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Condor experience - 1st and last…

Arrived SEA for our family flight to FRA. Each of us with a small carryon and under seat item. Straight to TSA for security - boarding passes wouldn’t scan - TSA said to their colleague « another Condor won’t scan » - TSA let us exit/re-enter to get new boarding passes. With nobody in line at the Condor business counter, we explained the problem. They wouldn’t help us and sent us to the economy line which wasn’t long. After 15 minutes wait, we were next in line. Since nobody was still in the business counter, they called us to go there. They then notified us that the combined weight of everything we were bringing on board - small carry-on, underseat item, neck pillow, etc couldn’t exceed 8 kg’s. 2 of our kids were 9 kg so they made us check them in. Everyone that we saw had the same issue. Small carryons but > 8 kg. No point trying to travel light and save the airline money. We could have each packed a free heavy suitcase. Instead, we were forced to check in very small handbags. Our total luggage weight for our six family members (every thing) was probably less than 54 kg. I suppose Condor is proud of their fuel consumption - next time we will just double our luggage and keep it simple. Jessica at the business counter was very unfriendly - got my wife angry which takes a very lot of effort to do!

Posted by
5137 posts

I'm sorry your experience was unpleasant. Did their website not specify the weight and size limits for carry on?

Posted by
3205 posts

Welcome to the forum. It is too bad your first post here has to be about your negative experience with Condor. But the 8kg total maximum for cabin baggage is clear in the website, and the agents were simply asking you to follow the rules. You said they were applying this to everyone so it’s not like they singled your family out for special treatment.

And I am sorry to read that one agent was unfriendly. Did your wife try to persuade her to bend the rules?

Posted by
5 posts

Just announced that they are not accepting print at home, smart phone, or Alaska Airlines supplied boarding passes at the gate. Huge line for more passes now and announcement that boarding is now delayed. Hoping the rest of their service will be ok. Not pleased to go to baggage claim in FRA just to pick up two 9 kg school backpacks from the kids but it’s fine - we are on vacation!

Posted by
5 posts

Not sure why they offer those typical boarding pass options if they don’t respect their validity though.

Posted by
1457 posts

I'm sorry you are having such a frustrating beginning to your trip. Unfortunately the budget airlines are notorious for strictly enforcing their baggage limits. I can't imagine what the lines will be like once the summer vacation season really gets rolling. FWIW, my experience with Condor last year was fine.

Posted by
8647 posts

Hopefully you are on your way to a great family vacation by now. In terms of flying from point A to point B, these were actually pretty small things, although I can understand why they seemed big to you at the time. You had planned for your journey to go one way, and the airline didn’t match those plans. That is always frustrating.

Posted by
7655 posts

What a rough start to the vacation. Reading about your experience gave me some questions:

Were the boarding passes not being accepted because of a fuzzy image or other physical defect, or was there a computer/data defect?

The first boarding passes wouldn’t scan for lots of passengers, but the replacements were OK? I wonder whether this is a regular situation, or just that one day?

Wow - Condor made you wait in line for 15 minutes before summoning you to the unoccupied window you’d been at 15 minutes earlier. It sounds like they should’ve opened up a special “Finally Get Useable Boarding Passes” just for all of you who didn’t get acceptable passes to begin with.

How much do the neck pillows weigh?

So Mom and Dad were inside the 8kg limit, but two the kids were just over … what did they pack that put them at 9kg? Surplus anything? Things that their siblings didn’t bring?

If this isn’t bringing up a bad subject, are you coming home on Condor, or another airline?!

Hope the rest of the trip goes better - happy travels!

Posted by
5 posts

Just concerns me for the future of travel and barriers to folks who have trouble navigating things - to check in from home we uploaded our passport photos as advised to save time - then we paid for assigned seats and « reserved » overhead bins - at SEA, TSA lines were listed as 3 minutes, but the lines listed as open were in fact closed, and staff redirected folks to the only checkpoint that was for general not TSA precheck/clear. We always arrive 3 hours early and it was a very slow travel day. I guess I feel nostalgic about the simplicity of my first flight to West Germany in 1985 for my 1st duty station. Took hovercraft France to England - forgot my passport in my car in Calais - said as much on arrival to the officer who said « are you a Yank? Come on in then… » Times change!

Posted by
5 posts

I think what put us over the weight were some last minute gifts for the family of a boy whose life I was privileged to participate in saving in Kosovo many years ago.

I thought the pass issue was a printed barcode code thing, but I am not sure that explains why they were not accepting smart phones or Alaska-printed codes. Maybe a software thing? High hopes for a good flight and ready to start fresh with Condor!

