BOOKED: Lufthansa 787, Condor A330neo, And Alaska 737 MAX!

BOOKED: Lufthansa 787, Condor A330neo, And Alaska 737 MAX!

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As I stated at the beginning of the year, my single biggest goal for the blog for 2023 is to take as many review trips as possible. These will mostly be “pure” review trips, in the sense that I’m trying to take trips that allow me to review as many products as possible, while minimizing my time away from home.

I’ve already published my Whirlwind Aeroplan Adventure, and I’m currently in the process of publishing my Four Times Across the Atlantic. I’ve now gone ahead and booked my next review trip, which I’ll be taking shortly.

Long story short, I’ll be doing a head-to-head comparison of the best that German aviation currently has to offer in business class.

Lufthansa 787-9 business class

For the outbound portion of my trip, I’ll be flying Lufthansa’s Boeing 787-9 from Detroit to Frankfurt. Lufthansa started flying the 787 on long haul routes in recent months, and it’s the first time the airline has offered a business class product with direct aisle access from every seat.

Unfortunately this isn’t Lufthansa’s new “Allegris” business class product, but rather it’s a new interim business class product. Specifically, Lufthansa is taking delivery of five 787s that were initially intended to fly for China’s Hainan Airlines, but in the end the airline couldn’t finance the planes, so Lufthansa picked them up advantageously.

These 787s will have reverse herringbone seats, which are common on so many airlines. Having flown Lufthansa business class so many times before, I can’t help but mention how strange it will feel to not be sitting next to someone. It’s something I so closely associate with flying on Lufthansa.

I booked this segment for 63,000 Avianca LifeMiles.

Lufthansa’s Boeing 787 business class

Condor A330-900neo business class

To return to the United States, I’ll be flying Condor’s brand new Airbus A330-900neo from Frankfurt to Seattle. Condor has long been a German leisure airline, but the carrier is really taking its product to the next level, with all new A330-900neos that have a product that can compete pretty favorably with Lufthansa.

With Condor having reasonable transatlantic fares and increasingly competing in Lufthansa’s markets, I think it’s a product worth knowing about. I even decided to splurge on one of the “Prime Seats,” which are the front row business class seats that even come with some extra amenities.

I booked this segment for 55,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles.

Condor’s Airbus A330-900neo Prime Seat

Alaska 737 MAX 9 first class

To return from Seattle to the East Coast, I’ll be flying Alaska’s Boeing 737 MAX 9 first class. I haven’t flown the Alaska 737 MAX yet, so I’m curious to see what the experience is like. Alaska does differentiate itself a bit by having 41″ of pitch in domestic first class, which you won’t find on other airlines. Furthermore, I’ve generally found Alaska’s soft product to be superior to what you’ll find on other legacy airlines.

I booked this segment with cash, as I found a reasonable paid fare, and it allows me to earn American AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points.

I’ll be flying Alaska’s 737 MAX 9

Expect some hotel & lounge reviews as well

I’ll of course be reviewing some hotel and lounges during this trip as well.

As far as hotels go:

  • I’ve recently reviewed the Marriott Frankfurt Airport and Sheraton Frankfurt Airport, so is it time to check out the Hilton Frankfurt Airport, or is there another airport hotel I should check out that would be more intereesting?
  • For my short overnight in Seattle, is there a SeaTac Airport hotel that’s better than others? I am leaning toward the Marriott, but am not sure if there’s a better option

As far as lounges go:

  • I’ll be checking out the Lufthansa Lounge Detroit
  • Upon arrival in Frankfurt, I’ll be visiting the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge, which I’ve never visited before
  • In Frankfurt, Condor uses the Lufthansa Lounges, and I’ve reviewed many of those; does anyone know if you can access Terminal 2 at Frankfurt with a Terminal 1 same day boarding pass, so that I could check out the Air France and Primeclass Lounges through Priority Pass, or is that a no-no?
  • In Seattle I’m looking forward to checking out the flagship Alaska Lounge and new Amex Centurion Lounge
I’ll be checking out the Amex Centurion Lounge Seattle

Bottom line

As you can tell, I’m doing everything I can to maintain the pace of the review trips I’ve been taking. This trip is a bit simpler than the two others I took so far this year, but I think there’s something cool about doing a direct comparison of Germany’s two current best business class hard products.

I’ll be sharing my initial impressions of the trip as I take the journey, and then you can expect a full trip report once the current series is done.

