Feb 24, 2009

Croatia Flights

Trying to find the most affordable and convenient flights to Croatia can often be a difficult task. For years the experts at JayWay Travel have been assisting clients with advice and solutions on how best to get to Croatia from the US, Canada and different parts of Europe. We would like to share some of our insight that we have learned over the years.

There has been talk in the last couple years of a direct flight from the US to Croatia but unfortunately up until now nothing has been confirmed. A Delta Airlines flight to Split or Dubrovnik was discussed but it appears maybe due to the economic times talk of this has stalled. So unfortunately it looks like we will have to wait through another season and hope that this becomes a reality for next year.

However not to worry, there are still convenient connections through a number of gateway cities in Western Europe. The most popular gateway city where we send a majority of our clients is Frankfurt with London, Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin also offering reasonable connections. Most of these routes from Western Europe to Croatia are serviced by the national carrier, Croatia Airlines, so good to find an international airline that partners with them. These airlines make up a group which is known as the Star Alliance. Other carries with more limited routes into Croatia include British Airways, Aer Lingus and Austrian Airlines to name a few of the larger carriers.

There are three airports in Croatia where a majority of flights are concentrated and these include Dubrovnik, Split and Zagreb. Flights to Dubrovnik and Split are quite seasonable with a majority of their routes running in a six month period between April and October with the four months between June and September making up the busiest months for traffic. Zagreb being the capital and business center tends to have a more consistent schedule throughout the year. There are also smaller secondary airports such as Pula, Zadar and Rijeka which run more limited routes exclusively for vacationers. When traveling internationally your best bet is to fly into and out of the three mentioned above of Dubrovnik, Split and Zagreb.

With our clients from the US and Canada we find the most common route they fly and we suggest is into Dubrovnik and returning from Split or vice versa. This makes for the most convenient way to take in all the highlights of the southern region of Croatia known as Dalmatia. Rather than having to make your way back to the same city (i.e. flying into and out of Dubrovnik) JayWay Travel is able to source flights into and out of different airport cities within Croatia at the same price as if you booked a round trip into and out the same city. From a convenience of travel and cost perspective this is certainly the way to go. For those who have an extended period of time and who want to cover the north of Croatia including Istria we tend to have them fly into Dubrovnik and back from Zagreb at the same price for what it would cost for a round trip through Dubrovnik. This certainly saves travelers a lot of time and effort as although Zagreb and Dubrovnik look close on a map it is a long journey by bus or car between the two.

Another source of flights into Croatia from Western and even now from Eastern Europe is through some of the low cost carriers which are abundant throughout Europe. If you are based in Europe this is certainly the best solution from a cost standpoint as these flights if booked far enough in advance can be extremely affordable. These flights arrive into places such as Dubrovnik and Split but you will find a majority of flights to these secondary airports such as Pula and Zadar consist primarily of low cost carriers. JayWay has an excellent knowledge of the different low cost carrier routes so as part of our packages we often provide clients with advice free of charge. Usually it is cheaper for our clients to book directly through the websites of these low cost European carriers as we will not be able to obtain them a better rate. We encourage this as we would prefer our clients get a better deal and get to Croatia the most convenient way possible.

One thought of international travelers is to combine an international flight to Western Europe with one of these low cost carriers onto Croatia. Often this can make for significant savings but we always tell people to be careful when trying to plan such a connection. You want to leave yourself plenty of time between connections or even overnight in a city and plan to catch the flight to Croatia the next day. Unfortunately since these international and low cost carriers are not linked if your international connection is delayed you are out of luck. Since they are not related the low cost airline obviously has no responsibility for the delays of the international airline and they clearly state this so beware. Although it may appear worthwhile price wise by the time you deal with the hassle of trying to make connections, time spent waiting for your layover, transport to different airports or having to spend money on a hotel it is usually worth the extra money to book the international connection. Often it may even after all is said and done be around the same price anyway.

For international travelers from the US and Canada for example the low cost carriers can certainly be used to your advantage. Often we prepare trips for people where they combine different countries in the Eastern Europe using the low cost carriers from these countries to get to Croatia. One excellent example is we have people combine a trip to Prague with Croatia. During the summer season there is a very reasonable connection between Prague and Dubrovnik or Split making for an easy connection. Again people often have the perception from looking at a map that the countries in Eastern Europe are close together but unfortunately the bus and train connections between Prague and Croatia for example are not quite up to Western European standards. The quickest bus or train connection from Prague to the south of Croatia can take as long as a full day.

When it comes to flights we also suggest people utilize the domestic connections within Croatia. Croatia Airlines has very reasonable connections between cities especially when booked in advance. For example a connection between Dubrovnik and Zagreb can be booked online at rates starting for less than $40 one way. With careful planning these flights can cut down both your domestic travel and also some of your international travel when combining Croatia with other European countries. Please note that on the Croatia Airlines website they do not allow for booking more than six months in advance. All the feedback we have received from our clients about Croatia Airlines has been quite positive as it has standards comparable to its Western European counterparts. One sign of this is their membership into the Star Alliance mentioned above.

At first when planning a Croatia trip we believe a lot of people get discouraged because of what appears to be the high prices and limited connections to get them to there. Hopefully from some of our advice above you can see several viable options exist and we believe it is only going to get better. Feel free to contact the experts at JayWay Travel anytime at info@jaywaytravel.com, through our website at http://www.jaywaytravel.com/, within the US at 914 595 4540 or within Europe at +44 20 8133 7150 and we are glad to provide you with advice on what solution is best for you.

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