Condor inaugural San Diego arrival – Photo: San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
Recently, I had the opportunity to take my first ever inaugural flight. Condor inaugurated twice-weekly service nonstopÂ from Frankfurt to San Diego and they were kind enough to allow me to tag along. This was a special trip for me, as I rarely get the opportunity to fly internationally in anything but economy class, as more opulent flying is typically not in my budget.
Condor inaugural San Diego arrival
Inaugural celebration – Photos: San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
Condor inaugural San Diego arrival
Not only was this a big deal for me, but this new connection to Europe is a big deal for the city of San Diego and the 3 million plus people in the metropolitan area. With the new flight, Condor becomes just the second nonstopÂ connection to Europe, and first by a leisure airline.Â
My ride to Newark — the first Boeing 747-8I (D-ABYA) to enter service commercially. Seen here from ground level!
I have been lucky enough to fly a few different airlinesÂ in first class. I am referring though to international first class here, not domestic â€œfirst class.â€Â An airline that I have beenÂ obsessedÂ to fly in first class is Lufthansa.
My flight on Lufthansa would be twoÂ firsts for me: flying their first class and being a passenger on the updated Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. Having one first is normally exciting enough as it is, but two? Yes… one could say that I was excited!
Lufthansa first class seats 1A & 1K, in the nose of a 747. Can’t get any far farther into the pointy end than this.
The benefit of departing Frankfurt with a first class ticket starts when one arrives at the airport. I was given access to theirÂ first class terminal, which was amazing.Â Â When it was time to board my flight, I was driven in aÂ Mercedes Vito vanÂ thatÂ took me on a quick ride across the tarmac to myÂ gate in the A/Z concourse.
Riding along at ground level and looking up at gate after gate of 747s is pretty special. Â When we pulled up toÂ our gate, the very first 747-8I (D-ABYA) was looming above me. Â Being able to step out onto the ramp and snap a photo is nice. Â Being ushered all the way up to the aircraft by our driver is even better. Â Even though boarding was already underway when we arrived, ourÂ driver created a hole in the crowd and had us at the front in mere moments. Â Now THAT is service.
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). Â 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 ofÂ Seattle.
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. Â Generally, I end up on flights departing first-thing in the morning or late in the evening. Â So having most of the day to relax, make final packing arrangements, and spend time with my wife was a good thing. Â The bad partÂ is being prime timeÂ for international departures out of Seattle. Â This meant that while the line for check-in withÂ Condor was short, even with priority access, security would beÂ an absolute mess.
The Condor 767 crew trainer located in Frankfurt
No matter the size of an airline, they need to provide safety training for their flight attendants. There will be training provided to new hires, as well as reoccurring training for current employees.
It is an important part of making sure an airline operates safely and the more realistic of a training that an airline can provide, the better prepared their flight attendants are going to be to react to an emergency scenario.
Condor’s headquarters is located next to FRA
Recently, I had the chance to get an up-close look at how Condor Airlines manages their flight attendant training at their headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. I was a bit surprised with some of the things that I learned and how hands-on I was able to get.
Condor Boeing 767-300ER being worked on in their maintenance facility
With Condor Airlines being a smaller, low-cost carrier, it is not a huge surprise that their on-site maintenance facility at Frankfurt Airport (FRA)Â is quite small (well, in comparison to others like Lufthansa Technik).
Just because the hangar might not have the volume of other locations, it is a place where the job gets done. Ensuring that aircraft are checked and safe is no easy task, but a very important one.
Condor’s facility at FRAÂ is able to work on one Boeing 767 at a time — and they only work on their 767s and 757s there. Condor sublets out the work done on their Airbus aircraft at other facilities around Europe.