TESTED BY Ramsey Qubein
PLANE TYPE 767-300ER
SEAT CONFIGURATION 2-2-2
SEAT PITCH 60 in
SEAT WIDTH 19 in
SEAT RECLINE 170 degrees
PRICE Roundtrip midweek fare starts at $2,050 plus tax
VERDICT: Condor surprises with its business class product and inflight service in all cabins that exceeds expectations. While not a household name in the US, the carrier serves 23 destinations across North America and is developing even greater presence thanks to a new partnership with Alaska Airlines.
CHECK-IN: Frankfurt airport is one of the busiest in Europe, so as expected, the experience can be frenzied. Fortunately Condor offers both online check-in and premium lanes at the airport. An important note for business travelers: If you’re originating in Frankfurt and you check in online, you still need to stop by the ticket counter for a lounge pass. Otherwise, the lounge staff will turn you away until you produce one. On connecting flights, there’s a workaround that allows lounge access with your inbound boarding pass.
BOARDING: Condor now uses both the B and C terminals at Frankfurt meaning its flights are interspersed with Lufthansa flights. This is especially helpful for travelers making connections both on Condor and its interline partners including Lufthansa. Boarding was pleasant; the first greeting included an offer of magazines and either water, juice or sparkling wine.
THE SEAT: Condor offers two business class products, one with 16-18 seats and another with 28-30 seats. The lie-flat seat is angled but unlike some angled seats, I didn’t really feel like I was sliding down in this one; the way it is positioned, you can cradle yourself comfortably in the hard-shell cocoon, insuring a solid night’s sleep (if you can pass up the impressive dining offer). Amenity kits feature the basics like eye shades and socks; in each direction of travel, the airline offers a different style of kit.
THE FLIGHT: Once at cruising altitude, menus were distributed showing off the multi-course service that Condor has become famous for. For starters guests are treated to welcome cocktails and nuts plus a refill before even the first tray makes an appearance offering three choices of appetizer and salad. The tray is dressed simply in a fine white linen and meals are served atop chargers in true restaurant style. I loved the nori salmon fillet served on fennel and apple slaw.
But that was just one of the appetizers. The restaurant-like experience continued with the main course. Mine was ravioli stuffed with ricotta and red pesto served piping hot. There were other options too, like Brazilian grouper with curry cream sauce and ripe artichokes. German breads added to the European flavors. The cheese and fruit carts offered regional cheeses or sweet treat desserts and after-dinner coffee and tea service comes with cordials. Prior to landing, a cart rolled out once again dishing up hot vegetable soup and salad, which was a perfect punctuation to the meal service.
Entertainment options included a variety of premium entertainment with the a selection of movies and TV shows. It’s complimentary in business class and premium economy, and those in economy class can pay a small fee to unlock the entertainment content on their screens.
ARRIVAL: Following the second service, the flight touched down in Minneapolis/St. Paul (one of the airline’s especially popular destinations among business travelers). With such a small business class cabin, I was off the plane and through immigration in less than 20 minutes.
By Ramsey Qubein
Ramsey is a regular contributor to Business Traveler across all print, digital, web and social channels. He travels more than 400,000 miles a year criss-crossing the globe to report on hotels, airlines, loyalty programs, and all things travel.