Flying To Europe With Condor Airlines: 5 Things You Should Know

condor airlines

When I first started planning my 2016 trip to Germany sponsored by Germany Tourism, I admit that I didn’t know a lot about Condor Airlines. I knew that they flew from Baltimore-Washington International Airport and that they were German and that’s about it. As an amateur airline geek though, I’m always eager to fly with airlines new to me, learning more about them in the process and it’s with that in mind that I was excited for my first flight experience with Condor. But since I didn’t know anything about them, I’m willing to bet that I’m not alone in that level of aviation ignorance so I thought I’d take a moment to introduce you all to the airline, explain who they are, what they provide and why they’re a great choice if you’re traveling to Europe. It’s rare to be able to introduce an airline that may be unknown to many people, so bear with me as I go back to basics for this post.

What is Condor Airlines?

I think we need to start with their history since many folks may not be familiar with this leisure airline. First of all, what is a leisure airline you ask? Well, it just as it sounds, it’s a tourism airline that exists to fly folks off to vacation destinations around the world. Although the airline originally started as an independent company, and then later acquired by Lufthansa, today it is actually part of the global travel company Thomas Cook. That means that Condor offers flights to destinations around the world, and for my fellow North Americans this means a fantastic alternative to not only reach Europe, but also connect to many other destinations around the planet.

A few interesting facts about Condor I learned in researching this post include:

  • Condor is the 3rd largest German airline
  • Partners with the Miles & More Frequent Flyer Program
  • Condor was the first vacation airline in the world to own jumbo jets. They were named Fritz and Max.
  • During its 60th anniversary year, Condor is donating 60 cents per booking to a school in Namibia

Frankfurt

2016 is Condor’s 60th Anniversary

This year actually marks the 60th Anniversary of Condor Airlines, who began service back in 1956 with a pilgrimage flight to Israel. If you think about it, it’s a simple and somewhat unlikely start for what has become the top leisure airline in Germany, a country famous for its love of travel. Throughout the year, Condor is celebrating its anniversary in a variety of ways from specially painted livery to contests and photos and even that charitable effort I mentioned in the previous section. The airline is donating 60 cents per online booking to a charitable effort underway to expand a school in Namibia. That’s not the only way they’re giving back this year, Condor has also partnered with the German Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant 6 special wishes to seriously ill children and teenagers; one for each of its anniversary decades. I love seeing airlines that give back to their communities and this is just but one more example of why Condor has been so very consistently highly ranked as an airline.

Where do they fly?

While Condor be a new name to many Americans, it shouldn’t be. During the summer months, Condor links more than a dozen U.S. cities to Germany with connections onward to destinations around the world. In total, Condor currently serves 75 destinations with expansion plans already slated for 2017, including new American service to New Orleans and San Diego. It’s important to note though that for most of the American cities, Condor is a seasonal airline. That means it typically just flies in the summer vacation months and then only a few times a week. While it may not be an ideal choice for the business traveler making last minute decisions, these are in fact great schedules for those of us traveling to Europe on vacation. Living in the DC metro region, I love that there’s an easy way to get to Europe from BWI instead of having to trek to the always time-consuming Dulles International Airport. It means less time wasted at the airport and more time actually enjoying my trip.

In-Flight Experience

While they are a leisure airline known for competitive ticket prices, that doesn’t mean they’re a budget-only airline, far from it. In fact, Condor was the first tourism airline to introduce a special Comfort Class in the 1990s. Since then, they’ve greatly expanded their premium cabin offerings to include Premium Economy and the recently revamped Business Class cabin, which I had the great pleasure of experiencing on my flight to Frankfurt.

I’ll devote a post to the Business Class experience, but overall it was a a great flight and the Condor premium options are definitively competitive in the world of luxury aviation.