For those hoping for something a bit more exotic, worry not. I still have Etihad’s A350, Air Mauritius’ A350, Vistara’s 787 and A321neo, and Singapore’s 737 MAX, near the top of my list of products to review next.

Any predictions or tips for my upcoming review trip? How do you think Lufthansa and Condor will compare?

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  1. R B Guest

    Not sure if it has been reported yet:
    Condor will start FRA-SPX (Egypt) later this month
    https://egyptindependent.com/german-condor-starts-operating-regular-flights-to-sphinx-airport-in-march-2023/

  2. Bill n DC Diamond

    I’ve only stayed at the Hilton as a Diamond. Most recently in Nov.
    nice gym and clothing optional steam sauna and multi head shower area.
    Club Lounge was weak evening spread. Rooms smaller but nice 4 fixture bath.
    a year ago I got upgraded to a corner suite 1025 I think at the end of the Squire which was cool. Included Breakfast in dining room. Nice but had just a bit as...

    I’ve only stayed at the Hilton as a Diamond. Most recently in Nov.
    nice gym and clothing optional steam sauna and multi head shower area.
    Club Lounge was weak evening spread. Rooms smaller but nice 4 fixture bath.
    a year ago I got upgraded to a corner suite 1025 I think at the end of the Squire which was cool. Included Breakfast in dining room. Nice but had just a bit as I was on my way to FCT and eggs Benedict with bacon.
    Or try the HGI ;-)
    Also. It’s a hike to arrivals lounge and then back to the Hilton you’ll get your steps

  3. Jay Guest

    Always stay at the doubletree, the one at the southeast of the airport, not the one in southcenter further away. That hotel has good airport views but is also close to the airport. Hope this helps.

  4. FlyerDad Guest

    Would really like to see you review the FRA airport Hilton to compare with Marriott and Sheraton. We booked two business class tickets from SFO-FRA non-stop during peak summer travel on Condor on the new 330-900 for only 55,000 miles each way. The 330-900 business class looks and sounds amazing. I'm looking forward to reading your review.

  5. Sandy Needham Guest

    Carl - if you write responses like this, no paragraphs. just endless words, nobody including Condor will read it!

    1. Carl Guest

      I wrote with paragraphs. No idea why it got formatted into a continuous chunk.

  6. JB Guest

    I want to fly Alaska's flight from Seattle to MIA. That is probably the longest domestic flight from MIA. If you ever want to try Air Canada's 737MAX, fly it from MIA to Vancouver. AC operates that route once weekly, and it's blocked at 7 hours! Imagine flying from YVR-MIA-Brasilia, with the last leg on GOL. That would be a nightmare.

  7. Ed Guest

    The better hotels for a SeaTac layover are of course downtown, but most often one does not have the time. I will stay at the SeaTac Marriott when I can’t get downtown. Good food and service, decent rooms and fast shuttles.

  8. Bob Guest

    +1 on HR Lake Washington. Nice view at the Boeing 737 factory as well, although technically not an airport hotel. I was going ti suggest HR Seattle downtown. Near Seatac airport, the 2 new-ish properties would be Hilton Garden Inn and Residence Inn.

    1. Andy Guest

      For a short layover the only choice is the Hilton. Because you can walk directly to it via the light rail station.
      SeaTac is not a nice place, especially in the dark and dreary winter.
      The Cedarbrook is nicer, but it's not worth the shuttle hassle. By the time your leaving the airport in the shuttle for the Cedarbrook, you could have walked to the Hilton.

  9. NBT Guest

    Thompson Seattle would be my vote! Can’t recall if you’ve reviewed it before, but also agree the Hyatt Regency on Lake Washington would be good too!

  10. Paul Guest

    Alaska as a superior offering ?! Maybe comparing to Spirit … your credibility just went down to zero…

  11. RovinMoses Guest

    By Alaska "flagship Lounge" at SEA, I'm assuming you refer to the one in the North satellite. It's the best!!

    1. John D Guest

      Absolutely!!! John D

  12. Jean-Hubert Guest

    Just flew EWR-FRA on LH’s “new” 787. The worst business class seat ever on LH or more or less elsewhere. I want my money back. It is impossible to sleep in that seat comfortably. A true disaster of an experience. Not worth it.

  13. Andrew Guest

    If it’s a short overnight at SEA, I’d probably do either the Marriott or Hilton that is within walking distance of the airport (via the light rail station). The Hyatt by Lake Washington is a nice property (with a spa!), and I’ve done it on an overnight layover, but with an early morning flight, nothing beats being able to walk to the terminal. And depending on the length of your layover, it’s not like you will have much time to enjoy the Hyatt anyways.

