TRIP REPORT: Flydubai, Zagreb - Dubai - Zagreb


Written by Darko Benović

Greetings to everyone following this interesting website.

The “January blues” are upon us in Zagreb and I had a business trip planned to Dubai, so this trip had an added value. The cheapest return ticket was around 400 euros with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. However, I decided to travel with Flydubai instead. The return ticket cost 600 euros, with 20 kilograms of checked-in baggage plus 7 kilograms of cabin baggage included. The ticket also includes an extra legroom seat.

19.1.24. ZAG - DXB. That morning saw the first significant snowfall of the winter. Seeing the thick snowflakes, I was even more excited to be heading to warmer parts of the world.

Flydubai’s check-in desks were already open when I arrived at Zagreb Airport. Two check-in desks were being used so the entire process was quick and stress-free.

With my LoungeKey app I have free access to use the business class lounges at almost all airports. In Zagreb that is the Primeclass Lounge. It is a smaller lounge with an outdated feel and limited food options. I hope that the French concessionaire will work on overhauling Zagreb Airport’s only lounge.

Upon boarding (Gate 26), I looked at the FIDS screen and saw it was a pleasant 23 degrees in Dubai.

There were just three other aircraft on the apron (Qatar Airways, Lauda and Croatia Airlines). Between them, there was a lot of equipment working on clearing the snow.

Soon enough we were airborne leaving behind a snowy scene.

Flydubai is la ow cost airline but on a higher level then European low cost carriers. The aircraft are new, with nice cabins, which are clean and well maintained. However, there is a certain level of luxury missing compared to what I experienced on Qatar Airways and Emirates.

Knowing that the pitch between seats is tight, I paid an additional fee to select an extra legroom seat. It cost a total of 98.38 euros return - row 6 right behind business class.

In front of you there is an inflight entertainment screen, but you need to pay 10 euros to use it. The only thing that is free of charge is the moving map with all the interesting flight information

The first “low cost” experience I had with Flydubai was when I was purchasing the ticket. In the last step of the booking process, when the price has already been calculated, an “Administrative Fee” popped out of nowhere amounting to 17.40 euros, even though I purchased the ticket through Flydubai’s official website, and this isn’t related to credit card processing fees.

Our half-empty aircraft, which was cruising at an altitude of 39.000 feet was very pleasant and after just over 5 hours we were supposed to land in Dubai.

However, due to traffic congestion, things didn't go so smoothly. Air traffic control requested the pilots make one rotation over the sea and then another over the city. Only after that were we cleared to land.

At passport control in Dubai, you can request for a free local SIM card which has 1 GB of data. Very useful upon arrival, because if I were to use my local SIM, 1 GB of data is an incredible 8.100 euros!

For my six-day visit I selected Nomad's e-sim card. It costs 20 euros, and you get 10 GB of data. Some advice: in your phone settings, switch your mobile data to your e-sim before landing in the UAE.

24.1.24. DXB - ZAG. Finishing all my work on time and with my batteries charged on the Arabian sun… it was time to head back home. At Dubai’s Terminal 3 it was busy as usual.

Following a quick check-in and automatic passport control, I headed to the Marhaba business Lounge. As expected, the offering was much better than in Zagreb. However, the lounge looks a bit dated.

Flydubai aircraft are parked at remote stands (low cost?) so we were packed onto a bus and taken to our jet.

I am fascinated by the number of aircraft everywhere I look.

Upon boarding, I couldn't help but notice the massive engines of our B 737 MAX 8 moved all the way forward and I remember the unfortunate fate that had befallen this type.

Its newer family member – the MAX 9 – hasn't had better luck. Currently some 170 aircraft of the type are grounded due to the recent door plug blowout. But precisely thanks to such decisive measures by regulatory agencies and airline operators, air traffic has never been safer. In 2023, only about a hundred people died on commercial flights worldwide. For the sake of comparison, an average of 148 people die on the world's roads - every hour!

We were fourth in line for departure with three Emirates triple sevens in front of us, while behind us there was a wide-body Turkish Airlines jet and then Emirates again.

V1, Rotate... and off we were with beautiful views of what is a very unique and fascinating metropolis. It wasn't busy just in the sky but down on the sea too with a huge number of freighters waiting for permission to sail into port.

This time around, the flight was almost completely full. By my calculations, about half of the passengers were either current or future workers in Croatia from Nepal, Pakistan and other countries. I was wondering how those young people must have been feeling at that moment, considering they may have left their countries for the first time. I wish them all the best.

We flew over Iranian plains, mountains, and lakes. The cities seem to have been built with very precise urban planning in mind.

The Turkish interior was completely covered by snow. In the distance one could notice Süphan, the second tallest volcano in Turkey (4.058 m)

The flight was pleasant, the staff courteous and professional, without being fussy. I even had a bit of a nap. When I opened my eyes, through the window I noticed that we were already flying over the Sava River towards Zagreb Airport.

After a six-day trip to another continent I still kind of like the “Touch Down” back on home soil.

I hope you enjoyed this trip report.

