops. Sequence is passport check then security.



Lounge: customers in CE, Sapphire/Silver, Emerald/Gold can use the Business Lounge, also called Club Business. Standard access and guest rules.. More details in the forum's Europe Lounges guide, but suffice to note that it's a fairly basic provision in terms of furniture but has a comprehensive hot and cold food selection and comprehensive hot and cold, soft and alcoholic drink selection. Finding the lounge is tricky, it's right by gate A4, but you will need to do a full U turn coming out of the duty free zone to get there. It's about 10 minutes from the BA gate, so you need to leave about 30 minutes before scheduled departure. Ideally you collect a lounge invite from check-in but they can manage without one if you are a hand baggage only passenger. They may even have a printed boarding pass ready for you in the lounge, given it's run by Vinci. Note the local branding on boarding passes.



Catering Band 3 for Club Europe, so hot breakfast from London to Belgrade, hot lunch options from Belgrade to London, in Club Europe. In my case I had the pumpkin pasta hot vegetarian option but beef shin was available as well as a charcuterie board.



B2B potential - should be fairly good, there is an airside transfer route and with a BA boarding pass it should be fine to pass through to the departure channel. It's not a gate to gate transfer though.

The inaugural
There was a certain amount of razzmatazz for the resumed service, it was more keenly felt at the BEG end since it's not an airport with a huge range of carriers, Air Serbia having by far the most presence there. However there was a bit of an effort at the London end too, for once, photo courtesy of, and thanks to, cgtechuk, where somehow BA managed to find a supply of Serbian bunting.



At Belgrade, there was a photo call on the apron and the cabin crew were sent down to speak to the global media therein assembled.





It was a special day for one BA cabin crew member, born in Sarajevo but raised in Belgrade, who therefore was able to provide Serbian onboard announcements. Given that Air Serbia's cabin crew appear to share the same charm school with AA, there is one clear product advantage in BA's favour. However economy travellers on JU's serivce to LHR T4 do get a sandwich and full bottle of water on that leg.


Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; Nov 2, 2023 at 5:12 am
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Old Nov 1, 2023, 4:43 pm
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Belgrade is an interesting city to visit, but I found it somewhat of a concrete carbuncle - not entirely dissimilar to the centre of Birmingham! I must admit I much preferred Bar and in particular Nikić in Montenegro.

Of course it's just my luck that BA announced this route the day after I landed in Belgrade
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Old Nov 1, 2023, 4:58 pm
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Great post thanks! Fab that BA are back at BEG and I guess it makes sense to test the water gently and not overreach, but for most business travellers I imagine OS, LH and LX still offer the greatest choice and flexbility.
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Old Nov 1, 2023, 5:00 pm
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That's great! Thank you for posting. Keen to visit a friend next year who has just moved there, so very helpful 👍
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Old Nov 1, 2023, 5:41 pm
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Thanks as ever to our man in Belgrade (On this occasion)!
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Old Nov 1, 2023, 8:49 pm
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This route is a huge win for Beograd as it plugs into Oneworld's most important European hub at Heathrow. It's also good to see BA providing some competition to Lufthansa and Austrian, which have tended to have a larger footprint in the former Yugoslavia.

Beograd is a fascinating city with great sentimental value for me. Years ago I took my first trip there (as well as to Novi Sad and Osijek in Croatia) with a longtime girlfriend who I was hoping to marry but who instead became the great lost love of my life, the one who got away...
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Old Nov 1, 2023, 9:57 pm
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As some of you in this forum may know, I have been waiting for this day a long time! I used to catch the BEG service regularly before they canned it. Does anybody know whether BA will extend flights beyond the end of March? I keep checking, but nothing appears to show
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Old Nov 1, 2023, 10:12 pm
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A nice little read there... It will be useful in the future, so thank you very much!

Was that crew member on the flight by design or just sheer luck?
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Old Nov 1, 2023, 11:13 pm
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Likely by design. BA has a bit of a history in doing this, I believe the first IKA flight was operated by an Iranian captain, and I *think* the GEO inaugural was operated by flight crew originally from there?
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Old Nov 2, 2023, 1:50 am
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Originally Posted by BA6501
Likely by design. BA has a bit of a history in doing this, I believe the first IKA flight was operated by an Iranian captain, and I *think* the GEO inaugural was operated by flight crew originally from there?
Both correct. The GEO service had 2 captains, and the second captain was the UK born son of BOAC's first black captain, his late father was Guyanan and flew the final BOAC/BA service out of GEO.. However despite this younger captain having a Guyana passport, his first ever visit to the country was when he flew the reinstated inaugural service to Georgetown recently.

I think it's not a formal process, it's just that crew can put their name forwards, as this cabin crew member did on Tuesday, and someone drawing up the schedule has a "commonsense" moment.
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Old Nov 2, 2023, 2:49 am
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Thans CWS. Just to echo what others have said. Belgrade is an interesting city and the people are friendly. Lots of good restaurants and nightlife.
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Old Nov 2, 2023, 2:59 am
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Originally Posted by ILikePancakes
As some of you in this forum may know, I have been waiting for this day a long time! I used to catch the BEG service regularly before they canned it. Does anybody know whether BA will extend flights beyond the end of March? I keep checking, but nothing appears to show
Best way to keep it going is for you (and your friends, family and EVERYONE you know) to splash out on regular full fare CE tickets to go there).
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Old Nov 2, 2023, 4:23 am
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Do we know if they continue this on s24, tickets are still not on sale. They should also make split flying timetable, so some days they have early flight from beg to connect to more north America flights...
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Old Nov 2, 2023, 5:08 am
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Thank you for the report and photos!

As someone who goes there twice a year (at least), I am quite happy this is back and will be flying it next Friday.

Minor correction, I think the third flight is on Sundays, not Saturdays? At least I have a ticket for a return on a Sunday

BEG has been a construction site for a while now and doesn't look like that will change any time soon. Just need to exercise patience and stoicism.

I think you can enter the priority security by flashing your gold card (even the expired ones, as a friend of mine does regularly) when flying in Y.
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Old Nov 2, 2023, 5:48 am
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Originally Posted by jms_uk
Minor correction, I think the third flight is on Sundays, not Saturdays? At least I have a ticket for a return on a Sunday
Yes, it is Sundays, I have corrected above, not sure why I put Saturdays since that makes no sense at all.
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