    1. relidtm Member

      I agree with lake Washington hyatt also I have it booked for an upcoming trip as I want to relax before going to asia.

  14. Robert Member

    Might be in the minority here, but IMO, unless you're on a redeye flight, AS's F is the best transcon product. There's no advantage to a flatbed on a daytime flight, and the soft product is much better. Their lack of IFE really does not matter in the age of AirPods, as any seatback screen is useless without a dongle and the BYOD entertainment works fine.

    Also, their service is not restricted to SFO/LAX-NYC (and...

    Might be in the minority here, but IMO, unless you're on a redeye flight, AS's F is the best transcon product. There's no advantage to a flatbed on a daytime flight, and the soft product is much better. Their lack of IFE really does not matter in the age of AirPods, as any seatback screen is useless without a dongle and the BYOD entertainment works fine.

    Also, their service is not restricted to SFO/LAX-NYC (and BOS for JetBlue) routes like all the other airlines. If you're flying to IAD/DCA for example, AS is miles ahead of UA/AA just based on having a little bit more legroom and a better soft product. Almost every transcon flight qualifies for lounge access, whereas other airlines restrict it to premium SFO/LAX-NYC routes (and JetBlue has none).

    The best part is that it's the cheapest option by far (sub $700 one way). Last time I flew it, it was $214 to upgrade from regular economy on an EWR-SFO flight.

  15. NK3 Gold

    As multiple other people have mentioned, if you really want to stay in the city of SeaTac, then Cedarbrook Lodge is the best option. When we interview people and they stay near the airport, that is the only place we consider.

    That being said, if you are going to wait for a hotel shuttle and then go to an airport property, grabbing an Uber and getting to downtown Seattle (where the new Hyatt Regency opened...

    As multiple other people have mentioned, if you really want to stay in the city of SeaTac, then Cedarbrook Lodge is the best option. When we interview people and they stay near the airport, that is the only place we consider.

    That being said, if you are going to wait for a hotel shuttle and then go to an airport property, grabbing an Uber and getting to downtown Seattle (where the new Hyatt Regency opened in late 2018) or going to the Hyatt Regency Lake Washington (which I think opened in 2017) would probably be more interesting choices. It looks like the Condor flight is scheduled to get into SEA at around 4pm, so I would just take the extra 5 or 10 minutes and leave SeaTac.

    1. Seattleite Guest

      Cedarbrook is the only place worth staying or dining. The rest of the SeaTac experience is dreary. The property was created as the training center for Washington Mutual and is over the top in places.

  16. Frederik Guest

    Why are there so few budget type long haul American carriers.

  17. TProphet Member

    Hyatt Regency Lake Washington is a short Uber ride away, is right on the lake, and is a lovely, new property. Definitely worth checking out.

  18. Mike Guest

    I would also suggest the Cedarbrook lodge at Seatac. In the last six months we have tried the Marriott (blah), the Alfot (okay), Ihe IHG Crown Plaza (stay away) and The Cedarbrook Lodge (excellent). The Copperleaf Restaurant is well worth a visit!

  19. InternationalTraveler Gold

    The arrival lounge has stricter entrance criteria compared to the other Lufthansa lounges in FRA. Its intended use is to freshen up after TATL flights to head to the office right after arriving. I remember that they have lots of showers and an extensive breakfast buffet but it isn’t really a great place to hang out.

    I used it once when most of the flight connections in Germany was cancelled due to weather and...

    The arrival lounge has stricter entrance criteria compared to the other Lufthansa lounges in FRA. Its intended use is to freshen up after TATL flights to head to the office right after arriving. I remember that they have lots of showers and an extensive breakfast buffet but it isn’t really a great place to hang out.

    I used it once when most of the flight connections in Germany was cancelled due to weather and I was rebooked on a train. And yes, even the airport was a Zoo on that day and Lufthansa canceled my flight, they firmly closed at 12.30 pm and kicked everyone who was still waiting for their train out.

  20. Nathan Guest

    People seem to love the Hyatt Mainz, 15-20mins from FRA

    1. Ed Guest

      Great property! I was there early February.

    2. Stuart Guest

      Ben destroyed it in a review a year or so ago. based on his review I doubt he is running back there, lol. Oddly many others agree with you and love it. I stayed there once and actually liked it as well.

