Croatia Airlines/LOT: Split - Warsaw via Zagreb


Written by jsg

To Split. When I was planning my New Year trip, I planned to spend it somewhere in Croatia. I have considered Zagreb, Rijeka, Zadar, Osijek and Split or combination of Zagreb and Split. My first choice was Osijek as I have never been in Slavonija region, but limited connectivity puts me off this idea. Finally, I decided to celebrate New Year in Split.

I leave the office a bit earlier than usual and head for the Warsaw Chopin Airport, located a short distance from my office. I arrive at the Warsaw Chopin Airport just before 14:00. Today's journey to Split consists of two segments: Warsaw - Zagreb as flight LO613 (codeshare with Croatia Airlines as OU5865) - operated by LOT Polish Airlines and a short domestic flight OU656 (codeshare with Austrian Airlines as flight of OS8409, Turkish Airlines TK8038 and LOT Polish Airlines LO4301) Zagreb - Split by Croatia Airlines.

The boarding for flight LO613 commences a few minutes after the estimated boarding time shown on the boarding card (15:10) at gate 17N. After scanning my boarding card and checking my ID card, I move downstairs to a bus, which takes me to the 12.6-year-old Embraer W175 LR (registration number SP-LIM) in retro livery. The flight to Zagreb was uneventful and we landed 10 mins ahead of schedule.

Flight LO 613 statistics:

Seat: 5D
LF: 60 %
Distance: 799 kms (431 nm)
Departure time (scheduled/actual): 15:40/15:57
Arrival time (scheduled/actual): 17:20/17:10
Flight duration (scheduled/actual): 1h 40 min/1 h 13 min

I disembark via air bridge. Inside Zagreb Airport’s terminal, I follow signs for domaći odlazak (domestic departures). At the entrance to the domestic departures hall, I was asked by an airport staff member about the origin of my journey, as well as the final destination: “Where are you flying from?”, “From Warsaw”, I answer. “Where are you flying to?”, “Split”. Then I am instructed to proceed to passport control without scanning my hand luggage. After passport control, I head to the domestic departure hall to kill the time till my next flight. There is not much to do as there is only one café on ground +1. I order a cup of coffee and sit there for almost 3 hours…

Approximately 10 minutes before the planned boarding time (20:40), I proceed to the ground floor where boarding gates 10-12 are located. In a small area there is another café and a small stall offering some typical airport merchandise such as sweets, alcohol and travel gadgets. Shortly after 20:40 an airport staff membe announces the delay in departure of flight OU656 and says the following information will be announced around 21:00. Then the flight is further delayed, and the next info can be expected at 21:20. Shortly after this hour, the ground staff announces boarding of the flight to Split at gate 12. After scanning my boarding card and checking my ID card, a gate agent returns my documents and says dziękuję (in Polish, thank you). I reply dziękuję and proceed to a bus. I have to admit, it was nice to hear something in your native language while abroad.

The short bus journey took us to the 13.7-year-old aircraft, Bombardier Q400 (reg. number 9A-CQB) in Lika livery. The flight to Split is quiet and uneventful, and after 38 minutes we touched down at Split airport. After two-minute taxiing, the aircraft was parked in front of the terminal building, from where there is a short walk to the luggage reclaim area, where I collect my bag. Luckily, all went smooth, and I could catch the bus shuttle to Split.

Flight OU 656 statistics:

Seat: 11A
LF: 80 %
Distance: 246 kms (133 nm)
Departure time (scheduled/actual): 21:10/22:00
Arrival time (scheduled/actual): 22:00/22:38
Flight duration (scheduled/actual): 0h 50 min/0 h 38 min

In Split. The smooth climate of Dalmatia is something I look for. Although yesterday, was a moderately cloudy day, New Year is pleasantly warm and sunny. Temperature of 20C makes my day and prompts me to stay outside to enjoy the sun. Strolling along the Riva, I pass the always-in-renovation skeleton of former Hotel Marijan to reach to a beach, where I observe some brave young people bathing in the sea.

Later, I walk back to the Riva, where I try to find a table in one of many cafés. It is not easy to find a table, but I finally find one and order a cup of coffee. After, I wander inside the Diocletian Place. Narrow street and cul-de-sacs resemble a maze, where either you can get lost or discover new places or peculiarities of Split like drying out washing inside tiny alleys.

From Split. It is hard to leave sunny Split. Luckily, the bus station is located a short distance from the Riva where my hotel is located. I turn up at the bus station a fifteen minutes ahead of the scheduled departure time of 14:30. The bus is filling up, and we leave some minutes after the scheduled departure time of 14:30. After a 25-minut journey, we arrive in front of a new terminal building. The interior of the new terminal is very pleasant, much nicer and spacious than the previous one. Inside the departure hall, I proceed to assigned check-in desks 12-19, which are open for all flights ready for boarding. After quick check-in, my bag is checked-in and a luggage tag WAW via ZAG is attached to my bag and I move upstairs for security control, which takes few minutes. Then I enter the relatively spacious domestic departure hall. There is a café, where I order a cup of cappuccino for 3.90 EUR or 29.36 HRK. The latter currency has just been replaced by euro as Croatia has entered eurozone (as well as Schengen area) today.

The first segment of my journey is a domestic flight Split – Zagreb, operated by Croatia Airlines as flight OU 655 and a codeshare with LOT Polish Airlines LO 4302, Austrian Airlines OS 8410 and Turkish Airlines TK 8037. While waiting to board, I hear announcements of flight arrivals: OU380 from Zagreb (15:13), OU 4439 from Munich (15:17) and boarding of the flight OU380 to Rome (15:34).

