I need advice about reliable travel from Dubrovnik to Venice. My friend and I would like to leave Dubrovnik on Oct 4 which is a Sunday to arrive in Venice for a Oct 5th 10:30 am flight . Not sure how reliable the airline schedules are. We see one non-stop flight around 5 pm on Croatian air to Venice on Oct 4th but should that flight be cancelled we are not sure there is another option. Any recent experiences with Croatian Air? Is there a ferry that could get us to Italy or another suggestion. Thanks for your advice in advance.
I only flew Croatian Air once so that's a miniscule sample size - you may be able to find reliability statistics on the web for that particular flight. If you need a back up plan, see how many flights there are from Split (much larger airline market than Dubrovnik). It does take about 3-4 hours to get to Split by bus but they do run frequently. Also, there is a small airport in Montanegro close to Dubrovnik (Tivat in Montenegro) but I doubt another small airport would be helpful as their flights are probably limited too. You'd have to look at the Jadrolinia website for the ferry schedules. I think it's wise to have a back-up plan because you're traveling in the off-peak season. Good luck!
I flew Croatian Air out of Dubrovnik a couple of years ago. It was fine. Security was slow at the airport so be early. There was security at the gate and it was quite slow.
Dubrovnik and Venice are not well connected. I don't know what your overall itinerary looks like, but I might re-work it so that your flight to Venice is a day earlier or just re-arrange your itinerary so that you're closer to Venice. Dubrovnik is not connected by rail, so that's not an option. You could eventually get to Venice by ferry but that's a long trip with multiple hops. The same is true of the bus -- long trip and multiple hops.
I don't know if you intend to see other places in Croatia, but on a recent trip we had originally planned to travel down the coast and then fly back up to Zagreb to catch our flight to Paris. Instead we re-arranged our trip to fly from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, and then work our way up the coast. That way, we would be relatively close to Zagreb and didn't have to worry about a cancelation. Perhaps you could rearrange your itinerary so that you fly to Dubrovnik and then work your way towards Venice. Of course, this is only applicable if you intend on visiting other places in Croatia.
I flew Croatia Airilnes from Split to Paris back in 2009. A few days before departure, the direct flight I had originally booked was canceled. Instead, I was rebooked on a lovely 6AM flight with a connection in Zagreb. (In retrospect, getting into Paris half a day earlier turned out to be quite nice, but getting up at 3AM for that flight was not fun.)
(On a recent flight out of Zagreb (on KLM), I chatted with my Croatian seatmate, and she said she greatly preferred KLM to Croatia Airlines because of their reputation for reliability. I take it my canceled flight is typical for their reputation.)
Still...they did get me to my destination in 2009. I can't say for sure, but I can guess that the reason my flight was canceled was that it was too lightly booked, and they knew they could get me to Paris anyway albeit on a less convenient flight for me. I see there is no option for you to fly to Venice via Zagreb, but Croatia Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, meaning they partner with Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines, among others. So there's a good chance they would re-book you as they did with me on connecting flights as they did with me instead of simply stranding you.
So I'd personally not be too worried about a flight cancellation. But I would check my flight status regularly as you approach departure, and make sure Croatia Airlines has a valid way to contact you - email, phone, whatever - in case of a schedule change. And I'd know what the alternate flight options might be for that day. Checking Oct 4, I see there is a flight to Venice via Vienna and another one via Frankfurt on Star Alliance partners, both of which would get you into Venice only a few hours later (or have you leave a few hours earlier) than planned.
Of course, weather and other natural events can happen, and timing your flight into Venice right before you fly home does present some small risk. I have done this sort of thing a few times, though. You may be able to obtain trip delay insurance or already have it with one of your credit cards if you book some or all of your travel with that card.
I've flown with Croatia airlines several times before, but not in or out of Dubrovnik. I've never had issues in terms of canceled or super late flights. I've used them within Croatia and once to Germany. The only concern flying out of Dubrovnik would be the Bora winds, which Rick mentions in his guidebook. It's not a common occurrence, but it may cause issues leaving Dubrovnik.
The Bora winds are a much bigger problem for arrivals than they are for departures. We got to experience the Bora winds when we flew into Dubrovnik, and it was quite something. We circled and attempted multiple landings for about an hour or so. If a departure is delayed due to the winds, it's more likely that the arriving plane was late rather than the departing plane not being able to take off.
Thanks to all who are responding. Taking all advice under consideration.