  21. Stuart Guest

    The newish Hyatt at the lake (no shuttle but 10-15 minutes from the airport) is a fantastic Regency. Beautiful spot and great plane spotting as its practically attached to Boeing and the 737-MAX area. I've been staying there quite a bit. The restaurant is also decent for a Regency. Great walks along the water outside and nice gym. If you can score one of the terrace suites it's really nice as it overlooks the Boeing...

    The newish Hyatt at the lake (no shuttle but 10-15 minutes from the airport) is a fantastic Regency. Beautiful spot and great plane spotting as its practically attached to Boeing and the 737-MAX area. I've been staying there quite a bit. The restaurant is also decent for a Regency. Great walks along the water outside and nice gym. If you can score one of the terrace suites it's really nice as it overlooks the Boeing hanger where the new deliveries are waiting. As an example of the convenience to the airport it's where many crews stay...a lot of United crews there.

    1. yiannis Guest

      What Hyatt are you talking about? A Hyatt at the lake….where? What lake?

    2. Jacob_mochel New Member

      Lake Washington, an estuary. Northeast of SEA 15 min. Great Spa.

    3. Stuart Guest

      Hyatt Lake Washington. Which would be obvious given that I said it’s 10-15 minutes to the airport and next to the Boeing 737MAX production line. If you need Google map directions or property overviews I assume you can get those on your own?

  22. Carl Member

    I have flown Condor's business class four times in the last year between North America and Frankfurt with a decidedly mixed experience. I'd love to give feedback on the experience directly to Condor, but I cannot figure out how to do that. They do not seem to have any presence whatsoever on Twitter or Facebook. Maybe they will read this blog.

    The bottom line is that Condor's website is absolutely terrible for self-help on anything...

    I have flown Condor's business class four times in the last year between North America and Frankfurt with a decidedly mixed experience. I'd love to give feedback on the experience directly to Condor, but I cannot figure out how to do that. They do not seem to have any presence whatsoever on Twitter or Facebook. Maybe they will read this blog.

    The bottom line is that Condor's website is absolutely terrible for self-help on anything whatsoever after purchasing your ticket, and even purchasing your ticket isn't as easy as it ought to be. And Condor operational reliabililty and customer support during travel is pretty terrible compared to the network carriers.

    If Condor is going to compete for mainstream North America - Europe traffic that includes connections on either end, Condor is going to have to improve its customer support. I'm not sure whether we'd fly Condor again.

    Two of my flights were on Condor's ex-Etihad A330-200. A third was supposed to be on an ex-Etihad A330-200 but was switched within two weeks of the flight date to an A330-300 chartered from Wamos Air (I believe it was an ex-Singapore regional configured aircraft), and the last was a Condor 767-300. The Condor ex-Etihad aircraft are the best of the bunch, with a true lie-flat seat that was comfortable for sleeping. The aircraft are dated and not everything about the seat has been maintained to be operational. There was no WiFi at all on any of the four flights (supposed to be coming on the new A330-900neo aircraft.) The soft product was fine. (Blankets still say "Thomas Cook"!). My recollection of the food quality last September was that it was tastier than what was served this month. The Condor flight attendants were friendly and pleasant. The Wamos Air flight attendants were out of their league in trying to deliver business class service. They didn't speak any German and their English was questionable, even the safety announcements were incomprehensible. The Wamos seats were heavily angled and too short, my power outlet didn't work. The 767 is also angled and tired. The Wamos aircraft was six across seating and the window seats don't have direct aisle access.

    I didn't appreciate getting an email only two weeks before the flight telling me that my flight would now to operated by Wamos Air and almost no information was given on what the change meant. Our seats were changed and there was no way to change seat assignments on the Condor website.

    All four flights departed late to varying degrees. Boarding was posted to begin 60 minutes before departure time but didn't begin until closer to 30 minutes on the best flights. Condor operational reliability does not appear to be high, and there are frequent delays. I don't know how Condor handles missed onward connections, but I would not count on good support. More on that below. I would recommend not booking onward flights with less than a 3 hour connecting time in order to avoid having to deal with missed connections.

    One important caveat in booking Condor business class tickets that involve connections: only the Condor flight is in business class, your connections on Lufthansa group flights or Alaska flights will be in coach. In addition, there is no way to determine your Alaska confirmation number from Condor's website, it is not shown, and there doesn't appear to be any way to enter your frequent flyer number until OLCI. (In my cases I originated in SEA, so I didn't have an initial AS segment; but on my return from Europe I had onward AS segments.).

