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Croatian Airlines A319 at Split Airport
The livery of Croatian Airlines.

Review: Croatia Airlines - A Young National Carrier

  • By Finnoy Travel
  • April 05, 2022

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Croatia

Croatia has been independent since 1991. The country is located on the eastern coast of Adriatic Sea and less than 5 million people are living in this young country. Tourism has become a huge export product of Croatia. Every year there is an increasing number of travellers arriving in Croatia and enjoying the services of this fascinating country. Travelling in Croatia is rewarding as one will enjoy the country's comfortable climate and beautiful scenery.

National Carrier: Croatia Airlines

Croatia Airlines is the flag-carrier of Croatia and it is owned by the state. The airline was founded in 1989. It is still considered a small airline which operates multiple domestic routes in Croatia. The majority of the airline's international destinations are in Europe. Zabreb Airport is the airline's only hub. Croatia Airlines belongs to the world's biggest airline alliance: Star Alliance.

Fleet

Croatia Airlines has a modern but not so young fleet. It uses Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft to fly longer destinations and shorter routes are operated with Dash 8-400 turboprop. The airline has only 13 aircraft in the fleet which makes it a small airline. Croatia Airlines do not have wide-body aircraft.

Destinations

Almost all of Croatia Airlines' destinations lay inside Europe. The airline has multiple destinations in Croatia and its proximity. Croatia Airlines does not have any long-haul destinations. Many of the airline's European destinations are also seasonal.

Safety of Croatia Airlines

Airlineratings.com has given Croatia Airlines the best 7-star safety rating. The airline has not had any fatal accidents but some minor incidents.

Our Croatia Airlines Experiences

We flew a domestic route from Split to Dubrovnik with a 19 years old Airbus A319-112. The flight time was only a little more than 30 minutes while the same route by bus would have taken more than 4 hours. There was not much price difference between a flight and a bus ticket so we decided to fly this short hop.

One of us flew also an international route from Helsinki to Split via Zagreb. The flight from Helsinki to Zagreb was marketed by Croatia Airlines but it was operated by Air Nostrum's CRJ-1000 regional jet. This aircraft was surprisingly young. Air Nostrum is a Spanish Airline that does wet-leasing for Croatia Airlines and other airlines. The flight from Zagreb to Split was operated by Croatia Airlines itself.

Air Nostrum CRJ1000 people boarding at Helsinki
Our flight from Helsinki to Zagreb was operated by Air Nostrum's CRJ1000.

This review is based on our experiences during these 3 flights.

Booking

We booked the flights via Skyscanner. Skyscanner compares prices of different booking sites and this time we found that Supersaver.fi was the best place to book the flights. The booking processes were eventless. The low-fare tickets didn't include anything else than the flights. After the bookings, we added our Star Alliance loyalty numbers on Croatia Airlines' website.

Check-in

Almost all airlines have internet check-in. So has Croatia Airlines too. We made the check-ins with our mobile phones and we were allowed to choose seats free of charge . A mobile boarding pass was provided and there was no need to print anything. Because we were travelling only with cabin luggage, we just proceeded directly to the gate via security check.

Fleet

Our Croatia Airlines flights were operated by Airbus A319. The first flight was operated by Air Nostrum and the aircraft type was CRJ-1000. Even though the fleet of Croatia Airlines is modern, the airline's Airbus aircraft are not young anymore. They were still in good condition so it was difficult to believe they were 19 years old. Air Nostrum's CRJ-1000 was brand new.

Croatia Airlines Airbus A319
Airbus A319 of Croatia Airlines flew us from sunny Split to beautiful Dubrovnik.
Air Nostrum CRJ1000 at Zagreb
Our Helsinki-Zagreb flight arrived on time to Croatia's capital.

Rating

Friendliness of the Crew

We can surely say that the cabin crew were not rude but they were not friendly either. On the flight from Split to Dubrovnik, there was no welcome announcement and the crew didn't speak much at all. In contrast, a pilot of the flight gave a clear speech.

Cabins

The cabins of Airbus A319 were clean and looked newer than expected from its many years of operation. Seats were thin and spacious enough even in the economy class. There were also information screens but they were too small and quite far away from some of the seats and the display quality was poor. We didn't even see the full safety demonstration because the screens were not working properly.

The cabin of Air Nostrum CRJ1000
Air Nostrum CRJ1000's cabin with seatings 2+2.

Ticket Price

Our flight from Split to Dubrovnik was inexpensive. The flight from Helsinki to Split was also quite inexpensive because we bought it only a few hours before the departure after the denial of boarding by another airline. Croatia Airlines was the cheapest option to fly from Helsinki to Croatia with such short notice.

It is important to compare flight prices because they vary a lot. Find the best flight deals on Skyscanner.

Onboard Services

On the domestic route, only water was served.

On the longer route, Croatia Airlines served a complimentary meal, prosciutto and cheese. While the prosciutto, a dry-cured pork leg was too salty, the cabin crew served water many minutes after serving the meal so it was quite an unpleasant experience during that waiting period. On the positive side, having complimentary snacks is nowadays a nice surprise.

Croatia Airlines economy meal
A complimentary meal served by Croatia Airlines included traditional Croatian food and a cup of water.

Price-to-Quality Ratio

Croatia Airlines is not categorized as a low-cost airline. The price level is still moderate and the aircraft are spacious and comfortable. Complimentary snacks and drinks increase the airline's rating.

Air Nostrum CRJ1000 fuselage
Air Nostrum's CRJ1000

Overall Rating

Croatia Airlines is a good airline but not the best we have flown with. In its category, it performs well.

Air Nostrum CRJ1000 at Helsinki Airport
Air Nostrum CRJ1000 at Helsinki Airport bound for Zagreb Aiport.

Bottom Line

Croatia is a destination which we can recommend to anyone. Even if you are a first-timer in Europe, Croatia is a good and inexpensive place to start exploring southern Europe. Flying to your destination by Croatia Airlines will surely be a nice experience too. Unfortunately, Croatia Airlines does not have long-haul destinations yet.

Croatia Airlines at Split in the spring
Flying is the best way to connect between cities in Croatia as land transportation is slow due to the country's geographical structure.

Have you flown with Croatia Airlines? How would you rate it? Comment below!

Tags: , ,
Destination: Croatia

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Book hotels and flights wisely

We recommend booking.com for hotel reservations. This agency has good booking conditions, excellent customer service and affordable rates. For flights, Skyscanner is one of the most popular tools to find the cheapest flights.

Relax at Airports

Make your journey a more pleasant experience. Head to an airport lounge and unwind before flying. Purchase single access from Lounge Pass or read our article about Priority Pass.

DonĀ“t miss unforgettable activities and tours

Whether you are travelling near or far, make your trips more memorable by attending organized activities and tours. On GetYourGuide, you will easily find after sought sightseeings and tours at your destination.

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