REPORT: American Considering Non-Stop Service to Dubrovnik

American Airlines is reportedly looking at seasonal Philadelphia – Dubrovnik service.

The world’s largest carrier, American Airlines, is considering introducing seasonal flights to Dubrovnik. According to the “TangoSix” portal, the company is in talks with the airport over a seasonal service from Philadelphia. A decision on the matter is expected within the next month.

That seems a bit of a stretch to me.

  • Dubrovnik is a city with a population of 42,000 people (2011) though the surrounding region is larger.

  • American has no partner in Dubrovnik and I’d expect them to serve it via joint venture partner British Airways. However BA operates Dubrovnik service only via London Gatwick, and less than twice daily on average. Still that points to Dubrovnik the limits of this leisure destination for a full service airline even from within Europe.

  • There’s no connecting partner in Croatia to carry passengers to Split or Zagreb.

  • Airlines talk with airports about new routes all the time. Air China is talking to Philadelphia. That could happen, but it doesn’t mean it will happen.

Still American likes to experiment with routes using 767s. It offers a poor customer experience in business class — though more room in coach — and the airline’s CEO thinks they need to be retired quickly. But if this route were to comes to fruition it would almost certainly be operated by a 767.

American Airlines Boeing 767 Business Class

Authorities in Dubvrovnik have been looking for twice weekly year-round service from New York. There’s a large Croatian population in New York, and an even bigger one in Pittsburgh (but not in Philadelphia). However American sees Philadelphia as its connecting hub for transatlantic traffic, and they only want to service business routes from New York — and not all business routes, for instance they dropped New York JFK – Zurich and haven’t offered New York JFK – Frankfurt in many years.

I’d love to see American try this a couple of days a week though! They’d be the only U.S. airline serving Croatia.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. That’s exactly what Dubrovnik doesn’t need. In season, there are like 10,000 cruise ship passengers a day overrunning the old town.

  2. Seems like everyone I know has been / is going to Croatia. And there are currently zero nonstops between the US and Croatia. Seems like someone could make a summer seasonal work.

  3. This only goes to highlight the absolute lack of any oneworld service in central and Eastern Europe. Air Serbia could fill that gap nicely but that would require some creative thinking on the part of American, Etihad, and the Serbian government. For what it’s worth, Air Serbia does operate to Dubrovnik, albeit via Belgrade.

  4. Coming from everywhere and forced to connect in PHL, why would anybody accept the marginal standard of service of American?

    The miles mean nothing anymore, compared to the consistent quality offered by Lufthansa, which would fly direct to Frankfurt and a convenient connection from there to Dubrovnik.

  5. yeah, because as a NYC-dweller I will choose to have my flight on AA and connecting on PHL, as opposed to flying LH via FRA (for example). Sorry AA, just goes to show how utterly useless you are to anybody living north of Southern NJ : just give up and vacate the slots at JFK for better airlines to take over

  6. Correction we are looking at flying our 737 Max with the “modern” lavs and 4×4 seating.

  7. AA is such a slave to hubs yet they would fly to some odd small city in Europe but not connect a city like Pittsburgh on this side of the Atlantic

  8. I guess someone at AA is a big Game of Thrones fan. If award availability was good, I’d consider using Dubrovnik as a gateway to the Southern coast. Zagreb is lovely.

  9. For my honeymoon last year, we drove down from LI to catch PHL-ATH. A little more than 2hrs door-to-door and about $40 for one-way Avis rental+gas. It wasn’t ideal, but honestly, the connection options were even less than ideal. Fly through LHR and pay $400 each, or take one of the handful of connections to PHL (LGA or ISP at the time) and have ridiculously long layovers. I think AA’s connecting schedule to PHL has improved from NY/ISP this summer. But overall, the PHL premium experience currently leaves a lot to be desired. No FL, only basic AC. Thankfully being EXP and flying Int’l J got us into BA First lounge for endless champagne toasts before we boarded.

  10. Go to Dubrovnik as soon as you can. Every year it becomes more crowded and more expensive. It is absolutely beautiful. Dinner on the walls is great.

  11. To beat a dead horse, Dubrovnik is beautiful, but very small and overcrowded in peak season. I like fresh seafood in olive oil as much as the next guy, but choosing between 75 restaurants that only serve seafood in olive oil gets old.

    See Dubrovnik like you’d see Vegas – be there less than 48 hours and you are all set. Than get yourself to a nearby island and don’t leave.

  12. The new nonstop routes to Central/Eastern Europe are interesting – NYC to Prague, Budapest, now Dubrovnik. Spots that have been over-saturated with tourism for years only hold enough demand from a major city like NYC only now? It is like we are way behind the curve.

    As for Dubrovnik, it is beautiful and I stayed for a few nights. But I went in shoulder season and scheduled around cruise ship arrivals and the atmosphere is completely different. The restaurants are indeed terrible.

  13. Was just in Dubrovnik and it’s overrun with tourists. 2 days max and side trip to Montenegro . Would never fly from Dubrovnik to Split. It’s a 3 hour drive.

  14. Seasonal service to Dubrovnik sounds like something USAirways would do. I welcome this kind of route, even as it would be from PHL and probably borderline useless for MileSAAVer-type pricing at the times I would find this flight useful.

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