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  1. Anonymous09:55

    Excellent photos!! Tell us, what did you do in Dubai?

    1. Anonymous12:02

      How is Terminal 3 at Dubai?

    2. Anonymous12:48

      What is the camera that you are using?

    3. Darko12:55

      Thanks! It was a clear day on return, so I could shoot some nice photos. Acually, I was attending World of Coffee Fair in Dubai. Coffee business in UAE is growing rapidly.
      Terminal 3 is huge, as expected. Check in desks are not numbered. You go to zones 1-4 if you are economy on any flight/company. The other zones are for Business, US flights etc. And there are concourse A, B and C - endless space.

    4. Darko13:13

      Iphone 14 Pro Max. I have used some filters on 3-4 photos.

    5. Anonymous13:19

      The photos remind me a lot of my old phone that was using Sony sensors, might be the same case with iPhone 14.

    6. Anonymous13:20

      Spot on. Just checked. IPhone 14 uses Sony IMX803 cameras.

    7. Darko13:22

      Thanks, good to know.

    8. Anonymous13:34


  2. Anonymous10:09

    Thank you for the very interesting report!

  3. Anonymous10:15

    Great trip report, thank you!

    1. Darko12:56

      Thanks for reading it.

  4. Anonymous10:45

    50% LF is not good.

    1. Anonymous11:52

    2. Darko12:57

      I guess second half of January is low season. But return was almost full.

  5. Anonymous11:37

    Thanks for this report. Good to know that at least the moving map is free. But it is disappointing that there isn't even a light meal service.

    (First Flight: 21.04.2022)

    25.01.24 (?)
    (First Flight: 11.10.2021)

    With the best regards


  6. Anonymous11:39

    *complimentary light meal service

    With the best regards


    1. Darko13:00

      Surcharge for 20 kg baggage and the meal was only about € 20-30 per flight.

  7. Anonymous11:49

    Great photos.

    Pity the fight was empty.

    1. Anonymous11:51

      If you read the report, you would have noticed that the flight was around 50% from Zagreb and full into Zagreb,

    2. Anonymous12:00

      Why is that a pity? That's perfect if you're flying long-haul.

  8. Anonymous11:59

    I actually really like the Zagreb Airport lounge. I was in the Merhaba lounge in Geneva yesterday and Zagreb is infinitely better.

  9. Anonymous12:02

    How funny, I was literally booking flight tickets from Zagreb to Dubai last night and I decided against it because I'm not a fan of flyDubai or the MAX aircraft so I decided for Emirates from Venice instead. I felt bad depriving an Ex-Yu airport of passenger numbers but the timings worked better and Emirates is just superior. I wish they were still in Zagreb.

    1. Darko13:17

      The MAX is a significantly nicer and more comfortable aircraft compared to the older versions of the B737. It's a real pleasure to fly in that modern interior.

    2. Anonymous13:35

      Except when the door plug flies off

    3. Darko13:44


  10. IR 72012:50

    Flew recently over Iran. Had the same impressions. Highly developed road network with strict urban planning and excellent night-light. One would have thought of flying over Western Europe. Impressive what has Iran been doing despite the sanctions.

    1. IR 72012:51

      ...that is in stark contrast to Turkey by the way, where the cities seem totally chaotic.

    2. Darko13:07

      Yes, all Iran settlemens and objects from above seemed to be well organized and maintained. On one photo you may see interesting geological formations on the hill slopes.

  11. Anonymous13:03

    Anyone know how many Nepalese live in Croatia? Could we see flights to Kathmandu in the future? Even maybe over the summer?

    1. Anonymous13:16

      With the plethora of connections via the Gulf, no way.

    2. I don't know about Nepalese specifically, but according to the Ministry of Interior there's about 200k legal immigrants with permanent residency.
      Most of them in Zagreb.

  12. Darko13:12

    Nepalese community grows rapidly in Croatia last 2-3 years.
    Ohh, yeah that would be great experience, landing at on of toughest airports in the world.

    1. Anonymous13:17

      In which industries are they mostly working?

    2. Darko13:20

      Food delivery, taxi, restaurant kitchens, staff in bakeries...

    3. Darko14:45

      And much in construction industry.

  13. Anonymous16:26

    Darko, what is the value for money? Emirates is excellent but pricey. How does flyDubai compare? It's significantly cheaper, but is it much worse? What are the seats like? If you book for a group, do you all get random seat allocation?

  14. Darko16:48

    As I mentioned in the report, Flydubai planes are less luxurious than Emirates in every way. It's like driving in Škoda, compared to an Audi. But new Škoda. And Audi (Emirates) does not fly from Zagreb.

    1. Anonymous17:06

      I know but they fly from Venice and that's where I bought my tickets from. I wasn't sure about flyDubai but Emirates I know is great. But the price difference is huge!

    2. Anonymous17:29

      That's why they're called a low-cost.

  15. Anonymous02:18

    Last night another 737 MAX 8 diverted to Tashkent and spent several hours on the ground before continuing to Almaty.


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