TRIP REPORT: British Airways, Zagreb - London


Written by Jakob Hrastnik

I have visited London many times, but when I came across British Airways' offer for a return flight at €110, I couldn't resist. Despite flying frequently throughout the year, each journey remains a delightful pleasure for me.

On January 24th, I departed for London Heathrow with British Airways. I completed the online check-in 24 hours before departure. The check-in counter for BA flights opens 2 hours before departure, so I found myself having to wait for about an hour due to my early arrival. The airport was relatively empty, despite departures from airlines such as FR, TK, C3, BA, and four OU flights. After checking in my baggage, I proceeded through security.

Following security, I headed straight to the lounge. Although small and outdated, the lounge offered a limited selection of sandwiches, burek, croissants, and hot soup.

The last pre-flight obligation was passport control, as my UK-bound flight departed from the non-Schengen area, specifically gate 26. Boarding commenced on time, starting with group 1, followed by passengers from groups 2-5.

Zagreb's weather was favourable with clear skies and positive temperatures, eliminating the need for de-icing. At 20:45, the captain announced our readiness for take-off, a minute after Croatia's Dash 8 landed. We climbed steadily until reaching FL380.

Our A319 (G-DBCK) was initially delivered to British Midland Airways. Although the old-style seats were decent, I noted that BA's newer seats are much better. The cabin's overall condition was subpar, with many armrests showing signs of wear.

Approximately half an hour after take-off, the in-flight service began. Seated in the last row, I received an abundance of snacks. The service included a bottle of spring water and a choice of chocolate or crispy corn. Opting for the last row was advantageous due to a more comfortable seat recline.

I preordered a ham and cheese sandwich from their High Life Cafe online. I asked about my order, and they said that my order wasn't loaded onto the flight. I promptly showed the crew my confirmation, and a member of the flight crew went to consult with the purser. Regrettably, it turned out that the ham and cheese sandwich I had ordered was unavailable onboard. Instead, they offered me a cheese sandwich, which was the only alternative they had available.

Two young female cabin crew members, engaged in constant chatter, neglected to collect waste before landing. As we approached our top of descent, the crew initiated the arrival briefing. This flight marked my first experience with a straight-in approach to Heathrow without any circling or holding. The weather was favourable, and we smoothly landed on runway 27R. Our pilots parked at a remote stand, necessitating deboarding via stairs and a bus ride on the apron. This is my preferred method.

Arriving at Heathrow's Terminal 3, I found that our baggage had beaten us there, as we had waited for 20 minutes on the plane due to the absence of stairs.

In conclusion, this was a satisfactory flight. However, the experience did not differ significantly from the more economical Ryanair service to Stansted, despite the inclusion of a bottle of water, a snack, and the courteousness of the British cabin crew. A drawback of this evening flight is the limited option for connecting flights.

Flight information:

Flight: BA 849 / ZAG – LHR
Departure: 20.50
Arrival: 20.25
Equipment: Airbus A319 / G-DBCK
Load factor: around 65%

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  1. Anonymous09:23

    What an underwhelming experience both in the ZAG lounge and onboard. BA really does leave a lot to be desired. No wonder people prefer OU and FR when flying to London.

    Interesting trip report.

    1. Anonymous09:44

      The only reason somebody can prefer FR is the price. and not the experience

    2. Anonymous10:01

      British Airways is often cheaper than Ryanair, especially on these late evening flights. They arrive in Heathrow too late for any connection to be made.

    3. Anonymous10:05

      No one prefer Croatia Airlines to London. British Airways has more passengers and much more capacity than Croatia Airlines to Heathrow. Croatia Airlines can only be preferable due to its flight times. The Friday night flight from London to Zagreb is excellent, but it only runs in the summer season.

    4. Anonymous21:24

      British people prefer OU to BA. That's a fact!

  2. Anonymous10:03

    I don't know why everyone complains about the lounge in Zagreb, I really like it. The burek is great and the choice of drinks is abundant. The štrudla is very good too, and there's sandwiches and pancakes too. It's a fully decent lounge for me.

    1. Anonymous10:38

      I agree, on those occasions when flying SJJ to WAW via ZAG in winter I really enjoy the lounge. The other day they also had some decent pizza.

  3. Anonymous10:37

    @10:03 Completely agree! It's not the best lounge but it has all the necessities. No complaints from me.

  4. Were those snack and water complimentary?

    1. Anonymous16:37

      Yes, they are.

    2. What a change! Theu used to served nothing On intra-european flights.

    3. Anonymous10:51

      Not true. They always served water for free.

    4. Sure. Water is next to nothing.

  5. Anonymous13:09

    I was on the same flight, in business, which rarely happens in my case. Great food and service. I think I overheard the flight attendant say there were 75 passengers. Bus gate at Heathrow T3 is horrible since you don't have a lot of time to catch the last Tube service to the city after a flight arriving this late, and it takes ages to reach the Terminal. I had the feeling the bus driver circled the terminal or something, and then there is almost always a long walk to passport control, and the Tube. Flight times are much better in the summer schedule, but prices are at times insane for a 2-hour flight. I used Croatia Airlines a couple of times on this route, it was delayed out of London almost always, and he planes are more tired than this one you have just described. I think this particular one is over 20 years old. Not the best of services definitely, but if I can, I always choose this one, in economy, over the other two options to and from London, especially Ryanair. I have also noticed BA's younger flight attendants, probably hired post-Covid, don't really do their job properly and prefer to chat away rather than work. But I have witnessed the same in Croatia Airlines, with experienced crews. Your sandwich was not loaded: typical post-Covid BA service, unfortunately. I hope you got the alternative for free, even though that is probably wishful thinking. Zagreb lounge is currently going through renovations so it is a bit cramped, but I find it OK compared to some others I've been in. A bigger lounge would be better for sure.

    1. Anonymous14:12

      If you are flying business, then you don’t need the tube, take a cab hehe

    2. Anonymous16:20

      Business lounge is already dated?

    3. Anonymous10:52

      It is almost eight years old, of course it is dated.

    4. Anonymous13:47

      Anon 14:12. As I said, I rarely fly business, this flight was an exception. Even if I am ready to pay, in my case, up to 20 times more for a cab than the Tube, it doesn't mean cabs and Ubers are available, or you need to wait forever to get one, or they don't want to go where you need to go... If a flight arriving this late is delayed, or ground staff are nowhere to be seen to open the plane door (been there) for a while, you may end up getting a limo service (been there) as your only option, which is comfortable, but even more expensive that Uber and Black Cab, and paying more for your transfer than the plane ticket.

  6. Anonymous19:05

    How come Turkish provide a full meal service and in-flight entertainment for short hall....and the EU flag flier's provide NADA !!! profit margins....

    1. Anonymous21:18

      Turkish cabin crew works for 300e while British works for 2500-3000 pounds atleast.
      Also British flights are way cheaper. DUB - IST eco for me and wife, return is almost 1000e in April (plus they have 2 daily flights) while DUB - BEG with British in June is 550e return for 2 of us.

    2. Anonymous08:59

      TK is not cheap at all

    3. Anonymous10:14

      UK is back in EU? Wow

    4. Anonymous10:53

      @19:05 Your unhinged comment has multiple errors. Why would anyone want a full meal service on a 1 hour and 45 minutes flight from London to Zagreb? Are you going to die of starvation for that time?


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