Now carrying over two million passengers every year, Croatia Airlines has arrived as one of Europe's operators, a member of the Star Alliance global group, and part of the Miles & More loyalty program. Operating out of Franjo Tudman Airport, around 7 miles from central Zagreb, its secondary bases include Dubrovnik and Split, making it the undisputed flag carrier of Croatia. Originally founded as Zagreb Airlines, it endured difficult times in the troubled 1990s. However, with the end of conflict in the former Yugoslavia, Croatia experienced a tourism boom as a new generation of holiday makers from Italy, Germany, and the UK flocked to its Adriatic coast resorts and discovered the UNESCO World Heritage City of Dubrovnik.
The airline now flies either year-round or seasonal routes to over 30 destinations, including flights as far afield as London Heathrow, Lisbon, Oslo, Helsinki, and Stockholm. A fleet previously based on the relatively short-range ATR has been overhauled by the introduction of Airbus 319s and 320s. Despite competition from budget carriers for affordable Southern European holidays, the airline remains a distinctly Croatian experience, right down to an in-flight menu featuring local favourites like pasticada -- a classic meaty stew -- and Splitska torta among the desserts. With passenger numbers on a steady upward trend, the future looks bright for Croatia Airlines.
Passengers looking for an economy fare have a choice. FlyOpti is the cheaper option, with no refund after booking and a limit of one checked bag and one item of carry-on luggage. FlyFlexi allows for cancelations (for a fee) and free changes to your booked flights. Both classes of tickets entitle passengers to complementary snacks and beverages, the in-flight Croatia Magazine, and a good standard of economy class comfort with all the usual amenities. Business travelers also have a greater flexibility on tickets plus access to the airline's lounges.
The Miles & More program offers four levels of membership and members can gain additional miles from their car rental and hotel stays too, which are all redeemable against a range of products and experiences.
Note that Croatia Airlines also operates a FlyOnline Club, which offers passengers free tickets if they are frequent bookers through the airline's website.
On domestic and international routes, all passengers are normally entitled to one item of cabin baggage, which may not exceed 8 kg or 55 x 40 x 20 cm, as well as one small personal item (which may include a small laptop bag). On the majority of flights, business travelers may carry two items of cabin baggage.
Economy travelers may check in one item of hold baggage of up to 23 kg with a maximum sum of dimensions of 158cm.
Business travelers are entitled to two items of up to 32 kg and the same dimensions.
For Silver members of the Miles & More program, the economy class allowance is increased to two items of hold baggage.
For membership classes higher than Silver, the business class allowance is increased to three items.