Nice to have options

What ultimately helps flyers the most in booking flights is competition and having plenty of options. The more options present in a market, the better the fares will be. That’s basic Econ 101 stuff. That’s why I’m happy to see the expansion of Condor Airlines in the North American market, because it gives us options. I tend to travel to Germany at least a couple of times a year, and am very well familiar with the traditional ways to get there. And you know what? They’re fine, they really are and overall I’ve enjoyed my flying experiences. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t like having a choice when I travel, the power to select an airline that might be a little closer to home, have schedules and services I like and an airline that’s just different. For me, getting to a destination is just as important as what I see and do once I get there. I love flying, I love aviation and I love trying out new planes and airlines. I was like a little kid as I boarded that Boeing 767 leaving BWI, excited for the chance to see what makes Condor tick. I liked what I experienced, a lot, which is but one reason why I wanted to introduce them to everyone. To share what makes them unique, their service enjoyable and ultimately, what makes them yet another great choice when you’re planning your next vacation to Germany, Europe or somewhere even more exotic.

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

26 Responses

  1. Jean | Holy Smithereens

    I’ve to admit, I have not heard of Condor Airlines before until a couple of weeks ago when a German blogger I follow flew it to the Seychelles. I like the idea of a leisure airline!

    Reply
  2. Margaret Wiedle

    We have been flying every year since 2001 to Germany via Condor Airlines and it is the only way to fly. We live in Anchorage Alaska and we fly straight from here to Frankfurt non-stop. There is no other way to fly to Europe in our opinion. We fly there every year, and love it.

    Reply
  3. BB

    I will never fly Condor again if I can help it. Very bad experience. We were told that plane would leave Austin TX a 7:45 – so got t airport early. Condor ticket booth didn’t even open until 6:40. Ten plane didn’t eave until close to 10. Missed connecting flight to Paris, and lost our luggage. Finally 3 pieces of luggage came into airport hours later, but 4th piece not there. Missed connecting fight to Paris, but Lufthansa got us there. But no flights to Nice – our final destination. Ended up having to stay in Paris overnight at our expense even though Condor should have paid for it. Then, fastest way to Nice was by train which took about 6 or 7 hours so missed a full day of everything because of Condor Airlines. When tried to talk with someone about problem – no one knew who we should talk to when you could find Condor personnel. Very cramped seats. The row and a few around me received no meals on first night on plane, and a small breakfast of small piece of cheese and a little cantelope and pineapple. TV didn’t work. Charged $8 for premium movies and take your own headset.

    Reply
  4. Sharron Sussman

    Ummm, I just booked a roundtrip flight San Diego/Frankfurt for May 2017, to visit my family. I have a printed booking confirmation, but notice there are no flight numbers. How will this work when I get to the airport? (At least San Diego Airport is small, but it does have 2 terminals…) Can you advise me?

    Reply
  5. Ingrid Naugle

    I was overjoyed when Condor announced non-stop flights from Pittsburgh to Frankfurt. I need to visit Frankfurt in September. Unfortunately there are no non-stop flights after August. The schedule does not tell me the airports of the stops for the 2-stop flights. Are the 2-stop flights all on Condor and where do they stop. Which is the port of entry into the US for the return flights?

    Reply
  6. Dee

    All I am reading are very bad reviews. i am now scared to fly this airline.

    Reply
  7. John

    This sounds like a European (spirit airlines) not good..

    Reply
  8. Ken

    My wife and I flew Condor from New Orleans to Frankfurt earlier this month. Our flight to Europe was in Premium Economy and was a good experience. Our flight home was in Business Class and was excellent.

    We had delays on our flight to Europe, but these were due to bad weather on both ends of the flight (New Orleans and Frankfurt) and were not related to Condor. Condor staff did a great job of making everyone comfortable during the delays (which has not always been my experience on US airlines.)

    Despite what I’ve read in reviews on other sites, the staff (both ground and in-air) were incredibly polite and provided great service, the planes (including the restrooms) were clean, and the food was good – not just by airline standards but actually decent food.

    Our only real problem was lack of service from Lufthansa for our connecting flight in Frankfurt (which was canceled due to weather). Again, however, the Condor ticket counter in Frankfurt helped as much as possible.

    We’ll definitely fly Condor again.

