Editors’ note: Condor provided TPG with a free one-way business-class ticket for the inaugural Airbus A330neo flight. All opinions expressed here are of the author alone and were not subject to review by Condor.
The airline that wears the colorful stripes is busy reinventing itself in a very exciting way.
German leisure carrier Condor, perhaps best known for its new iconic livery, recently embarked on a long-haul fleet renewal that includes replacing its aging Boeing 767 aircraft with 18 factory-fresh Airbus A330-900neos.
These modern, fuel-efficient jets don’t just wear the airline’s new look on the outside, but they also feature brand-new cabins on the inside.
Though the biggest upgrade is in the pointy end of the plane — trust me, I just flew and reviewed the business-class cabin on the inaugural U.S. flight — those sitting in premium economy and economy are also in for some flyer-friendly improvements. During my trip from Frankfurt to New York, I had the opportunity to tour the jet before the flight departed, and I was impressed with what I saw.
If you’ve never heard of Condor before, well, you might start seeing the airline’s A330neos flying to a U.S. city near you. The airline flew from Frankfurt to 16 North American destinations last summer, including Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco; many are on the docket to resume this year. The airline’s year-round North American destinations include Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Toronto. With round-trip economy fares to Europe for as low as $400, you’ll definitely want to give Condor a deeper look.
Plus, Condor’s partnerships with Alaska Airlines, JetBlue and Lufthansa (among others) let you purchase connecting itineraries from multiple domestic cities to destinations throughout Europe. You can even redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles for Condor flights.
So, if you’re considering traveling with Condor, here’s what you can expect if you’re flying “in the back” of the airline’s new flagship jet.
Premium economy on Condor’s Airbus A330-900neo
Condor’s Airbus A330neo features two large economy cabins, with a 64-seat premium economy section in the first eight rows just behind the second set of exit doors.
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Most major airlines consider premium economy an entirely separate cabin, with a bulkhead wall partitioning these spacious recliners from the standard coach section.
Condor has a different strategy. Its premium economy seats blend into the larger coach cabin without any partitions or bulkheads; the seats themselves aren’t any wider than those in economy.
What you will enjoy with these seats is additional recline and greater pitch, measuring 12 degrees and 35 inches, respectively.
It’s easy to tell these seats apart from the rest of the cabin: They all feature striped headrest covers, whereas the standard economy covers aren’t striped.
Speaking of stripes, I love the design motifs that Condor chose for its new cabins. The striped branding elements all over the aircraft blend perfectly with the dark blue seats. Also, the airline’s circular logo that’s emblazoned in gold on the galley walls gives off a luxurious vibe.
Instead of just going with some cookie-cutter, off-the-shelf cabin, Condor invested in making its jets appear flyer-friendly — something that many other airlines, including the world’s largest, seemingly forget about when designing new cabins.
All of the premium economy seats, except for those in the bulkhead, feature retractable footrests. Unfortunately, there are no leg rests or calf rests here.
Though it’s missing a footrest, I’d say that the bulkhead could still be a great place to sit. The bulkhead rows 10 and 11 feature nearly unlimited legroom. They also have universal power outlets underneath each seat.
Meanwhile, the remaining premium economy seats have USB-A and USB-C charging ports underneath the seat-back TV. You won’t find a traditional outlet under each seat, though.
One downside to the bulkhead is that the entertainment system pops out from the armrest, and it can’t be used during taxi, takeoff and landing.
Otherwise, the rest of the premium economy seats are essentially created equally — except for row 15 that’s missing windows.
In terms of amenities, all premium economy passengers enjoy a large plush pillow and standard-size blanket.
All premium economy seats sport 13.3-inch 4K entertainment touchscreens, loaded with more than 250 movies and TV shows. Though the screens are incredibly crisp, the glossy finish on the TVs translates into lots of glare when the cabin is bright.
Premium economy seats feature bi-fold tray tables, as well as a small tablet and phone stand that you can release from just underneath the seat-back TV.
It’s worth noting that there aren’t any personal air nozzles on the Condor A330neo.
There are two lavatories located in the mid-cabin between premium economy and coach. I’d recommend using the one on the port side of the plane since it’s oversized and has more room to move around.
