TRIP REPORT: Lauda Europe, Zagreb - Malaga - Zagreb


Written by Matjaž Nose

End of January I found out that Moroccan authorities had decided to extend the suspension of all regular passenger flights to and from the kingdom until February 7. These rather radical restrictions were implemented back in November of last year because of the Covid-19 Omicron variant and were later extended until the end of January. Sadly, in the last week of January they decided that borders would open on February 7 instead of February 1 which resulted in the cancellation of my Royal Air Maroc flight from Venice to Casablanca scheduled for February 5. Since I didn't want to cancel my scheduled vacation, I had to look for alternatives. After checking a few options, I concluded that the best solution would be to fly to sunny Spain again and, at the same time, check out the carrier I had never used before, Lauda Europe. It offers two weekly nonstop flights from Zagreb to Malaga and the schedules were perfect for me, as well as the price. Although I bought a ticket only a week in advance, the price for a return flight with included checked baggage was only €115 for the following two flights:

Zagreb (ZAG) - Malaga (AGP)

Flight number: FR5870
Flight date: February 5, 2022
Aircraft type: A320-214
Aircraft registration: 9H-LOU
Departure time: 16:10
Arrival time: 19:15
Seat: 06F

Malaga (AGP) - Zagreb (ZAG)

Flight number: FR5871
Flight date: February 9, 2022
Aircraft type: A320-214
Aircraft registration: 9H-LOI
Departure time: 19:50
Arrival time: 22:55
Seat: 29F

Lauda Europe (origins go back to Niki Lauda, a famous Austrian Formula 1 driver), is a Maltese low cost carrier, belonging to Ryanair Holding (since 2018) and provides wet-lease flights for Ryanair. The airline offers other charter services too as explained on their website. Its all-Airbus fleet consists of 29 A320 aircraft painted in red and white colours and this aircraft type is also the one stationed at Zagreb Airport, operating on Ryanair destinations served from this Croatian airport. I booked the flights directly through Ryanair's website under its standard booking conditions. When I booked the flights, the prices, depending on the type of service were as follows (for the return ticket): ''Travel light'' including one small bag was €54, ''Regular'' including 2 cabin bags, priority boarding and reserved seat was €102, ''Plus'' including one small cabin bag, 20kg check-in bag, reserved seat and free check-in at the airport was €115 and finally ''Flexi Plus'' with 2 cabin bags, reserved seat (including seats with extra legroom), free check-in at the airport and option to change your flight dates was available for €202.

I had already checked in for both of my flights in advance. This was very convenient because in order to enter Spain you must fill in their health control form online and obtain a QR code which is then scanned on arrival in Spain. This form is also checked and requested by the airlines before boarding the aircraft bound for Spain and the mandatory data in the form also includes the seat number, and until you find out what it is, you can’t complete the health form questionnaire and obtain the QR code.

I only had to drop my bag at Zagreb Airport. There were two check-in counters open for our flight and one long line of Malaga bound passengers. In the end it did not take too long before my checked bag disappeared inside the terminal and I headed towards the security check and departure gates.

Check-in line

Departure area

We boarded our airplane through gate 27. Priority passengers boarded first, all of us walked into the jetbridge and after a few turns exited it, went downstairs outside the airbridge and walked towards the nearby airplane to board using the front and rear remote stairs. The load factor was around 90% and according to what I heard the majority of passengers were from Slovenia, probably also because there was a national holiday in Slovenia on February 8 and taking two days off, you could have enjoyed a short 5-day vacation.


The interior of Lauda's aircraft features standard 3-3 configuration with grey unicolour slimline reclining seats. The dark floor carpets incorporate Lauda's red ''L'' logo. The signs inside the aircraft are in English and German. When I checked the flight path of some previous Zagreb - Malaga flights, I noticed that basically two different routes are used, the southern one crosses Italy below San Marino, continues over northern Sardinia towards the Balearic Islands and over southern Andalusia towards Malaga. The northern one, the one taken by our airplane, heads towards north of Istria, Venice, Nice and along the Mediterranean coast towards Valencia, Granada before terminating at Málaga - Costa del Sol Airport. The flight itself was on time, more or less uneventful but pleasant, even more after I had invested my €7 in a can of beer and a box of Pringles chips.

Inside the airplane

During the flight

Approaching Malaga


Our parking position

Luggage conveyor belt for our flight

Malaga is a great city on the Mediterranean coast to spend a few days, especially this time of year. The weather was perfect, sunny with temperatures of around 20°C. Spanish food was delicious as always. There are also possibilities for some interesting day trips, Granada and its Alhambra are only about 90km away for example.

I had decided to head down to Gibraltar this time, spend a night in the Spanish border town of La Línea de la Concepción, walk into Gibraltar next morning to explore this British Overseas Territory and spend some pounds. It is a must-see destination for every aviation geek. Why? Gibraltar Airport's runway is probably the only one in the world that is crossed by the road and next morning when I walked into Gibraltar I crossed it as well.

