Posted by: viewfromtheriva | October 16, 2015

See plane, see plane go–to Korcula in 15 minutes!


The new downtown Split floating terminal of , European Coastal Airlines is diagonally opposite the big red ferry terminal.

The new downtown Split terminal of  European Coastal Airlines is diagonally opposite the big red ferry terminal.

After years of waiting for approval to allow seaplane service up and down the Croatian coast (there were seaplanes doing this decades ago but for some reason doing it in 2015 was a decision that no current government official seemed willing to make), European Coastal Airlines finally got its wings and now flies to Hvar, Pula, Korcula and Lastovo.

take off is smooth and fun as the engines rev the twin pontoons throw up spray as the plane gains speed and lifts off

Take off is smooth and fun as the engines rev, the twin pontoons throw up spray as the plane gains speed before lift off.  Landing is much softer on water too!

I had to go to the island of Korcula, which always requires an overnight since the ferry takes more than 3 hours from Split and the only one coming back is in the afternoon–so you’re left getting up at 5AM the next day to make the catamaran that leaves at 6AM.

ECA’s service goes to the island’s westernmost town, Vela Luka, on Korcula and then on to the pristine island of Lastovo just 5 minutes away.  They just began flying this route a month or so ago, so there aren’t a lot of passengers yet.  The twin-engined planes ECA uses can only carry a maximum of 19, so if you are planning to come during high season, book early!

The cockpit is open, allowing passengers to see the high tech displays and watch the pilots adjusting the speed and plating checkers--just kidding!

The cockpit is open, allowing passengers to see some high tech displays and watch the pilots adjusting the speed (it’s the overhead control the captain has his hand on) as well as playing checkers–just kidding!  Check the cellphone camera on the right–ALL the passengers were taking photos like we were kids!

Being able to take an 8AM flight there and return at 4PM is still something of a miracle.  But what made the trip even more special was the amazing level of customer service–not only do you get an automatic SMS about 90 minutes before you need to be there (only 30 minutes before the flight, have a coffee at the outdoor cafe, watch the cruise ships dock, get some sun!) but you get one 90 minutes before the return flight too!  Check-in was a breeze and the ECA crew made you feel like a friend of the family. The gal who checked me in didn’t have the right change, but since I was coming back with ECA, I gently said, “I can bring the exact amount when I return” and instead of having me strip-searched by security or taking my car as collateral, she said “oh, great, see you then!

At 100 meters of less, the view of the islands is spectacular....seeing all the roads built along the spines of hills and the ancient rock farming plots from above was endlessly fascinating

Flying at 1000 meters or less, the view of the islands is spectacular….like seeing the ribbon of small roads built along the spines of Brac and Hvar’s hilltops and the ancient stone-framed agricultural plots….endlessly fascinating!

The actual flying time is so short–15-20 minutes, it’s still hard to imagine that I left my apartment at 7:15, got to the waterfront terminal at 7:30 and was having coffee on Korcula a half hour later!

It sure was cool sitting on the left side of the plane as we landed in Split so I could see our apartment in Cascade, the cantilevered series of apartments that

It sure was cool sitting on the left side of the plane as we landed in Split so I could see our apartment in Cascade, the cantilevered series of apartments that “cascade” down Marjan Hill.

Flying on ECA was a wonderful adventure that I can’t wait to do again. The price this time of year is around 50E each way, a bargain! And on certain days/times of the year it can get even lower….

ECA only has 3 planes, so seeing 2 of them

ECA only has 3 planes, so seeing 2 of them “docked” at the same time was a kick. The first one on the dock was off to Pula. The other one was Korcula bound

To check their schedule or book a flight, just go to http://www.ec-air.eu.

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