In this review, we will fly in economy class on a Bombardier Dash 8-400 of Olympic Air from Athens to Dubrovnik.
After a short stay in the overcrowded Aegean Business Lounge it was time to continue my trip. My connecting Aegean Airlines flight from Athens to Dubrovnik would be operated by Olympic Air, which is Aegean Airlines’ domestic and regional subsidiary.
Although most people will probably not notice any difference between a normal Aegean Airlines flight and one operated by Olympic Air, frequent flyers should remember that although Aegean Airlines is a full star alliance member, Olympic Air is not.
This means that some frequent flyers will not have their usual Star Alliance gold status benefits such as lounge access on Aegean Airlines flights operated by Olympic Air.
My flight to Dubrovnik would be operated by a Bombardier Dash 8-400, a small turboprop plane seating 78. Such flights always depart from a bus gate, which meant I had to head to a boarding gate on the ground floor of the terminal.
As there was still some time left before boarding would start, I bought a much-needed freddo espresso to get my dose of Greek caffeine.
It didn’t take long before the sole gate agent announced that we could board our flight. All passengers on today’s flight – not more than 30 what I would guess – easily fitted in a single bus.
Within ten minutes everyone was inside and we were on our way to the aircraft out on the tarmac. Boarding the plane by stairs was an equally calm and orderly affair and within 5 to 10 minutes everyone was seated.
Note that if you have a big trolley as carry-on luggage you will have to put it on a baggage cart at the aircraft door to be stowed away in the hold of the plane as it will not fit in the small overhead luggage bins on such propeller planes.
Athens (ATH) to Dubrovnik (DBV) on Aegean Airlines (operated by Olympic Air)
Flight A3 784 – Bombardier Dash 8-400 (DH8D) – Economy class, seat 1A
Departure: 1.30pm – Arrival: 2.15pm
Flight time: 1h45m – Distance: 438 miles
Costs: 75 EUR for OTP-ATH-DBV
Olympic Air Dash 8-400 seat
Olympic Air’s entire turboprop fleet, which besides the Bombardier Dash 8-400 currently consists out of some Dash 8-100 and ATR 42-600 planes as well, is configured in an all-economy class cabin. Business class service is not offered on any of these turboprop flights.
Online check-in opens 48 hours before departure and you are free to select any seat you like. The bulkhead seats (row 1 if seated on the left side, row 2 if seated on the right side) have by far the most legroom and are the ones to go for.
I managed to assign myself seat 1A. With the rather empty load, I had the entire row to myself, giving me even more abundant legroom and space to stretch out.
The leather seat itself was perfectly comfortable too for the short domestic and regional hops on which the airline uses these planes.
Shortly before departure, the flight attendants handed out small sweets, which is a nice touch. After a quick safety briefing we drove off towards the nearby runway and within minutes were airborne.
Views on departure were great as we crossed the Saronic Gulf and overflew the Corinth Canal, which was clearly recognisable from the air.
Some 15 to 20 minutes after departure the two female flight attendants working today’s flight to Dubrovnik kicked off with the in-flight service.
We were given a tasty sandwich, which looked similar to the one I received on my earlier flight today from Bucharest to Athens. Beverage service exists out of coffee and tea, juice, soft drinks as well beer and wine if you fancy some alcohol.
I opted for a white wine, which turned out to be excellent despite being served in a paper cup. The kind flight attendants were very generous with their pour!
About an hour later into the flight the flight attendants came by again, this time handing out some cookies. They also asked whether or not I wanted some coffee or tea.
I politely inquired whether I could perhaps a refill of wine after they finished with the coffee round, which they gladly obliged with a big smile on her face. Some minutes later, the flight attendant returned with another full glass of wine.
Olympic Air’s turboprop fleet is rather basic, so don’t expect any form of entertainment to be provided except for the in-flight magazine and whatever is visible from the window.
There are no power sockets or USB charging ports at the seats, nor are the planes equipped with WiFi internet.
Service by the two flight attendants was great throughout the flight. They were welcoming, chatty and extremely hard-working, yet managed to have a friendly smile on their face at all times.
The weather on Croatia’s Adriatic coast was quite stormy and we had a wee bit of turbulence on arrival. I had selected a seat on the port side of the plane on purpose as I thought it would have the best views of Dubrovnik on arrival.
Dubrovnik Airport’s runway is basically lined out from the north-west to the south-east and the direction from which you land depends on the winds that day. Only if you arrive from the north-west will you have views over Dubrovnik upon landing. In this case, you must select a seat on the left side.
Fortunately, it turned out that we were indeed coming in from the north today, as at one point we made a sharp U-turn to the right and aligned for the runway back in south-easterly direction.
I was a bit afraid that the cloud cover would still ruin the views, but fortunately we soon descended below the clouds. Some minutes later I could indeed spot the walled city of Dubrovnik from my plane window. What a great way to arrive!
Once we reached our parking spot on the tarmac and the fasten seatbelt sign went off, I got out of my seat, packed my rucksack from the overhead bin and chatted a bit with one of the flight attendants waiting for the bus to arrive.
As one of the flight attendants had already opened the door and lowered the stairs, I could see that it was raining cats and dogs at this point, which did not look very promising for my stay in Dubrovnik.
When the bus finally arrived and someone from ground handling came to the plane with some paperwork, the flight attendant again showed herself from her best side.
She asked, no, rather demanded, that the Dubrovnik ground handling guys would park the bus closer to the stairs of the plane. The literal words of the purser: “This way my passengers have to walk all that distance through the rain to the bus, that’s not OK!”
Surely enough the guys could not refuse her request as they re-parked the bus to just a few feet away from the aircraft stairs, allowing us to disembark the aircraft and enter the bus without getting soaking wet. What a great service, eye for detail and passenger care!
I thanked the crew for the great flight and was the first to disembark the plane, ready to start my rainy Dubrovnik adventure.
I had an absolutely fantastic flight on Olympic Air and cannot think of something which I didn’t like. Best of all was the great crew, which went to lengths to ensure the comfort of all passengers.
Everything else was certainly good too. Despite the Bombardier Dash 8-400 being a small turboprop plane, I thought the seat was certainly comfortable and spacious. For a short domestic or regional hop, it is certainly an acceptable way to fly even if you are not lucky enough to score a bulkhead seat with more legroom.
On this short flight of under two hours, Olympic Air was kind enough to actually do two complimentary food and beverage runs through the aircraft, the first time handing out sandwiches and the second time a pack of cookies. Drinks, including alcohol, is complimentary too and I certainly enjoyed my two glasses of wine!
Olympic Air has an excellent in-flight product which is well-worth seeking out and which will certainly not disappoint.
Trip report index
This article is part of the ‘An Adriatic Adventure: Off-Season Travel to Dubrovnik, Montenegro and a Bit of Bavaria‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:
1. Review: MasterCard Business Lounge Bucharest Otopeni Airport
2. Review: Aegean Airlines Economy Class Bucharest to Athens (Airbus A320)
3. Review: Aegean Business Lounge Athens Airport Hall A (Non-Schengen)
4. Review: Olympic Air Economy Class (Bombardier Dash 8-400) Athens to Dubrovnik (current chapter)
5. Review: Apartments Festa, Old Town of Dubrovnik
6. A Dubrovnik Winter Trip: Off-Season Travel Away from the Tourist Crowds
7. Review: Dubrovnik (Croatia) to Kotor (Montenegro) by Bus
** rest of the chapters to follow soon **