My Ride to Frankfurt - A Condor 767-300ER (D-ABUB)

My ride to Frankfurt, a Condor 767-300ER (reg: D-ABUB)

I recently decided to take a trip over to Frankfurt for a few days and, thankfully, I was able to take it in Premium Economy.

This was going to be my first flight with Condor, and also my first taste of a long-haul leisure carrier (think low-cost, but to vacation destinations).  I was flying on their non-stop service from Seattle to Frankfurt. Adding to the number of firsts for me were also a new airport (Frankfurt) and my first time flying internationally out of Seattle.

The Premium Economy section in Condor's 767

The Premium Economy section in Condor’s 767

The flight was scheduled to depart mid-afternoon, which for me felt a little bit different than normal.  Generally, I end up on flights departing first-thing in the morning or late in the evening.  So having most of the day to relax, make final packing arrangements, and spend time with my wife was a good thing.  The bad part is being prime time for international departures out of Seattle.  This meant that while the line for check-in with Condor was short, even with priority access, security would be an absolute mess.

Pillow for the Premium Economy passengers

Pillow for the Premium Economy passengers

Even though I did not have to wait long, my check in experience was decidedly below par.  In Seattle, Condor uses Swissport for their ground services, which makes sense since they only operate four flights per week, for only half the year.  At the moment in Seattle, all of the ground operators are ramping (pun intended) up the hiring for summer and, unfortunately, I just happened to get someone on their first day.

BONUS: Flying Condor Business Class to Frankfurt

This meant that while she was able to get me checked in, she was nervous, took her time (understandably), and did not fulfill the requirements of letting me know where to go, when, etc.  Being an AvGeek, I already knew what gate and time, however, had I been an infrequent traveler I would have been out of luck.

A special AN-124 guest as we departed Seattle

A special AN-124 guest as we departed Seattle – Photo: Mal Muir

Especially problematic was the situation around the gate area.  Many wide-body flights generally depart from the South Satellite. Around the time of my flight, there were wide-bodies at every gate, all departing within 90 minutes.  This meant utter confusion and bedlam throughout the concourse.

This is obviously not something that Condor has control over, but it certainly doesn’t add to the experience.  Boarding was a mass of confusion, with a lot of infrequent travelers, but once I was on the plane, things settled in quickly and easily.

A Nice big Hi Def Screen at every seat back sure does make the journey go quickly.  Add in the single headphone jack and USB port for power.

A nice big HD screen at every seat back sure does make the journey go quickly

Condor uses 767s as their long-haul aircraft of choice, and in the back there is a 2-3-2 set up.  The seat used for Premium and Economy is exactly the same (albeit with a slightly different color) as those in standard economy.  The biggest difference was the legroom — with a solid 36 inches of pitch. This is the same that Alaska has for their First Class product onboard their 737s, so I thought that I could handle it for 10 hours.

The Zodiac seat was slim-line and and came with an in-flight entertainment (IFE) screen at each seat.  The screen is high-def and comes with a USB port and headphone jack on the front.  Because the screen is a touch screen, there were no separate controllers, meaning passengers have more room on their armrests.

The view of Mount Rainier after taking off from Seattle

The view of Mount Rainier after taking off from Seattle

IFE access is included with a premium ticket, so you don’t need to pay for it onboard.  In economy, you would have only one movie and one TV show for free; after that it would be eight Euro for unlimited access.  Pretty cheap considering a 10-hour flight.

Because of some credit card issues, the IFE was free for the entire flight. The system was quick and easy to deal with and the map display (what I had on most of the time) worked quite well.

We left Seattle a little bit late, but we had a fantastic view of Lake Washington and Mt. Rainier as we climbed out.  We settled on a course that was a little bit unusual, as it took us more over Eastern Washington and the midwest and crossed into Canada around Winnipeg, leaving North America just north of St John’s Newfoundland.

The Condor Premium Economy amenity kit doubles as a Food Safe Lunchbox!

The Condor Premium Economy amenity kit doubles as a Food Safe Lunchbox!

Once we got up to cruising altitude, the crew began their first service of the flight.  In Premium Economy, there was a separate drink service with a snack mix provided, and then soon after, our meal service.  I took this opportunity to check out the amenity kit that was provided in Premium (along with a pillow and blanket).

The kit was basic, with socks and an eye mask, along with a toothbrush/toothpaste.  The good thing about the kit was it came in a small hard plastic box, one that could be used as a lunchbox (it even said so inside).

The Premium Meal served to me just after leaving Seattle.  The Full Size Kit Kat was the sure fire winner here.

The meal served to me just after leaving Seattle. The full-size Kit Kat was the sure-fire winner here.

The smell of warm food began to fill the cabin.  Premium Economy guests get what Condor calls “Premium Menus.”  The meal choices were beef or pasta, and I went with beef.  The meal looked like any other standard economy offering, so I was a little confused as to the “premium” nature of it.  However, the full-size Kit Kat sure did look good to me.

I stashed that and some of the German brown bread (I believe it was pumpernickel) for later on during the flight. Although the “premium” part might not have looked it, the food did taste better than average.

A Nice Light European Style Breakfast.  It hit the spot!

A nice light European-style breakfast. It hit the spot!

The flight was non-eventful; no real turbulence at all, crew came through at times giving out water bottles (which I stashed away – they would thankfully come in handy once I landed in Frankfurt) and my seatmate was an older woman who kept to herself.

I do not sleep during flights, so I kept myself entertained with mostly my own devices and about two hours out of Frankfurt, the cabin began the wake-up process for the other passengers.  We were due to cross over to continental Europe right around Amsterdam, but first we were fed again.

