OU xxx ZAD-ZAG
ATR 42 9A-CTT (A319 9A-CTG)
Photo © Charles Falk
Photo © Martin Steiner
Ok, so from where we were staying it was much closer to ZAD (Zadar) than to drive 2.5 hours back to Split, so we flew out of ZAD. ZAD is very small but looks very modern; it must have been rebuilt after the war. Got there at 6am for our 7am flight to ZAG. Although it looks modern, there are NO computers so you are checked in by hand and your baggage tags are hand written. I hoped maybe with the handwritten tags, my bags would not get lost this time. So we proceeded through security, which was VERY tight. I got a full pat down, baggage search and everything. Sitting out on the tarmac was a single Croatia Airlines ATR 42, which I assumed, according to our itinerary was our plane. Come 7am, no announcements at all. By 8am I see an A319 land and we are ushered onto it. Again, no accouchements like “this is the flight to Zagreb,” since there is only one flight out of ZAD in the morning I guess this was ok. Flight time would be a quick 30 mins.
We had a 6 hour layover in ZAG so we checked in for the next flight to LHR and took the bus into the city to do a little sight seeing.
06 Jan 2003
OU 490 ZAG-LHR
Ok, so after getting back to the airport I happened to be standing near the info desk and was looking at the employees computer screen that identified our flight as a Bae146 and not the A319 scheduled. This was cool I thought as we would get to ride the one 146 Croatia has on lease from flightline, that we were supposed to ride ZAG-SPU. Now here’s where it gets interesting. The 146 Croatia has is G-OZRH
Photo © Niksa Radicevic
but this is NOT the 146 we got on! We flew on G-BPNT
Photo © Michal Buciak
an all white plane with the words “flightline” on them. Mind you, we did see G-OZRH when we were in ZAG the week before, painted in Croatia’s livery. From where I was seated at the window, I was able to look into the “workings” of the wing when the flaps were lowered and raised, which was cool. Flight time was a long 3 hours due to single runway operation at LHR. The captain of the flight was British and not Croatian like all the other flights on OU, but the cabin crew were Croatian. Does Croatian lease the pilots along with the planes? The captain was very talkative and gave us regular updates about what was outside, etc. He said a few times how great it was the flight was full and how it’s really good for Croatia Airlines.
In fact, ALL of our OU flights were very full. Even cooler, 3 equipment switches over the course of 4 OU flights!
06 Jan 2003
VS 9 LHR-JFK
By the time we were able to check in for VS at the transfer desks, there were no “good” seats left on the crowded 744. 63GH is one row from the last and we had an isle an inside 4 section. By this time we were REALLY tired and I wanted to sleep BUT the plane had the new v-port system which is just so cool. On-demand 50 movies, 50 tv shows, cds, games against other passengers, etc. We took off about 2 hours late due to xfer passengers from Lagos that checked in but didn’t board, so they first tried to find them then simply unloaded their bags. We were served a yummy chicken thing, VERY yummy mango ice cream bar mid-flight and then a chicken sandwich before landing I just couldn’t eat from being so tired. Flight time was a quick 7 hours and we landed at JFK in light snow. It took over 1 hour to clear customs and catch a cab and by the time I got home I had been awake for 30 hours, not a fun feeling.
Overall a FUN trip with 6 flights. VS gets good grades for onboard entertainment systems but BAD grades for luggage handling, outbound food from the US, and horrible seat pitch/seat comfort.
OU gets good grades for nice planes, friendly crews, etc.