Posted by
3205 posts

SeaTac has been a mess lately with construction and narrowed spaces. And one TSA checkpoint closed too. So part of your problems were due to that, not Condor.

And it must have been frustrating to have to wait in line for the Economy Class agent when the Business Class desk had no one waiting, but think about that. You had Economy tickets and were trying to bypass everyone else waiting in the Economy line. The agent would not allow that, because instead they were taking Economy passengers from the front of their line when there were no Biz class pax waiting. When you got to the front of the Economy line the Biz Class agent did call you over. Doesn’t that seem fair?

And bless you for helping save that child’s life and bringing gifts to his family. But I am afraid the rules are the rules when it comes to weight and size limits for carry on bags. Can you imagine the chaos if every passenger who has similar good intentions tried to bring excess or overweight luggage aboard? And some agent has to make the call if it is worthy or not?

Posted by
16922 posts

I hope your flight was uneventful and the rest of your trip goes smoothly. But you should be prepared to find travel a bit more challenging than pre-pandemic. So many people flying, Not enough staff available to work, so many flights late or cancelled, trains crowded, and more.

We have flown to Europe 3 times since travel re-opened, and not one trip has gone smoothly. Our experience that was most similar to yours was at the Venice airport, flying British Airways, when we needed to check bags (because I carry hiking poles) and we waited in the check-in line for 40 minutes without moving. There was no one at the check-in desk, 2 hours ahead of the flight. We decided to skip checking bags, since we had our boarding passes on our phones, so re-packed everything into our carry-on size luggage. This meant discarding a number of items, including shoes, toiletries over the 100 ml limit, numerous gifts we planned to bring home, and my husband’s hiking poles (I chose to risk carrying them through security, and it worked).

Then we could not get past the entry gate turnstiles into security because our boarding passes would not scan. There was no staff person to assist. Finally one gate did open, and I went through, but my husband's boarding pass produced a message of “already used” and the turnstile would not open. Finally someone arrived to staff the help desk and he got through the security gate, but by now it was only 25 minutes before our scheduled flight departure. Fortunately our flight was delayed by an hour or more by Heathrow issues, so we were allowed to board. And once boarded, we all waiting another hour on the tarmac before takeoff. Just one of many examples of what can go wrong these days.

Our motto for travel is “be patient, be kind, and be flexible”. It is such a privilege to be able to board a plane here in Seattle and arrive safely 9 hours later in Europe, with all it has to offer; it is worth putting up with the glitches.

Posted by
3205 posts

Just saw you post about the announcement that they are not accepting print at home smart phone etc boarding passes. FWIW, we have never been able to board an international flight at SeaTac with a print at home, mobile or other self-issued boarding pass. In Europe, yes, but not at SeaTac. We always have to go to the checkin desk and show passports, no matter which airline. Even when the airline already has our passport details entered on the website.

Posted by
5428 posts

Our experience that was most similar to yours was at the Venice airport, flying British Airways, when we needed to check bags (because I carry hiking poles) and we waited in the check-in line for 40 minutes without moving. There was no one at the check-in desk, 2 hours ahead of the flight.

When flying intra Europe you'll find that non domestic airlines won't open check-in before two hours prior to departure. That's because they have to rent those check-in desks so they will only be staffed during the period required and as the recommended time to check-in for a short haul flight in Europe is two hours desks will only open two hours before departure.

Posted by
1081 posts

I have been lucky with discount airlines but I always weight my bags at home to make sure they don't exceed the limits of weight and size. 98% of the time I travel to Europe on Delta and have never had a problem with carry on luggage so the extra cost is worth it to me, besides their on time record is excellent which is just the opposite with airlines like Jet Blue.

Posted by
81 posts

I long since swore off flying on any of the "leisure" carriers. Sure you can get a low fare, but honestly there comes a point in life where cheaper isn't worth it (I do realize not everyone feels the same). All of my experiences with these tourist carriers (which are often seasonal) are pretty similar as they tend to be miserable cattle flights from the minute you get to the airport. Long lines, delays, baggage problems etc. Same with the US based Ultra Low Cost Carriers (ULCC) like Spirit and Frontier, and foreign carriers like Ryan, Fly, and others... life is just too short to be abused. Don't get me wrong the Majors are not a picnic, but for those of us who are frequent flyers they tend to be predictable and we know how to navigate them, where as the Seasonal and ULCC's never cease to find new ways to make you miserable. My motto is... Just say No...