    I was able to successfully use on line check in for the flights departing US including onward boarding passes. For the return flights, which originated with Lufthansa group segments, Lufthansa's check in process only generated the LH group boarding pass, and would not issue the Condor boarding pass, nor the onward AS boarding pass. This despite the fact that the LH check-in process had all relevant passport, green card, KTN numbers. Further at the originating airport I went to the check in counter and they scanned all the documents but again only the LH boarding pass, did not issue Condor or AS boarding passes.

    Arriving in FRA from the LH group flight within the secure area, only had to clear immigration (or I suppose emigration?) to reach the Condor gate area. Found out that Condor doesn't maintain any transit counter. There was a flight on another airline to somewhere in the middle east at our gate. Went to a different Condor gate that had a Condor agent. The flight had either departed or wasn't departing for a long time as the gate was empty. Agent didn't want to issue boarding passes, said I'd have to do it at my gate when it opened. I had to press the issue, saying I wanted to use the lounge. Then she reluctantly issued boarding passes. Given that Condor doesn't have a transit counter, they need to retrain agents to proactively help if they are going to offer connecting flights.

    Biggest issue we experienced, however, was that on arriving at LAX, where we were connecting but had to clear immigration and customs as the first port of entry, one of our checked bags didn't make it. There was no Condor agent to be found in the baggage hall. After about half an hour when most of the passengers had left, I noticed a woman who had a scarf with the Condor stripes. She seemed reluctant to want to help and expressed surprise that there was no Condor agent. She got on her cell phone for a while and then told me she was trying to reach someone but they weren't answering their phone. I asked if there was a list of baggage that hadn't made it? She didn't seem trained. After an hour I asked her to contact the station manager. Eventually she used her phone take photos of my bag tag receipt and boarding pass and used WhatsApp to send them to someone. Still nothing clear. I told her that I wanted to file a missing bag report. Eventually she came back with a QR code that I used my phone to go to a website to file the missing bag report. The entire process took over 90 minutes from when we arrived in the baggage hall. If my connecting flight were not delayed, I would have missed it. It's unacceptable not to have a representative in the baggage hall upon arrival. Especially since you are not supposed to leave the customs area without clearing your luggage. You are just powerless. Condor doesn't monitor Twitter. I had no phone number to call.

    What is attractive about Condor is a true lie flat seat at a good price (except they could swap out your plane on short notice) and great earnings rate on Alaska Airlines. But if Condor really wants to compete, they need to improve their website experience, and improve customer support during the trip, and especially provide better support when something goes wrong. Given my experiences I am wary of booking any connecting itineraries on Condor.

    By the way, both times arriving Condor in FRA we arrived at gates in the B concourse that were considered non-secure, meaning we had to reclear security for the onward flight. (Generally when arriving in FRA on UA or LH, you arrive in a sterile area such that you only have to clear immigration for an onward flight within Schengen cities, but not security. The Condor flights arrive in areas were passengers have to reclear security for any onward flight.)

    1. Yiannis Guest

      Ohmygawd you have a lot to say about nothing at all !!! So what about clearing security at connections. Just do it and stop whining about not being able to contact Condor Twitter phone numbers….maybe just write them a letter like the old days.

    2. kels2003 Member

      Nice review and good info to consider when you are picking a carrier.

  23. Brian W. Guest

    Be careful on the Alaska flight though - Alaska is known for not keeping their word with regards to their scheduled 737 MAX 9 flights and swaps in a -900ER more than 80% of the time on transcontinental routes. I most recently booked SFO-NYC roundtrip on the MAX 9, yet right before check in both flights were swapped for the more inferior -900ERs.

  24. S Gold

    The area around SEA is kind of dumpy. Not many good options. Cedarbrook Lounge looks good, but of the others, I'd say probably Marriott.

    For FRA, I'd actually be interested too in a city hotel review but know that may not work well for your schedule.

  25. Donna Diamond

    How will Condor and Lufthansa compare? My guess, to each other, probably a draw, but to other options across the Atlantic, subpar, however, anxious to read your forthcoming reports.

  26. moris Guest

    Do you have a plan to review El Al's 737?

  27. Bret Guest

    There’s a good chance Alaska may switch out the 737-MAX to a 737-900. This has happened to me several times.

    1. D.A. Guest

      Always a good thing. No need for life insurance and a lot safer ride,

    2. K2 Guest

      Yup, the 737-900 amd 737-MAX9 are interchangeable with Alaska. It's a tossup on which one you get no matter what the stated plane type is on booking.

