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Condor Flugdienst review (Business Class)

We have seen a lot of questions about Condor recently, mainly concerned with negative reviews people have posted. I decided to see for myself what it was like to fly this budget airline, in business class. I was attracted to the direct Frankfurt to Seattle flight, and the cost for business class ($1188 per person, one way) was about what we pay to fly British Airways in business class with our miles- but without using any miles. Instead, we would earn miles in our Alaska Airlines plan.

The negative reviews I read mostly concerned customer service, mainly with connecting flights. Some people complained of surly flight attendants who only wanted to speak German. There was also the matter of the " angle flat" seats, not true "lie flat" that we get on British Airways. I had also read of confusion and long lines at check-in, security (an airport problem, not Condor specific), and boarding. I had also seen a review stating that from the lounge in Concourse C one had to pass through security again to reach the gate, and this could take a long time. So here is what we found.

We spent the night before our flight in Frankfurt, at the Intercontinental, which is within walking distance of the Bahnhof. Our room had a river view. In the morning we took the S-Bahn from the Hauptbahnhof to the airport, a 10-minute ride. From the time we left the S-Bahn to the time we found our way to the lounge in Concourse B, the total elapsed time was 40 minutes. That was for the walk through the terminal, finding the check-in counter ( a dedicated one for business class, with no line), security (including full pat-down for both of us), then walking to the lounge. So much for the horror stories about long lines and confusion.

We were advised at check-in that our flight was two hours late. I had been expecting this, as I monitored the flight over the previous three days, and found it always running late. Apparently there was a weather-related delay several days before, and they were still catching up. Our plane was coming to Frankfurt from Vancouver, which it left two hours late. Our boarding pass advised us to head to the gate (B60) an hour before the scheduled departure, so 3:30 in the afternoon. This meant we had five hours to pass in the lounge, but at least it was a comfortable place. Condor uses the Lufthansa business class lounges, and the one we used, near the B46 gate, was bright and spacious, uncrowded, and relatively quiet.

At 3:30 the gate was officially posted and we made our way there, only to find the reason for the one-hour arrival. It was not security, but a document check to enter the gate area. We saw some people pulled aside, presumably for the SSSS extra security check. We were allowed straight through, only to find a crowd around the gate. There was no dedicated line for business class ( boo-hoo), indeed no lines at all, just a crush. Turns out we needed to take a bus to the plane. But that went OK and soon we were walking up the steps into plane (I still love to do that).

The plane, a 767, seemed newly refurbished, as it was in excellent condition inside and out. We quickly settled into our seats and enjoyed a welcome beverage ( Sekt). From this point on, apartfrom the seats, the flight was not much different from our British Airways business class experience. The flight was smooth, the flight attendants were attentive and professional, the food was quite nice ( as good as BA biz class, anyway), the beverage service frequent. I cannot comment on the entertainment system as neither of us used it.

That leaves the seats. As this was a westbound daytime flight, we did not feel the need to sleep, although I did have a nap to pass the time. I first tried the "lie flat" mode, which lowers the backrest and also puts the footrest in a low position to fit in a little well underneath the seat in front. The result is a not-quite-flat bed that feels like it is on a slight slant downward. TBC

Posted by
54 posts

Glad to have this review, we're considering Condor for a trip next year. Do you think the experience was worth the bargain business class fare? It sounds as if it is.

Posted by
7991 posts

It sounded good until angle seats. I always feel like I am sliding onto the floor on them. However, not a problem on a daytime return flight. So far your review is better than I expected.

Posted by
13211 posts

There also seems to be a slight discontinuity between the seat and the seatback when in the full reclined position, a sort of ridge like the annoying crossbar in a sofabed, but not as hard.

I am trying to be as specific as possible about the seat, as many people feel the "angle flat" seats could be a deal-breaker. It was not for me, but I am one who can sleep almost anywhere. My husband, on the other hand, did not even try to sleep. But he found the seat comfortable enough for his bad back.

After my nap, I experimented with the seat, using the individual adjustment controls. I discovered a more comfortable position, reclining the seat back and then raising the footrest instead of extending it to slide into the well below the seat in front. This might only work for a small person like me (5'1") however.

Overall, I would give Condor a good rating and would not hesitate to fly them again if I needed to book a flight without using our BA miles. But remember this is a review of business class. For more insight, see this review by a pro:

I will also note that my son and his family flew Condor in Economy to Germany to join us on this trip. They booked with their Alaska miles. They had no issues and no complaints at all.

Posted by
5756 posts

Thanks for the first installment of your review, will look forward to the rest.

I'll just chime in with two references you made to the current procedures at FRA...we went through there a few weeks ago, on our way home from Warsaw (also in Business class, but in our case on United). Two things surprised me...

At most of the "choke points" we encountered in FRA (passport control, additional document checks), there were no lines, just mobs. This really surprised me, the lack of order and organization just seemed so un-Germanic and unexpected.

Also, for our outbound flight on United (which we were connecting to from Lufthansa), there was some additional required document check and a requirement to get a replacement boarding pass at the departure gate, but there was no evident indication that this was a requirement: everyone showed up with their boarding passes (required to get through security, so everyone already had one), but airline staff were milling around at the departure gate, occasionally approaching some (but not all) passengers and asking to see their boarding pass. Each passenger was then told to go get a new boarding pass from the gate staff. Everyone eventually got this message, but many did not get it until they went to board the flight - causing great confusion and constant backups. It was incredibly badly executed.

If, as it seemed, everyone now needs to discard their boarding pass that has already been issued to them upon check-in, and they need to swap that for another new (somehow better) boarding pass that's only issued at the gate, then fer cryin' outloud, put up a big sign telling everyone that that, and make regular announcements to that effect. Otherwise, half the passengers are not going to know that, and will be turned away when they go to board. Just having 3 or 4 staff members milling around near the gate randomly checking BPs and sending passengers to get those replaced is no way to run an airline. But it is a great way to cause chaos and delays (which we experienced).

Anyway, those boarding a flight in FRA might want to budget yet more time to do this boarding pass swap, and don't wait until you're denied boarding to do it. YMMV.

Posted by
8174 posts

Lola, you were here in Frankfurt? We could have had coffee.

Posted by
3493 posts

The replacement boarding pass seems to be a United thing when flying back from Europe. It has happened to me every time I flew with them, including one time where the replacement had the dreaded SSSS on it while the original did not.

United Frankfurt even asked the 3 security questions long after United in every other part of the world had stopped (along with every other airline). I was flying back from Frankfurt on a Lufthansa flight and United was using a gate right next to my flight. Each passenger boarding the United flight was asked the 3 questions. Their boarding started long before the Lufthansa flight and was still going on even after all of us were on the Lufthansa flight using their stampede process.