Condor A330neo in blue and white stripes sits alongside an Aer Lingus jet at New York JFK

Condor gives legacies run for their money even with missing seat parts

Cartoon of passengers, flight attendant and pilots onboard an aircraftWhile many airlines go through branding refreshes once in a blue moon, few see such a drastic overhaul as Condor. The 68-year old German leisure airline has enjoyed something of a renaissance in the post-shutdown era.

Gone is the familiar “sorta but not quite Lufthansa” branding, replaced by…stripes?!

My trip to this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany found me booking Condor via Frankfurt for the first time. As Condor does not operate domestic flights within Germany, the onward connection to Hamburg was booked as an interline with Lufthansa.

My outbound flight from New York JFK to Frankfurt was a business class booking, operated with one of Condor’s new and very stripy Airbus A330-900neo aircraft.

Condor Airbus A330-900neo at the gateWhile Condor’s iOS app is one of the most basic airline apps I’ve used in years, I was pleasantly surprised that it was able to issue a mobile boarding pass for not just my Condor flight, but also for my connecting Lufthansa flight. I would use Lufthansa’s app thereafter, however, as it loaded all of my flight info.

Screenshot of Condor check-in page on the appCondor operates out of Terminal 7 in New York JFK, which has become the terminal of maverick airlines as its replacement is being built next door. Passengers flying in business class are granted access to a shared lounge, which occupies part of the space that used to be the British Airways lounge before it migrated to Terminal 8.

Various couch seating is seen in Terminal 7 in New York JFK airport lounge.While some hot food and a self-service bar are available, the open seating area is among the most bland spaces imaginable. The lounge has shower facilities, but they are only available for ANA passengers. I would have much preferred access to the Alaska Airlines lounge, as the two airlines are close partners.

A buffet is set up in the Terminal 7 in New York JFK lounge for passengers.Once on board the aircraft, it very quickly became apparent that Condor is now punching well above its old reputation. While the Boeing 767s previously operated by Condor didn’t really differentiate the airline from Lufthansa, its A330neo brings an entirely new identity and product.

Condor chose Safran’s Skylounge Core seat in business class, which reminds me of Starlux’s styling on the A330neo.

Safran’s Skylounge Core seat in Condor business class is all blue with a white and blue striped headrest.

As soon as I entered the aircraft, I noticed how Condor has incorporated its new striped identity virtually everywhere, but in a tasteful and fun way.

Seat headrests have different colored stripes depending on the cabin, and the ceiling glows with stripes matching the aircraft’s exterior color. Blue and green LED lights down the length of the aircraft.Many more of the hard and soft products are adorned with stripes of various colors. Rarely does an airline, or any brand for that matter, take its visual identity to such a detailed level.

A close up of the stripe themed amenity kit that includes items such as socks, water and slippers.An on-time departure kicked off a meal service which, again, exceeded expectations. The service was welcoming and more than complete. And the food was quite tasty!


I found myself a bit torn on the speed of service, however. Condor’s flight from JFK departs in the 4pm hour, quite early for a Europe-bound flight. Three drink services preceded the main meal, which itself had two bread services.

My serviceware was not collected until over four and a half hours into the flight, which left just three hours before the pre-arrival breakfast was served.

This approach would have been more appropriate for a west coast flight.

A meal with multiple smaller dishes is served inflight with Condor.

I didn’t get much sleep, but I can’t blame Condor’s seat for that. Even without the benefit of a “Prime” business-plus, row one seat, I found plenty of space to get comfy, and I felt the seat was private enough even without a suite-style door.

Safran’s Skylounge Core seat in Condor business class is all blue with a white and blue striped headrest.

For my return flight I opted for Condor’s “premium economy” product, which is really just an extra legroom economy layout.

Condor's green and white striped aircraft at the gate

This feels to me like a real gap in Condor’s product offering, especially with the popularity of premium economy on many other airlines. While the main economy section of the aircraft was mostly full, premium economy was maybe only half full which, on the plus side, meant that I did not have a seat mate. 

Condor Premium Economy seating with a grey and white striped headrest cover.

While my expectations for this “premium economy but not really” product were low, Condor again exceeded them. Passengers received a printed menu, a pair of dedicated flight attendants, and food and beverage options that are elevated above economy.

The printed menu is displayed on the aircraft tray table for the Condor meal service in Premium Economy.

The meal itself was nothing special, however. It was really the service that set this experience apart.

An inflight mean served in premium economy during the Condor flight. Meat, potato, a roll and dessert are in view.

Condor offers Safran’s RAVE inflight entertainment system and connectivity solution, the latter of which uses the Inmarsat Global Xpress Ka-band satellite service (now a part of the Viasat family).

In both business and ‘premium economy’ the screen sizes are generous, to say the least. The interface is zippy and fun, yet is oddly one of the few aspects of the cabin missing a stripy touch. Movie selections on Safran’s RAVE entertainment system in the Condor Premium Economy class.

The system was loaded with plenty of movies and I appreciated the Bluetooth connectivity to use my own headphones.

Bluetooth connectivity enabled on the IFE screenI found Wi-Fi access to be on the expensive side, with a messaging-only plan coming in at €7 and a full flight “surf” plan limited to 1.2 Mbps for €20. I opted for the “surf” plan on my return daytime flight and after some coaxing of the flight crew to reboot the system to get it to work, speeds were as advertised and I was even able to stream the launch of Boeing’s Starliner on YouTube.

Screenshot of speedtest on board Condor flight. A download speed of 1.15 mbps is observed.One mostly trivial item that has perplexed me about Condor’s A330neo was that a few parts were missing from seats both up front and down back.

In business, my seat was entirely missing the right armrest. The base that the armrest would have been bolted onto was covered in thick tape! I thought it might be an anomaly or a broken part, but the seat two rows back had the same issue.

A missing armrest in the Business Class seat, covered with tape.In economy, all seats were missing decorative side pieces, which exposed the space where it would have gone. Additionally, only some premium economy seats has footrests while others, including my row, did not. I’m not sure if pieces are breaking off of a brand new airplane or if it was delivered like this, but I’ve never seen pieces of the seats just be outright missing before.

A missing piece of the seat exposing the inside.

Though its a leisure airline, Condor isn’t technically a low-cost airline. Yet my fare was well below the competition and delivered an experience I’d argue was better than some of the legacy carriers plying the Atlantic.

While the early departure from New York and forced connection through Frankfurt is unfortunate, I will absolutely look at booking Condor again. Cheers!

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All images credited to the author, Jason Rabinowitz