TRIP REPORT: Croatia Airlines, London - Zagreb


Submitted by Jakov Fabinger

This was one of the last scheduled Croatia Airlines flights in their old 9-weekly slot arrangement at Heathrow. Croatia Airlines suspended their Monday and Friday 8pm slots from Heathrow to Zagreb until summer 2018 which is a shame given that they are perfect for a weekend trip to Croatia for those of us who work in London.

Our gate departure was 45 minutes behind schedule, at 20:45. This was not an inconvenience to those of us who are familiar with Croatia Airlines' operations at Heathrow. OU491 has an average takeoff delay of 1 hour on its Friday 8pm slot, so I had anticipated a late departure for our flight.

The aircraft used was an Airbus A319 and the flight was completely full in economy and almost full in business class. Several persons in the boarding queue said that they were originally booked on the Monarch service to Zagreb but had to rebook to this Croatia Airlines flight when ZB ceased operations earlier in October. There were also transfer passengers from Air Canada's Toronto flight as well as several United flights from across the United States.

The flight itself was excellent. The slim seats used on Croatia Airlines Airbuses were both elegant and comfortable. The flight attendants were friendly and the snack served was delightful. As always, we were given dried figs, smoked bacon and olive crackers, followed by beverages (two glasses of red wine for me!)

The aircraft reached its parking position in Zagreb just after midnight. Disappointingly, this was not at the new Franjo Tudjman terminal but at the old Pleso parking area. We were then bussed from there to the new terminal. The whole process of disembarking and bussing took well over half an hour, which most passengers found frustrating given how late we landed.

I found the whole experience highly satisfactory: a convenient time slot to depart London for a weekend in Croatia, an affordable ticket (£50 luggage-free) and an excellent in-flight service. If Croatia Airlines had not discontinued it, I would certainly have flown again.

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  1. Anonymous13:13

    Nice report, flew this route a few times. I feel like this is the end of an era in Croatian aviation. I know they will still have some flights to LHR but I have a feeling it's only a matter of time before they are cut as well.

    What I don't understand is how come these flights were unprofitable but flying 50 passengers to FRA on the A319 is?

    1. Anonymous14:09

      because OU is feeding mother Lufthansa on the route to FRA, and on the route to LHR "just" Air Canada and United...

    2. Anonymous16:35

      50 Pax to FRA? That seems strange. You cannot look at just one leg. How was the inbound. Sometimes flight come in full to the brim, the return flight is then not well booked.

    3. Anonymous17:05

      Yeah but those were two flights on the 5th with 50 passengers flying from ZAG to FRA. They should have been full as people were going back home after their holidays in Zagreb.

    4. Anonymous18:51

      Even Lufthansa's FRA-LHR flights are now codeshared by OU!

  2. Anonymous13:51

    Thanks for the report.

  3. Anonymous15:30

    OU is a decent European carrier. Not too flash but has not gone down the road of LCCs or hybrids.

  4. Anonymous15:42

    2 reasons why you went to the old terminal.

    1. OU doesn't want to pay new terminal parking (altough this doesn't have to be true in this case).
    2. MZLZ doesn't work that late. Or, they work 24/7 but they don't want to work which is often case.

  5. Your flight was delayed one hour, plane was parked st the bridge and you still have CA great review?

    1. Exactly. Must be the smoked bacon! :-)

    2. Anonymous05:54

      The guy is probably emotional because they are suspending his evening flight which was convenient to him.


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