Other amenities included with a premium economy ticket include a “premium” meal, free alcoholic drinks, a larger carry-on and checked baggage allowance, and even priority check-in, security and boarding.
While Condor’s premium economy cabin may not be as private, spacious or exclusive as you’d find on some of its European rivals, you certainly can’t beat the price. I’ve seen one-way premium economy fares start at just $219 each way — often cheaper than the basic economy fares you’d find with other airlines. Plus, Condor offers one-way fares that are usually half the price of a round-trip ticket, something you don’t typically find on long-haul routes.
All in all, I’d say that upgrading to Condor’s premium economy cabin should be a no-brainer for anyone looking for a few more perks and additional comfort without breaking the bank.
Economy on Condor’s Airbus A330-900neo
The remaining 216 Haeco-designed seats are in an economy configuration. Condor has its roots as a no-frills carrier, so it’s likely no surprise that the airline’s large and somewhat tight coach cabin reflects that.
While the 2-4-2 arrangement in economy isn’t all that uncomfortable — in fact, that’s exactly how Delta Air Lines configures the main cabin on its A330neos — the big difference is the pitch. Whereas Delta offers between 31 and 33 inches of pitch in the main cabin, Condor’s economy seats feature just 30 inches. This would definitely make for a tight ride on some of the airline’s longest missions, including the 11-hour flight from Frankfurt to Seattle.
Each economy seat sports eight and a half degrees of recline.
The spacious bulkhead and exit row seats are marketed as “XL Seats,” which you can select for an additional $115 fee on long-haul flights. If you’re after more legroom, I’d recommend upgrading to premium economy, instead of purchasing an extra-legroom coach seat.
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Bulkhead seats in economy are marked “XL.” ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY
Like premium economy, each coach seat is outfitted with a 13.3-inch 4K TV monitor. All content is free and accessible with the touch of a finger.
Additionally, every TV on the plane supports Bluetooth connectivity, so you can pair your own wireless headphones, including all models of Apple AirPods.
USB-A and USB-C charging ports, standard-sized bi-fold tray tables and small tablet stands are available at each seat.
I especially appreciate the seat-back pocket design that Condor installed: It features a specifically dedicated water bottle storage pocket, which should come in handy when trying to stay hydrated.
Due to the curvature of the plane, the last six rows are in a 2-3-2 configuration. The seats aren’t any wider, but this could be a great place to sit if you’re traveling as a group of three.
Condor’s A330neos feature Wi-Fi powered by Inmarsat with three packages available for purchase.
While there are no data caps, the basic and premium packages had a two-hour and four-hour time limit, respectively. At 20 euros for every four hours, staying connected could cost a pretty penny during some of the longest Condor flights.
Download and upload speeds for the Inmarsat satellite Internet service measured a measly 0.30 Mbps and 0.02 Mbps, respectively. The internet service was strong enough to stay connected to messaging, but more data-intensive tasks repeatedly kept timing out.
All told, there are no two ways about it — flying in economy on Condor won’t be the most comfortable, but at least you’ll get a good bang for your buck. With round-trip fares starting at about $400 from the U.S. to Europe, flying on Condor could be one of the most economical ways to cross the pond. (Just note that the cheapest fares don’t include standard-size carry-on or checked bags or advanced seat assignments. They do include free meals and non-alcoholic drinks.)
Plus, you’ll be seated in a brand-new economy cabin that features all the 21st-century technology that you’d expect these days: a crisp TV, Bluetooth support, next-generation USB chargers and speedy Wi-Fi.
With brand-new planes flying around in an iconic color scheme, it’ll be hard to miss Condor’s new Airbuses.
While the stripes and bold colors might be controversial to some, everyone will likely agree that the new cabins are a massive improvement compared to what Condor used to offer on its aging 767s.
These planes are the first in Condor’s fleet to feature a premium economy cabin. Not only are the seats more spacious and offer generous recline, but they also come at a modest upcharge over sitting in the standard coach cabin.
If you are looking for the most economical way to fly, at least Condor’s economy cabin features many modern conveniences that you may not necessarily expect from a no-frills carrier, including large TVs, free entertainment and USB charging ports.
All of that combined with round-trip fares from the U.S. to Europe starting at just about $400, and it’s time to give Condor another look.