  28. Ted W Guest

    Cederbrook Lodge is an airport adjacent property that apparently used to be Washington Mutual's conference center/training center or something (someone please correct me). It is an unusual property to be located so close to an airport and more like an oasis than a hotel airport.

  29. AA70 Diamond

    Aren’t terminals 1 and 2 connected airside at FRA?
    I have a strong preference for the Sheraton or Marriott, but in the name of new content I’d say yes to the Hilton
    As far as SEA goes, I have browsed the Marriott and it looked really nice, but ultimately stayed at the aloft as it wasn’t worth the extra points needed for a quick airport overnight

  30. Steve Guest

    At SEA the best hotel option is the Cedarbrook Lodge, well worth it, and it is 5 minutes away from the airport.

  31. Sven Guest

    I'm sorry...your goal this year is to do as many review trips as possible...any concern at all about the environmental impact? Are you purchasing carbon credits to offset your unnecessary travel?

    1. Srini A Guest

      It's not like Lucky is taking a private jet. Besides the plane is going to go with or without him.

      Much of the offsets are dubious.. There was an in dept article that showed that they are pretty shady. I think it was on John Oliver's show.

    2. AA70 Diamond

      Unnecessary travel? You shouldn’t be reading this blog then. It’s also how the man makes a living, which is kind of important

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Sven -- It's a fair point, and I certainly recognize the environmental impact that flying has. I'll write more about it in a separate post, but yes, I try to do something to offset the impact my flying has on the environment (not in the form of traditional carbon offset schemes, but rather through supporting organizations that are planting trees and more).

    4. Mike Guest

      I don't disagree about the environmental impact, but it's not like his ticket is the deciding factor on whether the airline will operate the flight or not...

  32. Carl Member

    SEA sadly doesn't have great airport hotels. There are three hotels that are walkable from the terminal. The best of those is probably the Hilton, at least as to quality of the beds. The most direct path is via the light rail station. The Raddison and a Coast hotel are also walkable via the airport roadway at the A-concourse end of the terminal.

    Everything else probably requires a shuttle. I'm not a fan of...

    SEA sadly doesn't have great airport hotels. There are three hotels that are walkable from the terminal. The best of those is probably the Hilton, at least as to quality of the beds. The most direct path is via the light rail station. The Raddison and a Coast hotel are also walkable via the airport roadway at the A-concourse end of the terminal.

    Everything else probably requires a shuttle. I'm not a fan of dealing with shuttles if you can avoid them. The rate of issues with shuttles is just too high, especially at the airport pick up end. The light rail like makes going in the city an option if you have a longer stay and want a nicer hotel. Most of the hotels at the airport are 3 star and below.

  33. Jimmy’s Travel Report Diamond

    Stayed at the Marriott next to SEA a few times. Very Marriott typical, and there aren’t a lot of options close to the airport. If you have the time to head downtown there are of course other options. The Marriott does have a shuttle, and it is convenient for access to the airport.

  34. Carl Member

    In FRA, may I request that you review hotels in the city that can be booked on points? Since it's only a 12-15 minute S-Bahn ride into the city, it's pretty easy to stay in town, and I'd like better information on options in town.

    If you have a short stay at the airport, I can't really imagine staying anywhere other than at either the Sheraton/Marriott or the Hilton/HGI, since they are all walkable....

    In FRA, may I request that you review hotels in the city that can be booked on points? Since it's only a 12-15 minute S-Bahn ride into the city, it's pretty easy to stay in town, and I'd like better information on options in town.

    If you have a short stay at the airport, I can't really imagine staying anywhere other than at either the Sheraton/Marriott or the Hilton/HGI, since they are all walkable. Why would you deal with a shuttle bus if you can just ride into town.

  35. Daniel Guest

    Would be interesting to see a review of the Steigenberger Airport Hotel, although it's a bit away (free shuttle bus every 20 minutes) and not part of one of the big brands. If I'm not mistaken, it was the first airport hotel in Frankfurt.

  36. KK13 Diamond

    I'd guess flying by Condor > Lufthansa

    1. Avi Guest

      Thanks for doing these reviews as usual. Can't wait to hear about the LH lounge in DTW. It's one of the worst :)

  37. WanderingSalesGuy Guest

    I’d definitely skip the AF lounge at FRA. I was there last week and it’s woefully bad. A small, hot room with sub-par food and very little by way of amenities.

    The Hilton FRA is worth a look though. I’ve stayed a few times as a Hilton Diamond and have found it to be pretty decent.

