I can’t get no satisfaction: why JAT airways sucks?

Yesterday I was updating my Dopplr profile and also being determined to buy some cheap air tickets for the summer and upcoming trips via JAT airways web site. This is not the first time of my epic fail, attempt to buy ticket online (last time was during Easter holidays but then I was thinking their server/site might be overloaded or something). So this time I wanted to buy a ticket Rome-Belgrade and as usual actions I was proceeding to a payment section, and after that I was waiting to proceed and get my code and e-ticket.

Alas, I got information from the screen that there is an issue in the processing of my reservation aka system error. Please try again and if the problem persists (which does), to contact them (JAT airways) for further information. So I went back to the front page of JAT airways site and dialed number of call center {+38111311 2123}  for reservations via my mobile phone. I emphasized I am calling from Rome, that I failed to buy ticket via their web site, also stressing out that their reservation system is not working and I showed my concern that the system (they call it Amadeus) has been eaten my monies from credit card. Then after 10 minutes of checking out the status – they confirmed that Miss Radovanovic tried to buy ticket (they even saw my seat number), but then they weren’t sure so they redirected me to new number {+381112010117} to colleagues in Internet payment section of JAT. Did I mention that the girl who was on the other side of the line asked me three times if I’m calling from Belgrade or Rome?
Anyways, a woman at Internet payment section told me with humble voice that she cannot give me the reason why their web site is not working as I was pissed by then and wanted explanation. She only guaranteed me that my monies from credit card are not withdrawn so I am safe, and if I want to pay my e-ticket reservation I need to call a call center  (again +38111311 2123), this time a guy named Aleksandar told me that this procedure will last a bit longer after I said I’m calling from abroad and from mobile. I thought what the heck, I just want my ticket and to finish with it. Then the procedure of everything I went through the web site started but via phone (name, address, time, date, passport no., etc), and when I was about to make a phone payment, this man asked me with suspicious tone in his voice if I have credit card (such nonsense question, I wouldn’t buy e-ticket if I don’t own it, right?), and after saying “yes” to all those hideous questions (If I am the owner of the card, where I am right now, what’s my mobile number, am I calling from where, etc.), I finally made it to get my confirmation of e-ticket to my inbox. My bank also confirmed the transaction via text message notification, but what really made me angry was the time and money (hey – all in all I’ve spent 20minutes calling JAT airways, Belgrade from my mobile in Rome) I’ve spent in action via phone instead on their malfunctioning web site. What’s behind – only people in JAT management know.

The worst thing is that this problem exists for years and they are not fixing it!!! Every time I go to their web site hoping that things have changed – I get confirmation on the spot that they didn’t change. And I am not the only one who did notice and protest about this issue. So today I was reading  BBC news that Serbia is set for visa-free  EU travel from 2010, which means that Serbian citizens want to travel without nuisance of waiting for visa’s which is good on one side and on the other- Serbian JAT airways web site is not working!  This is so hypocritical and paradoxical at the same time: giving them hope whilst many emerging and basic things in the country are not functioning regarding e-everything: e-banking, e-payments, e-government, e-administration, e- whatnot.
This is the notice and caution to ALL of you who are planning to visit JAT airways web site or in worst case to try to make reservation.

Disclaimer: I wrote this text as revolted and dissatisfied citizen of Republic of Serbia, who lives world wide and who is not being able to use the web services that are presented on JAT web site. I respect the efforts and the work of aviation crew of this company who is so far doing their work fairly good. This negative critique is addressed to JAT management and their customer service, the way of communication with customers, web site malfunctioning, false representing their services on web, and disrespect to their customers.  If you don’t change your policy and be brave and make a statement on the web site that your e-system for reservations, booking, contact is NOT working – you are misleading the people.


  1. Harry Janssen says:

    Dana, don’t be surprised. Especially air line companies from small countries are balancing on the abyss. So, no money to keep their systems in well functioning up-to-date way. I booked in January this year an online air-ticket at the website from FlyLAL (Lithuanian Airlines) to Amsterdam. Payed by credit card and got the e-ticket. So far, all well. But after a week this airline company became bankrupt. No flights anymore carried out by them. So, in first instance, I was afraid that I lost my money. But with the help from my ING bank, they were able to refund my payed money.
    Hope you will get the ticket and don’t be confronted with a bankruptcy from JAT later on. But really it can happen.