    Reply
  9. CHrista

    I have flown Condor Airlines from Austin to Frankfurt in the business class section. Great seats, Very nice. I fly twice a year
    And definitely fly Condor again

    Reply
  10. Cpt. Kirk

    This will be our first flight on Condor later this month. We are flying Austin to Frankfurt direct. Will let you know how it goes. A little nervous based on some negative reviews, specifically seat width and leg room. We booked Premium Economy. We are used to flying Lufthansa, Continental and Delta overseas. Oh well, keeping our fingers crossed!

    Reply
    • FelicityF

      Let me know! I’m flying from Manchester to San Francisco in August. My first time also and premium economy. Hope you enjoy the trip. There are always negative and positive reviews. Very interested in the whole thing

      Reply
    • LizM

      Yes, please post your experience. We are flying Condor AUS-FRA-BRU next month and are a bit unsettled by all of the negative reviews… Hope your trip went well! Thanks in advance.

      Reply
    • Shannon S.

      How was your flight with Condor?

      Reply
  11. Karen E Johnston

    Is it possible to receive a partial refund for changing the date and originating city of my return flight? I was supposed to fly from Marseille to Seattle, with a layover in Munich on Wed. July 12. I became ill in Paris on Sat. July 8, and was unable to take the train to Marseille on Sun. July 9. My flight number is DE2028. Thank you.

    Reply
  12. Karen E Johnston

    I had to purchase a flight from Paris to Frankfurt out of pocket. After a layover in Frankfurt, I flew home to Seattle on my original ticket.

    Reply
  13. CHC3

    Looking forward to mu Condor Business Class flight next Wednesday SEA-MUC, then a connection on Lufthansa to Vienna. Return from FRA non-stop.
    After reading some of the poor reviews, and the chance of loss of luggage, I decided to carry on. I just got a new Rimowa carry-on, so I’m excited to use it and acquire the discipline to pack less when I travel overseas. Will report on my experience with Condor!

    Reply
  14. Heidy

    Hi! Has anyone used Condor to fly from San Juan,PR to Frankfurt?

    Reply
  15. Cheryl S

    I am distressed by all the negatives I read on another site and the fact that the main one here seems to be more of an ad than an ordinary experience. We fly from Portland to Frankfurt on business this coming week. I will tell you how it went. So far I have two main experiences:
    #1 For me the customer service has been excellent – smart, efficient reps who know the system. They helped us with our plan to change our connecting flight from Frankfurt to Lisbon, which has a longer layover than they could have given us, given the flights. I guess I should have counted this as the first negative. We don’t know if it will work, but the agents helped us with a plan.
    #2. The negative is that the attraction for us was a nonstop from Portland to Frankfurt, but a few months after we made our reservation, Condor cut out the flight from Frankfurt to Portland. It put us instead on a flight to Seattle with a connection to Portland. We wonder how often this happens to people and what our rights are. We don’t want to cancel. Again, the layover is longer than it needed to be, at least without consulting us. OK. So maybe the actual experience will make it all worth it. If the plane and staff are like the phone agents, I think it will be good.

    Reply
  16. Cheryl S

    I meant above that the phone reps were excellent. (No edit button that I could find.)

    Reply
  17. Korath Wright

    Condor made the connection too tight, said ok we know we did that but thats too bad and then hung up on me!! Unbelievable. The managers name is Paolo Petrillo and the agents name is Anika Teller. I cannot believe it and have difficulty remembering such a horrifying customer experience. There were other issues with service, having to pay for any inflight movies, bad food and such but I dont really care about those things. Not making my flight though AND having to buy a new one with them acknowledging it was their fault actually puts me out. Ah well I suppose you live and you learn not to fly Condor.

