TRIP REPORT: Croatia Airlines, Frankfurt - Athens via Dubrovnik


Written by George Papathanasiou 

Croatia Airlines’ seasonal flights (end in October) from Dubrovnik to Athens gave me the possibility to connect from Frankfurt to Athens. I have visited lovely Dubrovnik but never been at the airport. Buying the ticket through their site was easy and during the process you can select your business seat.

24 hours before departure I received a message that check-in was open, and I could get my boarding passes. I did as instructed (even though I knew my seats) because I wanted to get a print screen of the boarding card. Before getting my boarding pass, they informed me that only the FRA-DBV flight could be issued.

Arriving at the airport, all the handling is done by Lufthansa. Business customers are handled at Terminal A. I went to the counter to give them my suitcase. The person at the counter informed me that they could not issue me the boarding pass from DBV-ATH but could send the suitcase all the way to Athens (that was great).

Croatia Airlines uses the Lufthansa Lounge at Frankfurt. You can select the lounge which is closest to your gate (there are two). The lounge is spacious but there is no view of the tarmac.

There are plenty of drinks but limited selection of food (omelet and sausages) and fruit salad.

I arrived at the departure gate for flight OU419 at the appropriate time but there I realized that there was a 20-minute delay due to the late arrival of the aircraft. Boarding was done by bus. It was raining and I had to take out my raincoat.

Boarding began, first for families, then for people needing assistance and then Business / gold customers, etc. There was no point because everyone ended up on the same bus.

The aircraft was at a remote stand (a little further and you could reach the fence of the airport). The bus was riding for a long time.

We climbed the stairs and were greeted by the crew, typically no smiles bt friendly atmosphere and very professional.

Typically, business class on the A319 on Croatia Airline are the first three rows. However, in this particular aircraft there were five rows. There were 10 of us in business class, economy class was almost full.

The condition of the seats was not great. They were a little overused.

Legroom was typical with no extra space, typical Eurobusiness, with only a vacant seat between each two seats.

During taxi the captain apologized for the delay and wished us a pleasant flight. Safety procedures were done through the drop-down screens, but ours in the first row did not work.

About half an hour after departure, in-flight service commenced. A tray with a box was served with local produce from Slavonia and Baranya.

The male crew member was friendly offering drinks (there was sparkling wine) and extra bread if needed.

Food was tasty, especially the Slavonian kulen. Coffee was not great (made with couple of spoons of grains and water).

Before disembarking, I told the crew that I had a connection and I had no boarding pass. He assured me that it would take me a minute to reach the terminal (little did I know).

We disembarked by stairs and all together (business and economy class) arrived at the terminal

At the terminal, there was an arrivals advisor. I told her that I had a connection and she told me that I had to go through passport control then print my boarding pass and then go to departures. Lovely customer care!? I should not complain because it happened to me at Heraklion (HER) Airport as well, again arriving from Germany.

At the departure area, the security screening line was long and I waited in line for a while, there was no Fast Lane. There was a sign for the Fast Lane but everyone was going through there. The airport was busy, with a lot of vacationers returning home.

There is a Business Lounge on the second floor.

Access to the Lounge is only for Business customers. It is small but with great views of the tarmac.

The selection of food is limited, with refrigerated sandwiches.

Time passed quickly and departure time arrived.

Again, families were given priority for boarding, and then people needing assistance, after which Business / gold customers could board. Again, it made no difference as everyone was put on the same bus.

The DH4 was awaiting us to fly us to Athens as OU300. There were not a lot of people. I counted 25 passengers and I was the only business passenger.

The flight supposedly originated from Zagreb but I did not see any passengers on the plane. Do they disembark them and then board them with us?

Cabin is typical of a turboprop. What else could one expect of a small plane?

We departed on time, safety procedures were done physically, and very soon in-flight service started. Crew was very friendly; serving me the same box of goodies as the previous flight and asked if I needed something more. When I finished my sparkling wine, the crew member asked me if I needed a refill. Finally, when she collected the tray, I asked for coffee which she brought to me.

She was a friendly person and I thanked her for her assistance. Arrived in Athens on time, flying over Athens, I saw the Acropolis then Faliron bay and then we turned at Aegina island for final approach.

All good, well done. Till next flight!

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  1. Anonymous09:03

    One of the best trip reports on ExYu! Tank you very much!

  2. Anonymous09:08

    Nice report.

    What is it about OU and nonworking screens. I flew this summer with them and during the safety video our screen was flickering the entire time while the other behind of it was not working. Seems to be an issue on many of their planes. Can't they fix it?

    1. Anonymous09:12

      I think they can't. It's a known issue across the fleet.

    2. Anonymous10:33

      Manufacturer of the screens is, probably, out of business 15 years ago.

  3. Anonymous09:11

    They should at least put the contents of the meal box on a plate. It's business class. They used to have proper meals not so long ago.

    Enjoyed the report.

  4. Anonymous09:20

    Do they offer a vegetarian meal too?

    1. Anonymous13:30

      no, one selection...that's it

  5. JU520 BEG09:27

    Nice report, even nicer is the routing. Not many are transferring in DBV I guess. I agree with u about leather seats, airlines should avoid using them as after a couple years, they really look used and shabby. Leg rom Euro Business class is a joke but at least, your next seat is unused, which is helpful and pleasant. Efharisto kai mia ómorfi méra

    1. Anonymous10:45

      Agree, these dark blue seats with this a little bit brighter blue on the headrests without the company logo are awful. Even more than Air Serbia probiotic ones

  6. Anonymous09:58

    I find it shocking they couldn't issue a boarding card to final destination even though it's the same airline. It must be a first. Unless it has something to do with the plane to Athens originating in Zagreb?

  7. Vlad11:10

    The fact that OU couldn't check you through all the way to ATH and made you go landside to collect your onward boarding pass is criminal, doubly so because you were flying in business.

    However, for once it's not OU's fault, but the airport's. DBV and SPU use the Niko check-in system exclusively, probably the worst check-in interface in the world that not only looks like it's from the 90s, but is incompatible with virtually every other check-in system out there. Using Niko, you can only select seats for the first flight on your itinerary, while the other seats get assigned automatically - very frustrating, especially when connecting to a long-haul flight afterwards. Also, it never correctly encodes frequent flyer status in the tickets, which means extra steps and trouble for lounge access at connecting airports.

    The whole thing is so bad and dysfunctional that the only reason it exists is probably a big fat profit-sharing scheme between the owners of the company and airport executives.

    1. Anonymous12:46

      True. NIKO System is so old school

    2. Anonymous22:42

      Thanls for info on that system, very interesting insight.

  8. Anonymous12:46

    An excellent report, thank you! What an interesting itinerary you chose. Thanks also for not having an overly opinionated tone in your writing - it makes it much nicer to read. Although, on this occasion, the service you received was quite poor really: having to go through security the second time with no fast track, a poor lounge offering in DBV, only one boarding pass in Frankfurt, an average meal on board... I hope the ticket didn't cost you too much.

  9. Anonymous13:33

    I envy you in such a good way for being able to use that amazing Business lounge. The views are super nice and those chairs look so cosy!
    I think once OU get their A220s, the (business) experience will be very different. Many airlines seem to be very happy with it.
    Nice report without lots of exaggeration and straight to the facts. Well done!

  10. Anonymous23:21

    Travelled with croiatian Airlines from Ireland to mostar. Very professional staff, friendly, more than helpful with assisted passengers who were travelling with me. Well done keep up the good work. Definitely fly with them again 🍀🍀🙏🙏


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