Editor's Note: Condor provided TPG with a free one-way business class ticket for the first Airbus A330neo flight. All opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the author and are not subject to review by Condor.
The airline that wears the colorful stripes is busy reinventing itself in a very exciting way.
The German Condor recreational vehicle, perhaps best known for itsiconic new color, recently began a renewal of its long-distance fleet which, among other things,replacing your old Boeing 767 aircraftwith 18 factory frescoesAirbus A330-900neo.
These modern, fuel-efficient aircraft not only sport the airline's new look on the outside, but also feature completely new cabins on the inside.
Although the biggest improvement is in the pointy end of the plane...Trust me, I just flew in and checked out the business class cabin on the first American flight.— those traveling in premium economy and economy class will also receive some traveler enhancements. During my trip from Frankfurt to New York, I had the chance to tour the plane before the flight departed and I was impressed with what I saw.
If you've never heard of Condor before, you might start seeing the airline's A330neos fly to a nearby American city. The airline flew last summer from Frankfurt to 16 North American destinations, including Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco; many are on track to resume this year. The airline's year-round North American destinations include Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Toronto. With cheap round-trip fares to Europe starting as low as $400, you'll definitely want to give Condor a closer look.
Additionally, Condor's partnerships with Alaska Airlines, JetBlue and Lufthansa (among others) allow you to purchase connecting flights from multiple domestic cities to destinations across Europe. You can even redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles for Condor flights.
So if you're thinking of traveling with Condor, here's what to expect if you're flying "on the back" of the airline's new flagship plane.
Premium economy on Condor's Airbus A330-900neo
Condor's Airbus A330neo has two large economy cabins with a 64-seat premium economy section in the first eight rows, just behind the second set of departure doors.
Rewarding read in less than 5 minutes
Join over 700,000 readers for the latest news, in-depth guides, and exclusive offers from TPG experts.
Most major airlines consider premium economy to be a completely separate cabin, with a wall separating these roomy recliners from the standard economy section.
Condor has a different strategy. Its premium economy seats fit in the largest cabin with no partitions or bulkheads; The seats themselves are no wider than the economy seats.
What you'll enjoy with these seats is extra recline and more recline, measuring 12 degrees and 35 inches, respectively.
It's easy to distinguish these seats from the rest of the cabin: they all have striped headrest covers, while the standard economy seats have no stripes.
Speaking of stripes, I love the design motifs Condor chose for their new cabins. The brand's striped elements throughout the aircraft perfectly match the dark blue seats. The airline's circular logo, embellished in gold on the kitchen walls, also provides an atmosphere of luxury.
Instead of just taking a standard cabin and out of the box, Condor invested in making its planes look like they are traveler-friendly, something many other airlines, including the world's largest, seem to forget when designing new cabins.
All premium economy seats, except those in the bulkhead, have retractable footrests. Unfortunately, there are no leg or calf supports here.
Although it lacks a footrest, I would say that the bulkhead could still be a good place to sit. Shoe rows 10 and 11 have almost unlimited legroom. They also have universal power outlets under each seat.
Meanwhile, the remaining premium economy seats have USB-A and USB-C charging ports under the seatback TV. However, you won't find a traditional socket under every seat.
One disadvantage of the bulkhead is that the entertainment system comes out of the armrest and cannot be used during taxi, takeoff and landing.
Otherwise, the rest of the premium economy seats are essentially the same, except for row 15, which is windowless.
In terms of amenities, all premium economy class passengers enjoy a large plush pillow and standard size blanket.
All premium economy seats feature 13.3-inch 4K entertainment touchscreens loaded with over 250 movies and TV shows. Although the screens are incredibly sharp, the TV's glossy finish translates to a lot of brightness when the cabin is lit.
The premium economy seats have fold-out tray tables, as well as a small tablet and phone holder, which you can drop just below the seat-back TV.
It is worth noting that the Condor A330neo does not have personal air nozzles.
There are two toilets located in the intermediate cabin between premium economy and economy class. I would recommend using it on the port side of the plane as it is a great size and has more room to move.
Other services included with a premium economy ticket include a "premium" meal, free alcoholic beverages, an increased number of carry-on and checked bags, and even priority check-in, security, and boarding.
