TRIP REPORT: Air Serbia, Podgorica
Written by Tomislav Ivanovic
PODGORICA – BELGRADE / AIR SERBIA JU173 / October 3, 2022
Montenegro hosted a national wine competition for the first time, so I was invited to judge it as part of an international jury. It was a good opportunity to spend a few days by the sea after the competition, so I planned to spend 3 more days in Petrovac after the competition.
On October 3, it was time to go home. I took the bus from Petrovac to Budva (out of summer season there is no direct bus from Petrovac to Podgorica). Of course, Montenegrins also suffer from the lack of bus and truck drivers, since the bus driver was apparently long retired… But, he was still driving the bus despite his advanced age.
In Budva, I took a connecting bus to Podgorica. The bus ticket from Budva to Podgorica costs 5.5 EUR and the journey goes through Cetinje. It took almost an hour and a half to get to the central bus station in Podgorica.
From the bus station I took a taxi to the airport, which cost 7 EUR. With such affordable taxi prices, it’s no wonder no one uses public transport in Podgorica to get to the airport.
I entered the hall of the airport. The check-in counters were open for the Air Montenegro flight to Belgrade and the Austrian flight to Vienna. However, although check-in had not started for my flight, there was already a line of people waiting at desks 3 and 4 assuming Air Serbia check-in would start soon. After about 15 minutes, two girls arrived and started check-in procedures. Although the signs indicated economy and business class check-in counters, in reality no one paid attention, so all economy class passengers also checked in at the business class counter. All around me I could hear the Russian language. I could also recognize Serbian and Montenegrin passports in the hands of passengers. The woman in front of me was flying to Lyon via Belgrade.
The girl at reception was quite polite and helpful. She offered me an extra legroom seat, which I gladly accepted.
Passport control and security check at Podgorica airport went smoothly, hassle-free. After about 40 minutes, the Air Serbia YU-APA (Airbus A319) plane arrived. It was a good sign that the flight would not be delayed. Indeed, boarding began as announced. Flight JU173 was full. The flight was uneventful. The flight attendants handed out water and biscuits as well as a bag of magnesium granules. I was seated next to an old lady, she was Montenegrin but had lived in Denmark for many years. She was flying to Copenhagen.
We landed in Belgrade on time. A long walk through Belgrade airport and we reached the baggage claim area. Wow. What a scene… All around the square, the neighborhood was packed with suitcases. Everywhere you look there were suitcases stacked up. I couldn’t understand what was happening. I examined suitcases nearby with all sorts of labels: Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Air Serbia. It seems that it was lost or delayed suitcases that finally arrived at their destination… Incredible scene… I was thinking of the owners of all these suitcases. They will be happy to finally receive it.
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