Last week I flew on an Austrian Airlines flight OS684 between Zagreb, the Croatian capital, and Vienna. It was a connecting flight for me, and for many of the other passengers on board.
Zagreb Airport is fairly new, with its new terminal building opened in March 2017. It bears the name Dr Franjo Tuđman, of the first Croatian president.
The old terminal building is currently out of use. There was never a plan for what would become of it, though various pressure groups and politicians have been advocating that it becomes either a low-cost terminal or a cargo facility. Zagreb Airport presently has very few low-cost carrier flights, and even full-service airlines have recently been leaving.
The airport is home to Croatia Airlines, which has a regional network that feeds its European flights. Its European flight capacity is directed towards major European airports, most of which are Star Alliance hubs.
One such hub is Vienna. Croatia Airlines flies to Vienna twice daily, and Austrian Airlines twice to thrice daily. They both sell tickets for all these flights.
Before the flight
I purchased the ticket for this flight four months in advance, as a return for my trip from London to Zagreb. On the outbound journey, I flew with Lufthansa from London Heathrow to Frankfurt, and with Croatia Airlines from Frankfurt to Zagreb.
This means that I flew with three different airlines on a single ticket. This is standard practice for Lufthansa Group and its codeshare partners.
My ticket was Economy Light, meaning I was allowed no hold luggage and only one cabin bag of up to 8 kilograms.
Austrian Airlines check in opens 47 hours before departure. Seat selection is free at check in, and I picked the most forward available aisle seat in Economy class: 3C.
Interestingly, I was able to check in separately for my two connecting flights. This allowed me to pick my desired seats for both flights.
Austrian Airlines offers a selection of e-journals to download just ahead, on the day of and just after the flight. The selection is in several languages, and the magazines come in a variety of genres, but not all are free.
The flight – OS684
This flight is almost never delayed because the aircraft spends 95 minutes in Zagreb before returning to Vienna. This is beneficial for punctuality and also for offering short connecting times.
Our aircraft, OE-LGG, arrived in Zagreb from Vienna at 13:50 and left to return to Vienna just before 15:30. Because the aircraft was there early and boarding started 30 minutes before scheduled departure, we were able to leave our parking position early.
Curiously, the flight was not full although ticket sales for this flight stopped four days before the day of departure. There was only one person in business class, out of the available three seats. In economy class, there were also a few available seats. A total of 63 passengers were on board.
For this short 54-minute flight, we were served a bottle of water. There was also a choice of tea or coffee.
We landed in Vienna at 16:18, and reached our parking position at 16:22, 3 minutes ahead of schedule. I proceeded to catch my connecting flight, also an Austrian Airlines service, to London Heathrow.
Our aircraft, OE-LGG, took off for Graz less than an hour after we arrived in Vienna from Zagreb. Interestingly, this aircraft now appears to be stuck there. Two days later, it has still not returned to Vienna and the only flight it was scheduled to perform has been canceled.
Overall, this was a very pleasant flight – the journey was on time, comfortable, and above all at a great price. I shall definitely be looking to use Austrian again if I have to transfer.