While the Condor's premium economy cabin may not be as private, spacious or exclusive as you'd find in some of its European rivals, it certainly doesn't beat the price. I've seen one-way premium economy fares as low as $219 each way, often cheaper than the basic economy fares you'd find on other airlines. In addition, Condor offers one-way fares that are typically half the price of a round-trip ticket, something not often found on long-distance routes.
All things considered, I'd say upgrading to Condor's premium economy cabin should be a hassle-free cabin for anyone looking for a few extra perks and added comfort without breaking the bank.
Economy in Condor's Airbus A330-900neo
The remaining 216 Haeco-designed seats are in economy configuration. Condor has its roots as a no-frills airline, so it's probably no surprise that the airline's large and somewhat stark cabin reflects that.
While the 2-4-2 layout in economy isn't all that awkward (in fact, that's exactly how Delta Air Lines configures the main cabin of its A330neos), the big difference is the tone. While Delta offers between 31 and 33 inches of headroom in the main cabin, the Condor's economy seats only have 30 inches. This would certainly make travel tricky on some of the airline's longer missions, including the 11-hour flight from Frankfurt to Seattle.
Each economy seat has eight and a half degrees of recline.
The spacious bulkhead and exit seats are marketed as "XL seats", which you can select for an additional fee of $115 on long-haul flights. If you're looking for more legroom, I'd recommend upgrading to a premium economy rather than buying an economy class seat with extra legroom.
Economy class bulkhead seats are marked "XL". ZACH GRIFF/THE POINT
Like the premium economy class, each economy seat is equipped with a 13.3-inch 4K TV screen. All content is free and accessible at the touch of a finger.
Plus, all TVs on the plane support Bluetooth connectivity, so you can pair your own wireless headphones, including all models of Apple AirPods.
USB-A and USB-C charging ports, full-size folding tray tables and small tablet holders are available at each seat.
I particularly appreciate the design of the seatback pocket that Condor installed: it has a dedicated pocket for storing water bottles, which should come in handy when you're trying to stay hydrated.
Due to the curvature of the plane, the last six rows are in a 2-3-2 configuration. The seats are not wider, but this could be a good place to sit if you are traveling in a group of three.
Condor's A330neos have Wi-Fi powered by Inmarsat with three packages available for purchase.
Although there are no data caps, the basic and premium packages had a time limit of two hours and four hours respectively. At €20 every four hours, it can cost quite a bit of money to stay connected during some of Condor's longer flights.
Download and upload speeds for Inmarsat's satellite internet service measured a paltry 0.30 Mbps and 0.02 Mbps, respectively. Internet service was powerful enough to stay connected to send messages, but more data-intensive tasks would time out repeatedly.
In short, there is no doubt: flying in economy class in Condor will not be the most comfortable, but at least you will get the most out of your investment. With round-trip fares starting at around $400 from the US to Europe, flying Condor might be one of the cheapest ways to cross the pond. (Just keep in mind that the cheapest fares do not include standard-size carry-on or checked bags or advanced seat assignments. They include free meals and non-alcoholic beverages.)
Plus, you'll be seated in an all-new economy cabin that has all the 21st-century technology you'd expect today: a crystal-clear TV, Bluetooth compatibility, next-generation USB chargers, and Wi-Fi.
With all-new aircraft flying in an iconic color combination, it will be hard to miss Condor's new Airbus.
While the bold stripes and colors may be controversial to some, everyone would likely agree that the new cabins are a huge improvement over what Condor used to offer on its old 767s.
These aircraft are the first in Condor's fleet to feature a premium economy cabin. The seats are not only roomier and offer a generous recline, but are also modestly priced compared to sitting in the standard economy cabin.
If you're looking for the cheapest way to fly, Condor's economy cabin at least has plenty of modern conveniences you wouldn't necessarily expect from a no-frills airline, including large TVs, free entertainment, and USB charging ports.
All of this, combined with round-trip prices from the US to Europe starting at only around $400, it's time to give the Condor a new look.
- When is the best time to book flights and get the cheapest airfare?
- The best airline credit cards.
- What exactly are airline miles?
- 6 real strategies you can use when your flight is canceled or delayed
- Maximize your airfare: the best credit cards to book flights
- The best credit cards to achieve elite status
- How much are points and miles worth? TPG Monthly Valuations
Editorial Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.