For Weeks, Air Serbia Has Been Losing Luggage, And The Bags Keep Piling Up

Passengers flying Air Serbia in late June and early July were apparently having their bags lost at a very high rate. And many, perhaps most haven’t seen their bags since. Luggage is piling up at their hub airport in Belgrade. Reportedly only a couple of employees are processing large amounts of lost luggage for the Serbian national carrier, which flies to New York JFK and Chicago O’Hare, and nobody knows when or if they’ll work through the backlog.

People are literally calling the police in Belgrade to report their bags as stolen. Others are flying to Belgrade in search of their bags. Some are finding them. Others are desperately trying to gain access to luggage tracked by AirTags but that are lost in the system. The issue is getting modest coverage in Turkish media, but doesn’t seem to capture the scale of what seems to be going on.

Customers have taken to Reddit to share their stories, and hundreds of people have found a private Facebook group for support in just a week.

There have been suggestions that the issue isn’t limited to lost luggage, and that Belgrade airport has melted down more broadly as a result of lack of staffing and equipment, and an inability to keep up with the flag carrier’s increased operations. The Serbian government has been holding daily meetings with the airport’s operator. According to the country’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure,

They [VINCI] knew that Air Serbia would introduce 22 new routes and increase operations by 40%. They also knew that Flydubai would increase operations by 193%, Wizz Air by 109% and Turkish Airlines by 80%. Simply said, they could have predicted it would be a busy year.

At the end of last week the government lifted limits on competition for ground handling in hopes of addressing staffing challenges.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Lots of ignorant comments. Imagine yourself coming back from vacation after 3 hour night flight, and then waiting 4 or more hours just to get your suitcase in which you have dirty pants, t-shirts and socks. Would you wait for it or just leave and come after (or never)?

  2. Just flew AirSerbia from Frankfurt connecting via Belgrade. Problem is with most of their night flights connecting thru the hub. Flights delayed for over 2hrs.and the extremely old plane wetleased from a rumanian startup barely made the 11pm frankfurt take-off curfew. The pilot was begging people to just sit anywhere and took off while passengers were still walking down the isles at 10:56pm to avoid staying overnight in the tarmac. Unbelievable experience on its own. Luggage arrives next day on their daytime flights. Seems lack of stuff processing evening luggage transfers. My wife and kid flew from Paris via belgrade in the evening and had same experience. Luggage for all passangers came next day on the next scheduled noon flight out of Belgrade.

  3. It’s not Air Serbia losing luggage, problem is at Belgrade Airport. Their workers are selecting luggage, not by Air Serbia. Why is everything ok at all other airports in Serbia etc?

  4. Never again AirSerbia it’s been a month and still I have not received my luggage I have emailed and called and never anyone responded so sad

  5. Do not fly this airline! Besides the luggage issues, old planes, dirty, delays, terrible food even in Business Class, etc……
    Flew to Montenegro for a quick get away. Luggage did not arrive, filed a claim after standing in line at the Tivat airport for 2 hours while other passengers filed similar claims. I was told the luggage may not arrive for 3 days! Informed the women working the computer I would be leaving in 3 days and to have the luggage returned to my home in the US.
    After multiple non answered phone calls, generic email responses, I finally went onto their IG and started to slam them. I got a response, I was informed that my concerns had been forwarded and I would be contacted. I have never heard from anyone at Air Serbia.
    I recent days I was traveling out of JFK and went to baggage claim for Air Serbia at Terminal 1 to inquire about my bag. The gentlemen assisting me was one of the employees that services all of the airlines baggage issues at Terminal 1. He informed me that Air Serbia had closed my case and the last known location of my luggage was the Belgrade airport. How annoying to have to go out of my way at JFK airport to speak to someone in the US with more information about my luggage than anyone at Air Serbia.
    It has not even been a month since Air Serbia took my luggage and they closed the case!!
    I will most likely NEVER see my luggage or receive any compensation for the contents.
    NEVER again Air Serbia!

  6. Air Serbia is the worst . Do yourself a favor Do not fly with them . My luggage was delivered after 5 days . I keep trying to get compensated like I was told to do . Their response is we will contact you within 24 hr . Yeh right I get the same message when I try to contact them again . I have to just realize it’s a lost cause.
    Shame on air Serbia I thought they were going to be much more accommodating Very disappointed!!!!!!

  7. We flight with AirSerbia company, to Barcelona yesterday. we are a tennis team, had a training program in Barcelona. No one from us, have not taken our baggage. Today second day of our program. And they have to explain something or do something.

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