  38. Nick Anderson Guest

    Watch out, I’m booked FRA-SEA in Condor J in mid-March and they switched the A330NEO to an Air Belgium A330 a few days ago. Still 1-2-1, but not the same..

  39. Eric Guest

    Don't waste your time with the Lufthansa Detroit Lounge.. Been there a few times as a Star Alliance Gold while flying United domestic ( Priority Pass from Amex Plat gets you in as well) Small lounge with self serve bar... gets very crowded when there's a Lufthansa departure.. Pre-Pandemic half of it was a Senator Lounge. But that hasn't returned..

  40. tony Guest

    I would like to see a review of the Hyatt Place, Hampton by Hilton or Park Inn at Frankfurt Airport

  41. Jeff Guest

    The Hilton Garden is adjacent to the Hilton. It would be interesting to compare the two properties.

  42. Maxi Guest

    Airside, I could not go from T2 to T1 in FRA, but that was Schengen. I highly recommend for you to check out the LH business lounge (Schengen) above the Panorama lounge (near A26). It has a staffed bar incl barista made coffee and terrific apron & runway views. However, you might not be able to enter with Condor. I prefere it over the senator lounge.

  43. Frank Guest

    Wait, how did you book them? Please mention the miles/cash/mileage program. Please dont turn into the other bloggers who dont mention this information. Your transparency is one if of the reasons I prefer your blog over the others

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Frank -- I went ahead and added that info to the post. Usually I share that info when I publish the actual series, but of course happy to share that now as well.

  44. Peking Duck Guest

    Thanks for keeping up the pace on these review trips. I really enjoy the reading!

  45. David Guest

    You can visit T2 with a T1 Boarding pass in Frankfurt. However, both of the lounges are nothing to write about there. They are on the level of an Aeroflot lounge in 1991.

    1. Greg Guest

      Ben: To answer your question about transferring between FRA T1 and T2. As long as you have first cleared securiTy, you can move freely between the Terminals using the AirTrain. It is a lot of walking though, so minimize heavy carry-ons.

      In March, I am flying UA EWR-FRA connecting with KC to Kazakhstan...this will be my 8th trip since 2004 and I may have to go back in June too.

      Have you ever flown with KC / Air Astana before?

  46. Ben Holz Guest

    I'd prefer the Hilton review personally. Haven't stayed there, but have stayed at both the Steigenberger and Hyatt Place, both of which from my point of view are not really worth talking about (especially considering that the former's brand has such a small footprint).

    1. theebigjuan Guest

      Stayed at the Hyatt Place in August which was OK. The best part of that review would be that it's one stop on the local train to the "Gardens" which has mucho construction and might be a new option for travelers. It's not too long of a ride to get into the city but the rooms around the train station would be generally avoided.

    2. UA-NYC Guest

      Let’s do Hilton. Lucky is a TOP TIER DIAMOND via the Aspire so I bet he gets good treatment from his extreme loyalty.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Srini A Guest

It's not like Lucky is taking a private jet. Besides the plane is going to go with or without him. Much of the offsets are dubious.. There was an in dept article that showed that they are pretty shady. I think it was on John Oliver's show.

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AA70 Diamond

Unnecessary travel? You shouldn’t be reading this blog then. It’s also how the man makes a living, which is kind of important