    Reply
  18. Adolf Anton Schoemer

    Traveled whit Condor Airlines from Frankfurt Germany to Providence RI, 2 Years ago ,nice Flight, the food i must say,not very good at all

    Reply
  19. Manuela McGee

    I have flown with Condor twice. First experience was good, considering it is budget. My booking of the flight also went well. I booked the flight for me and my dog. I purchased the kennel from another Condor traveller whose dog is bigger than mine. Checking in in Seattle was a pleasant experience. People were extremely helpful. When it came time to return home to Seattle, I arrived 3 hours prior to the delayed flight leaving. The check in counter personel was scarce. The one person able to help me, though, soon had helpers, talkung about vacations and watching me put together the crate and maneuver luggage and crate. Then i was told to repack my luggage to make my carry on luggage lighter. I tried to use the scale to determine whi h things to move butwas accused of trying to cheat every time. At this point, people decided to look at the crate with my dog inside and told me to get rid of the dog’s blanket, because it was too big. At this point i had about 4 people telling me to do different things, none of them helping. Just watching
    Once my luggage was checked in 40 minutes later, they decided to tell me, that the crate my dog flew to Frankfurt with, was too small. Now i had 6 people coaching me. I eventually was told, 20 minutes prior to boarding, to purchase a different crate. Needless to say, with poor directions to the place and no help and 350 euros lighter, i returned to the counter with the crate and was told that i was too late to board the flight The people who had c”oached “my progress had already left.

    I had to rebook my flight for 3 days later for another 450 euros. I was “set up” for a hotel, which cost me 207 euros. Add to that, that i had to wait for 4 hours for my checked baggage to be returned to me and that i have to arrange for a new health certificate for my dog

    Needless to say, this will have been the last trip with Condor.

    Reply
  20. John L. Hubbard

    I have mixed feelings about Condor Airlines. I have flown them from the US west coast to Europe 4 times in the last few months. I have left from SFO, PDX and this last trip, Seattle, my actual home airport. (And, before I forget, be aware that if you fly to Manchester, you will be on Thomas Cook Airline, even if you bought the ticket on Condor site, and if you are an Alaska Airlines frequent flyer, you will not get miles credit for that flight, as they are not partners with Alaska, only Condor is.)
    There is always “something” with Condor. They are not participants in Pre-Check, so even if you are a registered Pre-check person, or even Global Entry as I am, you will have to stand in the long security lines with all the infrequent flyers stumbling thru.
    Bad experience on this last flight home from FRA to SEA. Flight was cancelled, then delayed by a full 24 hours. No help in the terminal, couldn’t find information on what was going on, and when I finally did later, no one ever said they were sorry for taking 24 hours of my life away from me. Finally found appropriate gate and was directed to check-in counter in main terminal. Waited in line, then repeatedly given bad information on where to find my previously checked bag, and then later, repeatedly given bad information on where to find the bus to the hotel where we were put up for the night because of 24 hour delay. Got to hotel with 20 minutes to eat only dinner allowed to us.
    It will be interesting to see how long it takes for Condor to get me the 600 Euros I’m entitled to by EU Passenger Rights rules for my 24 hour delay.
    Thru the whole process, I was completely un-impressed by the customer service folks working for this airline. The whole group seems very disorganized, with no one ever seemingly in charge or there to make things happen. Lots of staff folks standing around visiting, while dozens of customers stand in line waiting for service.
    I have flown them in basic Economy, Premium Economy, and Business. Business is nice if you get it cheap. Premium Economy is not worth it. Not much legroom, same food– made to look better, perhaps meal option. Sometimes, small gift pack. Economy is basic, as expected, with only one meal option— vegetarian pasta– tube noodles with tomato based sauce. No other choice. To get legroom — I’m 6′ 7″—- had to pay $120 each way for exit aisle seat, with slightly more legroom than standard seat, but nowhere near the legroom on a standard Alaska 737 exit aisle for example.
    Some crews on-board the planes are good. Others are not friendly, nor do they provide excellent, or even decent service. They are just doing their job. On one flight, a flight attendant hit my knee straight on with a service cart, in the middle of the night, waking me from a dead sleep. He just stopped and looked at me, never apologizing or coming back to check on me later.
    Flying generally isn’t any fun any more, unless you are in the top tier of frequent flyers. Condor so far has done nothing in my experience, no matter what class you fly in, to restore any of the positive elements of the flight experience.

    Reply
  21. MELIHA KICIN

    I am trying to book our summer vacation. I see that Condor has a very good price for my trip but I am very afraid to book it after reading all of the comments here. Did anyone fly recently from San Francisco to Germany or Zagreb, Croatia? Please let me know how was your experience. Thanks!

    Reply

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