The boarding for the flight starts with no delay at gate 2. After verification of my boarding pass and ID card, I go downstairs and then I proceed on foot to the parked 13.7-year-old aircraft Bombardier Q400 (reg. number 9A-CQB) in Lika livery, same machine I have flown on my previous flight Zagreb - Split. Since I have no recollection of any Croatian town of such name, I checked the internet to see what and where Lika is. Apparently, it is not a town nor a city, but a historical region in southwest Croatia. The Lika-livery aircraft has already completed 4 out of 7 segments today: Split - Munich, Munich - Rijeka, Rijeka - Munich, Munich - Split.

While awaiting at the aircraft steps I took the picture below which features the Dash Q400 reg. number 9A-CQA as flight OU380 bound for Rome FCO (right), taxing Airbus A319 (reg. number 9A-CTN) arriving from Zagreb as flight OU654 (middle) and the Dash Q400 (9A-CQB) bound for Zagreb as flight OU655 (left).

Inside the cabin, I am greeted by 2 female flight attendant, and I take my assigned seat. The flight is busy, and the next seat is occupied by another passenger. The interior of the cabin, although a bit outdated, is clean and decent. After completed boarding, the cabin crew closes the aircraft door and stand by to do the safety demo in Croatian and in English. After a short taxi we take off in direction 23, then make a U-turn near the island of Čiovo and head towards Zagreb passing National Krka Park, crossing Bosnian border around Croatian village of Strmica, over Bihać and entering Croatian airspace around Bosnian town of Novi Grad, then we approach Zagreb airport on runway 23.

The onboard service is limited to a complimentary cup of water. If I remember correctly, in the past they used to offer a tiny traditional Croatian gingerbread called paprenjak, but they seem to discontinue them on domestic sectors. During the short flight, I flip through the Croatia in-flight magazine and read an article about winter activities in Sarajevo featured in the winter 2022/23 issue. There is a picture of Planina Bjelašnica, which is ranked as amongst the most beautiful ski resorts in Europe. Hmm, perhaps is a good place to go skiing next winter?

After a 43-minute flight, we land at the Zagreb Franjo Tuđman Airport. After short taxi, we park in front of the terminal building, then we are bussed to the domestic arrival hall marked domaći dolazak. The aircraft will later complete the last 2 segments planned for today: Zagreb - Brussels, Brussels - Zagreb.

Flight OU 655 statistics:

Seat: 17F
LF: 85 %
Distance: 246 kms (133 nm)
Departure time (scheduled/actual): 16:10/16:04
Arrival time (scheduled/actual): 16:55/16:47
Flight duration (scheduled/actual): 0h 45 min/0 h 43 min

As Schengen zone is still not in force for air travel, I have to pass passport control prior to entering the international departure hall, which is located on the level +2. After passing passport control, I check the display screens and proceed to gate 26, which has been assigned to flight LO614 (codeshare with Croatia Airlines as OU5864).

Boarding for the flight starts approx. 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. After scanning my boarding card and verifying my ID card, I proceed through an air bridge to the 10.7-year-old aircraft Embraer E190 LR (reg. number SP-LMH), which has already completed 4 segments today: Krakow - Warsaw, Warsaw - Tallin, Tallin – Warsaw and Warsaw - Zagreb. Inside, I take my assigned seat at the rear section of the cabin. The cabin interior, although a bit outdated, is pleasant and clean. Although the flight is quite busy, the seat next to me remains unoccupied.

Boarding is soon completed, and the cabin crew conducts a safety demonstration in Polish and English. Today’s flight is operated by 4 cabin crew members: 1 female (Hungarian-speaker as judged by a little flag on her badge) and 3 males (Polish-speaker). After a short taxi we take off in direction of 05, make a U turn then fly over Dugo Selo, Hungarian city of Győr, Slovakian town of Banská Bystrica, entering Polish airspace near Polish village of Zawoja and later we pass over Krakow.

During the 72-minute flight, the cabin crew offers a sweet or savoury snack inspired by Christmas-flavours, tea, coffee still or sparkling water. This time I can choose between a bun with plum jam with cinnamon or sauerkraut and mushroom filling. The latter one was inspired by a traditional Polish dish - sauerkraut with forest mushroom - served for Christmas Eve. I choose a savoury option, a cup of tea with lemon and a glass of sparkling water.

During the uneventful flight I flip through the current issue of the in-flight magazine “Kaleidoscope” featuring articles about Bangkok and Poznań - the capital of Greater Poland voivodeship, in which I spent almost 30 years of my life. The remaining time passes quickly. Soon, the cabin crew announces preparation for landing. After confirming cabin readiness for landing, we approach the runway of Warsaw airport, in direction 33.

Flight LO 614 statistics:
Seat: 23D
LF: 80 %
Distance: 799 kms (431 nm)
Departure time (scheduled/actual): 18:00/17:57
Arrival time (scheduled/actual): 19:35/19:05
Flight duration (scheduled/actual): 1h 35 min/1 h 12 min

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  1. Anonymous09:09

    Nice report. LOT seems to offer decent service on such short flights.

  2. Anonymous09:31

    Nice blog 👌

  3. Aleks10:39

    Excellent report, thanks :-) Also, it is nice to read you enjoyed Split

  4. Thank you for your effort and descriptive piece. I prefer uneventful like these flight when everything passes smoothly, successful connections, no turbulence or delays :)

  5. LOT is the favourite airline in the entire Balkan region, they been in the top 10 best airlines on time in the world and they won in 2022 the best Eastern European Airline award ❤️

    1. Anonymous18:38

      I'd say that's Aegean.

    2. Anonymous21:08

      I would say Aegean is not an Eastern airline

  6. Anonymous14:43

    Thank you for the detailed report!

  7. Anonymous16:17

    Thank you for your report

  8. Thank you for all of your kind comments.


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