4
Carl Member

I have flown Condor's business class four times in the last year between North America and Frankfurt with a decidedly mixed experience. I'd love to give feedback on the experience directly to Condor, but I cannot figure out how to do that. They do not seem to have any presence whatsoever on Twitter or Facebook. Maybe they will read this blog. The bottom line is that Condor's website is absolutely terrible for self-help on anything whatsoever after purchasing your ticket, and even purchasing your ticket isn't as easy as it ought to be. And Condor operational reliabililty and customer support during travel is pretty terrible compared to the network carriers. If Condor is going to compete for mainstream North America - Europe traffic that includes connections on either end, Condor is going to have to improve its customer support. I'm not sure whether we'd fly Condor again. Two of my flights were on Condor's ex-Etihad A330-200. A third was supposed to be on an ex-Etihad A330-200 but was switched within two weeks of the flight date to an A330-300 chartered from Wamos Air (I believe it was an ex-Singapore regional configured aircraft), and the last was a Condor 767-300. The Condor ex-Etihad aircraft are the best of the bunch, with a true lie-flat seat that was comfortable for sleeping. The aircraft are dated and not everything about the seat has been maintained to be operational. There was no WiFi at all on any of the four flights (supposed to be coming on the new A330-900neo aircraft.) The soft product was fine. (Blankets still say "Thomas Cook"!). My recollection of the food quality last September was that it was tastier than what was served this month. The Condor flight attendants were friendly and pleasant. The Wamos Air flight attendants were out of their league in trying to deliver business class service. They didn't speak any German and their English was questionable, even the safety announcements were incomprehensible. The Wamos seats were heavily angled and too short, my power outlet didn't work. The 767 is also angled and tired. The Wamos aircraft was six across seating and the window seats don't have direct aisle access. I didn't appreciate getting an email only two weeks before the flight telling me that my flight would now to operated by Wamos Air and almost no information was given on what the change meant. Our seats were changed and there was no way to change seat assignments on the Condor website. All four flights departed late to varying degrees. Boarding was posted to begin 60 minutes before departure time but didn't begin until closer to 30 minutes on the best flights. Condor operational reliability does not appear to be high, and there are frequent delays. I don't know how Condor handles missed onward connections, but I would not count on good support. More on that below. I would recommend not booking onward flights with less than a 3 hour connecting time in order to avoid having to deal with missed connections. One important caveat in booking Condor business class tickets that involve connections: only the Condor flight is in business class, your connections on Lufthansa group flights or Alaska flights will be in coach. In addition, there is no way to determine your Alaska confirmation number from Condor's website, it is not shown, and there doesn't appear to be any way to enter your frequent flyer number until OLCI. (In my cases I originated in SEA, so I didn't have an initial AS segment; but on my return from Europe I had onward AS segments.). I was able to successfully use on line check in for the flights departing US including onward boarding passes. For the return flights, which originated with Lufthansa group segments, Lufthansa's check in process only generated the LH group boarding pass, and would not issue the Condor boarding pass, nor the onward AS boarding pass. This despite the fact that the LH check-in process had all relevant passport, green card, KTN numbers. Further at the originating airport I went to the check in counter and they scanned all the documents but again only the LH boarding pass, did not issue Condor or AS boarding passes. Arriving in FRA from the LH group flight within the secure area, only had to clear immigration (or I suppose emigration?) to reach the Condor gate area. Found out that Condor doesn't maintain any transit counter. There was a flight on another airline to somewhere in the middle east at our gate. Went to a different Condor gate that had a Condor agent. The flight had either departed or wasn't departing for a long time as the gate was empty. Agent didn't want to issue boarding passes, said I'd have to do it at my gate when it opened. I had to press the issue, saying I wanted to use the lounge. Then she reluctantly issued boarding passes. Given that Condor doesn't have a transit counter, they need to retrain agents to proactively help if they are going to offer connecting flights. Biggest issue we experienced, however, was that on arriving at LAX, where we were connecting but had to clear immigration and customs as the first port of entry, one of our checked bags didn't make it. There was no Condor agent to be found in the baggage hall. After about half an hour when most of the passengers had left, I noticed a woman who had a scarf with the Condor stripes. She seemed reluctant to want to help and expressed surprise that there was no Condor agent. She got on her cell phone for a while and then told me she was trying to reach someone but they weren't answering their phone. I asked if there was a list of baggage that hadn't made it? She didn't seem trained. After an hour I asked her to contact the station manager. Eventually she used her phone take photos of my bag tag receipt and boarding pass and used WhatsApp to send them to someone. Still nothing clear. I told her that I wanted to file a missing bag report. Eventually she came back with a QR code that I used my phone to go to a website to file the missing bag report. The entire process took over 90 minutes from when we arrived in the baggage hall. If my connecting flight were not delayed, I would have missed it. It's unacceptable not to have a representative in the baggage hall upon arrival. Especially since you are not supposed to leave the customs area without clearing your luggage. You are just powerless. Condor doesn't monitor Twitter. I had no phone number to call. What is attractive about Condor is a true lie flat seat at a good price (except they could swap out your plane on short notice) and great earnings rate on Alaska Airlines. But if Condor really wants to compete, they need to improve their website experience, and improve customer support during the trip, and especially provide better support when something goes wrong. Given my experiences I am wary of booking any connecting itineraries on Condor. By the way, both times arriving Condor in FRA we arrived at gates in the B concourse that were considered non-secure, meaning we had to reclear security for the onward flight. (Generally when arriving in FRA on UA or LH, you arrive in a sterile area such that you only have to clear immigration for an onward flight within Schengen cities, but not security. The Condor flights arrive in areas were passengers have to reclear security for any onward flight.)

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