We started with a hot towel service, something special for Premium Economy.  Breakfast was a European-style meal with a yogurt, fruit, cold cuts, cheese, and a warm pastry.  This kind of meal hits the spot, as it is both a light and filling way to hit the ground running.  Since were were scheduled to arrive at about 10:30am, it would be important to have that energy to start the day.

A lovely view of Downtown Frankfurt and the River Main on approach to Frankfurt Airport

A lovely view of downtown Frankfurt and the river Main on approach to Frankfurt Airport

Meal trays were cleared away, and funnily enough, the credit card system had been fixed, just in time for Duty Free sales.  The crew got everyone sorted and the cabin was all cleaned up and ready for arrival into Frankfurt.

You have got to Love a good bus gate.  My Ride from Seattle sitting on the ramp at Frankfurt Airport.  We had to deboard from the rear, not that great when you are up the front.

I love a good bus gate – we had to deboard from the rear, not that great when you are up front

After a long taxi around the airport and parking at a stand at the B Terminal, we were bused over to immigration (and what AvGeek doesn’t like a bus gate when it means you get the chance to see an A350 two gates down from yours?).

BONUS: A Tour of Condor Flight Operations in Frankfurt

My flight with Condor was a pleasant experience and I appreciated the upgrades that came with the Premium Economy ticket.  Many times, the price difference between the two classes can be quite minimal, and considering the extra benefits that come with it (like the extra legroom, luggage allowances, meals, entertainment) it quickly becomes worth it. Then when comparing the Premium Economy ticket to some of Condor’s competitors, the deal even becomes more evident.

I enjoyed my short-time in Frankfurt and on my way back to Seattle, I decided to do something a bit different; First Class on a Lufthansa Boeing 747-8I. That story will be shared soon.

CORRESPONDENT - SEATTLE, WA. Mal is an Australian native who has been a huge fan of airlines and aviation and currently works in airport-related operations. Email: [email protected]

http://www.airlinereporter.com
Doing My Thing: Flying to Washington DC for His Excellency and Fusion Chinese Food
13 Comments

Good article. Flying P/E on Lufthansa in October LA to Munich A-340-600. It will be interesting to size it up.

I am sure it will be much better than Condor but the airlines are totally different

James Burke

I would have though the flight path would have been more northerly over Canada – like exiting North America over Baffin Island.
Your pic of Mt Ranier is shows the best part of flying in/out of SEA!
Any music on the IFE – and would your have to pay for it?

James, the views of Mt Rainier were awesome that day. Condor is a leisure carrier so economy does pay for some things (like IFE) however all Premium Economy guests get it for free. On my flight the credit card system was “broken” meaning no IFE or snacks could be purchased. So they comped everyone for the entire flight.

Leticia

Nope. Lufthansa A340 is not as good as Condor. I flew FRA- NYC with Lufthansa A340 and it was disappointing. The entertainment system was crap. I would recommend Condor to you. They have a awesome service!

I love Condor, but no question, on the right aircraft, Lufthansa will likely give you a better product — they also cost more. But the A340s are not that impressive, getting on the 747-8I is a whole other story!

David | AirlineReporter

Thanks for your report. A have a question though. When you say “36 inches of pitch” you mean from the back of your seat to the seat in front of you? Also: how tall are you? (if this is not too much to ask). I’m trying to figure out if Premium Economy would be a good deal from me (I’m 6ft tall). Thank you in advance.

Can you comment on the width of the seats? Thanks for you review!

Anahi Vale

Their customer service both via email and on the phone is terrible. We tried to book the extras for our flight, which should have been included in the original reservation as I selected them when doing it, but they were not and I have had lots of issues with their website and customer service center. There was no way to book them and no one offered us a solution they always blamed the IT department said that they would contact the IT department to fix it and that I should call the next week. Well we send more than 8 emails, called every week for 2 months and always got the same answer, “There is nothing we can do, please call next week.” or via email “Unfortunately the seat assignment is not possible due to an technical error in our booking system. As my colleagues write you already before, we forwarded it to the IT department and we kindly please you to understand our technical error.” Instead of them offering solutions to use we tried offering solutions like hold the seats for us and we will pay in the airport but this was not possible. We asked to talk to a supervisor but again this was not possible because they apparently can’t solve anything. In conclusion this company has a customer service department that can’t offer any customer service at all.

I am very displeased with all of these issues, all of which are the result of the website not working correctly the first time round and a totally incompetent costumer service department. I have spent precious time writing e-mails, trying to book on their website and making calls to solve the problem all to no avail. I really needed to confirm my seat and meal plan as I am pregnant and need to be seated in a specific place but this was not important to them either.

I was really excited to find an airline flying almost direct from England to San Juan, Puerto Rico and was going to recommend it to all of our family and friends from England and Germany coming to visit but this has just left a very bad impression.

Retired Traveler

Lousy seat width on Condor. I would want more for a “Premium Economy” ticket.
https://www.seatguru.com/charts/premium_economy.php

I am a longtime flyer between Las Vegas and London via Virgin Atlantic in their Premium Economy. We start most vacations that way for the convenience of nonstop service into Europe. And I love the service on VA. But I think your article has convinced me to try the nonstop Las Vegas to Frankfurt on Condor in their PE. It’s cheaper than VA and I’m willing to give it a shot.

Flying to Amsterdam, layover in Frankfurt for two hours… three people, including a 9 year old girl, Premium class, where would you recommend us sitting?? never gone overseas so we are new at all this. thanks for any info 😀

Rebekkah

I loved your food and the plane. i still have the condor toys you gave me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *