Featured image: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways

Condor’s New Business Class: Europe’s Best?

DALLAS — It’s almost impossible to find any similarities between the Condor Airlines (DE) of five years ago and the airline it is today. 

Since the collapse of its parent company, Thomas Cook Airlines, in September 2019, the German leisure carrier has undergone one of the most radical transformations in brand identity, commercial strategy, and inflight experience ever seen in the aviation industry.

The largest change happened in April 2022, when DE revealed a breaking new brand inspired by holiday items like umbrellas, beach towels, or ice cream shops, with one aspect in common: stripes. For two years, the Condor fleet has been switching looks to a fully striped interior and exterior of each airplane.

Also, with the arrival of the first Airbus A330neo, the company saw a great opportunity to introduce a new state-of-the-art interior design. This modern cabin now includes a new Business Class product that, by its look and promotion, could be a true candidate to directly compete with the best European premium airlines for much more affordable prices for the passenger. The real question is, will it be capable of succeeding in this battle?

Airways had the chance to review the carrier's Business Class product on the inaugural service between Frankfurt (FRA) and San Antonio (SAT), which allowed SAT to finally become the fourth airport in Texas to receive intercontinental flights from Europe.

You can perfectly tell you’re on a Condor flight, as the cabin walls, seat headrests, and even bathrooms are covered in stripes.

The A330neo’s New Cabin

Since the first delivery in December 2022, Condor has received up to 15 units of the new Airbus A330-900neo, flying as of May 2024. Three additional airplanes are still planned for delivery in the coming weeks.

Condor’s A330neo fleet wears three distinct livery designs, all covered in stripes from nose to tail in either blue (Sea), green (Island), or golden (Beach) shades of colors. The standard cabin configuration fits 310 total passengers across three classes: 30 seats in Business Class, 64 in Premium Economy, and 216 in Standard Economy Class.

In our case, the Business Class cabin follows a 1-2-1 layout, with direct aisle access for all seats. The first row is reserved for a special “Prime Seat” that offers a more exclusive experience and amenities and is not included in the general Business Class offer. This special seat must be selected and purchased separately for an extra fee.

If you want more privacy on your journey, choose an even-numbered seat in rows 2, 4, 6, and 8. Its design and position hide you from the passengers walking through the aisle.

If we look at practically any corner of the cabin, you can tell that you’re on a DE flight. The seat headrests, walls, amenity kit, cutlery, and even the bathroom are covered in stripes, representing the new identity of the leisure airline.

The front row in Business Class is reserved for the “Prime Seats,” which are much higher-priced and add a few extra amenities to your journey.

Seating on 7H

Let's check our seat a bit closer. 7H is one of the less private suits on board. Despite this, the disturbance from any exterior activities is too low to impact the experience. On the other hand, the marine blue color of the space, added to the white details, creates a very elegant and exclusive atmosphere not seen that often on board airplanes.

However, one significant flaw marked our journey from beginning to end: there was no dedicated storage compartment that could close and protect personal belongings in flight.

Next to you, and just above the power outlet group, you can find a limited compartment to store headphones, water, and the amenity kit. However, it is an open space that won’t prevent items from falling during turbulence, takeoff, and landing. It can also be an eyesore, keeping you from maintaining a well-looking and tidy suit during the flight.

The rest of the Business Class suite is excellent. As expected, the seat reclines into a full-flat bed, and a 24-inch screen with 4K resolution lets you enjoy a wide range of movies and TV shows. In addition, you’ll find a dedicated section of scenic landings at most Condor destinations worldwide, which genuinely wakes up the geekiness of any aviation enthusiast on board the flight.

The starter course of the lunch meal consisted of a selection of German roast beef with vegetables in different shapes and sizes. It was followed by a German, Thai, or Italian main course of choice.

A Good but Slow Catering Service

After departure, all Business Class passengers receive a menu with a small selection of meals available for the flight. After a hot towel service, the first snack and drinks, including an original Condor-branded lager beer, arrive at the table.

While you’re also given three different options for the lunch starter, the crew only allows choices for the main course. The service started with a selection of German roast beef, a salad, and fresh bread.

Afterward, we chose the main dish, German asparagus, accompanied by a pork medallion and potatoes. The other two options consisted of local Thai and Italian gastronomy meals. Lunch ended with a small piece of fruit cake, and passengers were also offered coffee or tea at the end.

Before arrival, a single-option dinner was served. This time, we enjoyed one course of German beef stew accompanied by Swabian egg noodles with salad. 

The overall quality of the catering was good and matched our expectations. However, the service lasted more than two hours, from hot towels to dessert. Almost one-quarter of the entire journey was dedicated to the lunch service.

The paper amenity kit in Business Class includes basic items such as a toothbrush, cosmetics, socks, eyeglasses, and earplugs, which the flight crew can request.

Condor’s Business Class, On Par with the Competition?

It is difficult to place your premium product above other airlines in a competitive transatlantic market. Knowing this, it is difficult to decide if Condor’s Business Class experience can stand out from the rest. Still, it is a very good product overall that can be a true candidate if some aspects are fixed in future interior and service updates.

The main virtues of DE's Business Class are seat comfort and inflight entertainment. Few airlines regularly freshen up their film offer, and the leisure airline seems to prioritize making recently launched films available for the customer inflight.

Also, featuring scenic landing videos is a detail that we have never seen before on similar airlines. It enormously helps promote the airline's exciting holiday route network, including special locations like the Maldives, Anchorage or San Antonio.

The main flaw is the lack of a closed storage compartment to help you organize your space during your journey. On selected flights, DE gifts business class passengers a small cooling bag branded as a “travel organizer,” but this is not the case on all routes.

In addition, reducing the catering service times can make the flight experience more enjoyable for the passenger and decrease the workload for the crew, who needs to carefully prepare all meals and drinks for up to 30 passengers seated in Business Class.

Suppose all the virtues are maintained, and all flaws are correctly fixed. In that case, we trust that Condor’s premium product will escalate to the position where it can easily compete with the best Business Class experiences offered by the competition on transatlantic flights from Europe to the United States.

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