Since there aren’t too many arrivals and departures, there were only two flights from London on the day I was there (easyJet to Gatwick and British Airways to Heathrow), they simply close the road for the time needed for the arrival and departure of the airplane. This is also a great opportunity to watch airplanes landing and taking off just a few metres away from you. You just have to check the flight schedules and be at the intersection at the right time. In my case, I was ready to watch the BA afternoon take off to London Heathrow.

Gibraltar Airport as seen from the Rock

British Airways A320 bound for Heathrow

Wednesday was the last day of my trip. Departure time for the Zagreb flight was at approximately 8pm. Malaga Airport is very close to the city centre and the best way to and from the airport is to take one of the frequent suburban trains which take 8-12 minutes and cost around €2 one way only. It did not take much time to drop my bag and pass the security check. The airport is small enough and easy to navigate. Since our flight was a non-Schengen one, I also had to go through passport control before I headed towards my boarding gate. This time, boarding was through the jetbridge and front door only.

Malaga - Costa del Sol Airport


My seat on the return flight was in the rear cabin and I was lucky enough to have a middle seat unoccupied. The airplane departed on time and landed some 10 minutes ahead of scheduled time. Both flights I took lasted few minutes less than three hours. Cabin crew were again trying to sell as much food and drinks as possible before they changed the assortment and started selling perfumes and other must-have items with special discount only for us. Finally, they promoted scratch cards promising a chance to become a millionaire. Who doesn't want to be a millionaire? I was already thinking how to spend my million euros when I was scratching my three scratch cards worth €4 altogether. But the more I scratched, the farther away my million was. I confess, I am not a new millionaire so my next trip report will almost certainly not be related to a luxury private jet trip but will rather describe my adventures aboard one of the commercial airlines again.

My unlucky scratch cards

Before landing at Zagreb Airport

Arrival in Zagreb

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  1. Anonymous09:18

    "The load factor was around 90% and according to what I heard the majority of passengers were from Slovenia" but aren't we told by Fraport and their delusional fanboys that LJU is unfazed by Ryanair in ZAG and that nobody from Slovenia will fly with them?

    1. Anonymous10:49

      This reminds me of FZ in ZAG which was also mostly used by Slovenes. When FZ introduced LJU it became an instant success. Iberia did well in LJU so maybe we get some Spanish flights from LJU in the future, especially in summer.

    2. Anonymous11:02

      Iberia is just a big disappointment for this year. Same schedule as last year, just 9 flights. And Fraport said how they will add more flights..

    3. Anonymous11:20

      Intersting how people "knows the majority of passenger nationality" even they are not Ryanair employee. I just wonder how?

    4. Anonymous11:32

      By being observant? By noticing which IDs and passports they carried, what language they speak and so on.

    5. Anonymous11:41

      So, you observe (noticing IDs) 150 pax even you are just another passenger... grow up please!

      You can say that there were many slovenians , but say that there is "majority" of slovenians ... come on.

    6. @An.10.49

      Both fly dubai and Emirates were NOT mostly used by Slovenes in ZAG. They were mostly used by passengers from the Far East and Australia /NZ, about 70-80 percent. Remaining 20-30 percent were passengers from both Croatia and Slovenia, in approximately equal shares.

      Concerning this Lauda flight to Malaga, the guy who wrote the report told himself more Slovenian passengers were due to national holiday in Slovenia. Which is for some people here more than enough to restart with ZAG no demand mantra

    7. Anonymous11:47

      pozdrav iz Rijeke


  2. Anonymous09:27

    Nice report, thanks! Considering the last minute booking and the high load factor, the ticket price was still really good!

  3. Anonymous09:42

    Geat report. Good idea to go to Gibraltar. Interesting to see Lauda has reclinable seats. Very uncommon for LCCs.

  4. Anonymous10:09

    Great report.

    But what about the return flight what was the load factor approx.?

    1. Matjaz-N11:19

      As per my estimation approximately 75-80%

  5. Anonymous10:49

    Very nice trip report, I enjoyed it a lot. Was the crew Croatian?

    1. Matjaz-N11:25

      Thanks for your kind words. The chief flight attendant's name on the Zagreb-Malaga flight was Shaun and also other names of the crew did not sound Croation, so I think none of them was Croatian on either flight.

    2. Anonymous11:31

      I guess with traffic still being slow elsewhere in Europe they just moved them to zagreb in stead of firing them.

  6. Anonymous13:07

    I took the same flight on different dates. Also from what i could hear, the pax were mix of croats and slovenes, 50/50. Load factor was also 80%+ both ways. I actually got to speak to the crew. Captain, a slovenian guy, ex-adria pilot. FO, a young croatian pilot. All in all a nice and pleasant experience, both airport and airplane wise. Will definitely use it again

    1. Anonymous21:27

      90% of captains are ex Adria pilots, FOs are mostly Croatians and Slovenes. In cabin only few croatians mainly portuguese, italian and spain

  7. Anonymous23:49

    Thank goodness for Air Serbia and Croatia Airlines. They are both worth the slight extra cost to fly in a better way!

    1. Anonymous02:00

      I think you forgot /s at the end there

    2. Anonymous09:25

      ...slight extra cost, hahahaha.... The cheapest i can find with Croatia is 3800hrk one way, and you have to switch flights in Frankfurt. But you probably get a free glass of water onboard...


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