  2. Bogdan says:

    Similar experience with me, regarding the quality of their services. Maybe as proud Serbian I could say that JAT is an excellent company, but neither they are excellent or cheap (on the contrary).

  3. Danica says:

    Harry, at least they can remove “online reservation and payment” option from their web site.

    Bogdan, it’s the only one we have in the country -but to be real as you said, none of above they are…

  4. David Dowse says:

    I wrote this last year, but sadly, I don’t think much has changed. Is JAT still running the ‘free’ flight promotion? Who cares?

    Free lunch, anyone?

    Buy five, get one free! As a frequent flyer programme, its simplicity is rather appealing. So, having spent too much of the past year on JAT flights to London, Ljubljana, Sarajevo, Istanbul and Larnaca, it seemed high time to go for a freebie.

    Sometime in early April, I duly handed over five return flight stubs at the downtown JAT office. The helpful lady checked them, gave me a receipt, and explained that she would have to send the tickets away to head office to be checked. I toyed with the idea of pointing out that she had just checked them, but decided against it. “It should take about a week,” she told me. “We will call you when we receive confirmation.”
    As she had been so helpful, I asked for her name, anticipating that I would almost certainly need to call her.

    I called after two weeks. The lady whose name I had taken was not available, and no-one else had a clue what I was talking about. “She will be here tomorrow, after two.”
    At three the following day, I called into the JAT office. “No, she is not here today.” Another woman looked in a very large register book, and finally found my name. She called head office. They told her to call back. I waited. Eventually, they promised my confirmation would be available in a week. The lady promised to call me, but I had been here before.

    A week later, having given up trying to get through by telephone, I once again made the trip to the JAT office. I knew the way by now. They looked in the register. They called head office. Head office told them that they would not be processing any applications until after May10th, due to “computer problems.”

    May 20th. Summer was on its way. So was I, to the JAT office. They looked.They called HQ. I left, ticketless. “We will call you.” Of course you will.

    Exasperated, I reluctantly called on a Serbian colleague to help me. After around 10 calls to JAT HQ, she finally told me, “Yes! They are faxing the authority to the downtown office. You can call there later today.”

    Happily anticipating a free trip home to catch up with friends and family, I arrived at Kralja Milana full of the joys of Spring. The office was deserted. Large signs on the door announced, in Serbian only, that they had moved.

    I tracked down the new office. Six desks, two of them manned. Very long, static queues. I left, defeated again.

    Late June, early Saturday morning, more than three months after my first application. Oh joy! No queue. A helpful assistant, and there, before my eyes, a faxed confirmation form. I noted the date it was signed – May 29th. They filed it somewhere.

    Hvala! Thank you! I would like to make a reservation to London, please. “We can make a reservation, but you cannot confirm it until the last day, as it is a free ticket. Oh, and you must pay Euros 100 taxes.” “Can I confirm online or by phone?” No, of course not. You must come back.

    The night before my trip, I returned to JAT. “Where is your authority form?” “You have it! I saw it here three days ago..!” Register book, calls to HQ, nothing. “We do not have your authority form, so we cannot your flight….”

    When it comes to JAT, it seems, the really is no such thing as a free lunch.

  5. Danica says:

    David, I am so sorry to hear they’ve been wasting your time, energy and money…these things really makes me revolted.

    On the other side: I’m trying to use them as much as I can. E.g. luggage limit of 20kg I always for for over 30…and they must not say a word, otherwise…you know, they know they have flaws, they have to make up in some way.
    Alitalia charged me this spring 200 euros for few kilos overwegiht. That was really really brutal.

  6. David Dowse says:

    Despite everything (and those challenging sandwiches) I still use JAT over BA as a matter of principle 🙂
    I just feel that Serbian people (and ex-pats like me)deserve better – but like customer service in many other areas (banks, for instance) nothing is going to improve if people don’t make a noise. it’s a mindset thing…

    BTW, having spent more than a couple of nights stranded at Milano airport courtesy of Alitalia, I know this is by no means just about JAT

  7. Milos says:

    I admire your principle David, On the other hand I like to show JAT how great they are by completely boycotting them, I’m not giving them any money except the money that the government takes from my taxes to support the monopolistic failure of an airline.

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