Flying Croatia Airlines with an In-Cabin Pet

Our experience flying Croatia Airlines with an in-cabin pet was very positive. Although still a small fleet by international standards, Croatia Airlines exceeded our expectations from the customer service to the actual airplanes. But I shouldn’t be surprised since we have had good luck with the Star Alliance group and Croatia Airlines joined the group in 2004.

Flying Croatia Airlines with an In-Cabin Pet waiting in Zagreb Airport

Waiting with Dad in Zagreb for our Croatian Airlines flight to Dubrovnik!

When we were booking our flight, our fantastic travel agent, Danielle, sent a quick message to Croatia Airlines (contact@croatiaairlines.hr) to confirm my reservation and presence on our flights—all three flights: Amsterdam to Zagreb, Zagreb to Dubrovnik, and finally, Zagreb to Paris. The return confirmation email came back with “Croatia Airlines ESA – Freeeeeeeeeeee 😀” in the subject line. Yep, smiley face emoticon and all. It was kind of sweet and a huge shift from previous airline experiences. We are used to having to jump through every imaginable hoop to get me on-board and registered, let alone getting me on-board as an ESA and, thus, flying for free. But not with this airline. Nope. They simply asked that all the paperwork be faxed to them, then they sent back an email confirmation and … that was it!

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Plus I kinda like the pattern on their planes…

And the website pet page? Actually, really good. Everything you want to know is there, including the Canadian prices for the pet fees. You have got to love that!

Flying Croatia Airlines with an In-Cabin Pet—Airline Policy

  • Only small dogs and cats can travel in-cabin on Croatia Airlines and only to countries that permit it. If your dog or cat meets the requirements listed in Croatia Airlines’ pet policy, you will need an approved airline pet carrier.
  • You must notify Croatia Airlines that you are traveling with a pet. Reservations cannot be made online.
  • One carrier is permitted per passenger.
  • Maximum weight of your pet and its carrier cannot exceed 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds).
  • Pets are not permitted to travel on flights to the United Kingdom.
  • Medically certified service animals are permitted to travel in-cabin.

Charges you can expect (at the time of this post):

  • Domestic flights (within Croatia): 150 HRK + VAT (25%)
  • International flights (within Europe): 50 EUR / 60 USD / 60 CAD
  • International flights (outside Europe): 70 EUR / 100 USD / 100 CAD
  • Service dogs and ESAs: free

But do you want to know why I really loved Croatia Airlines? The staff at check-in actually, really, truly knew what to do regarding a pet flying in-cabin! For the first time in a long time, neither one of the bipeds had to explain to the person checking us in. No one had to “lose it.” And this was true for all three flights! There was absolutely no issue at all. Not only was my presence entered in the system (already a miracle), but also, on top of that, they knew how to print my boarding pass and how to alert the staff at boarding that I was coming. They did this with a smile, with ease, and minimal delay.

*mouth hanging open*

To be honest, Dear Reader, I think the bipeds were totally in shock. This might well be the first time ever that it went all so well. The airline even already had the copy of my Emotional Support Animal registration and mental health practitioner letter on file and ready to print. Mom had come all prepared with copies for … nothing! Kudos to whoever is training their ground crew. Seriously. Good job!

Flying Croatia Airlines with an In-Cabin Pet map of Croatian flights

Optional flights within Croatia!

We got lucky with our planes as well. I think we had older models that had yet to be retrofitted to the RECARO “Slimline” seats, which cram a whole two extra rows into existing airplanes. The planes we flew on had yet to undergo that horrible transformation. So although the seats may have felt a little retro in their appearance, we were grateful for them and certainly enjoyed the extra leg room. It’s sad that this will not remain the case.

We met some fun people on our flight between Zagreb and Dubrovnik. Complete with near dognapping! What I loved was that no one cared that I was out of my carrier while on the bus to the plane. People just smiled.

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Making friends on the shuttle to the airplane!

Overall I only have good things to say about flying Croatia Airlines and how they manage in-cabin pets. In fact, it was the smoothest process we’ve ever had. Our entire flight was good, with Air France still being wonderful and gracious, and KLM as well. Is it an Air Alliance thing? I have no idea. Maybe. If it is, then two thumbs up to Air Alliance for realizing that pets flying in-cabin is likely here to stay and getting on board with the program. Thank you to all the staff who made our getting there and going home less painful than it often is—usually, the least pleasant part of being a globetrotter.

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