Review: Condor A321 Business Class (DUS-ATH)

Review: Condor A321 Business Class (DUS-ATH)

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FROM: DUS
TO: ATH
CABIN: Business
DATE: June 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: Condor's short haul business class represents a great value. We paid a reasonable premium for priority airport services, and a pretty good onboard product. I'd fly Condor again in a heartbeat... just select the bulkhead row!
28

After a few nights in Dusseldorf, we flew Condor’s A321 business class to Athens. I was looking forward to this, as I’ve been curious to check out Condor’s short haul business class experience. I had previously reviewed Condor’s 767 business class, on the fascinating route between Frankfurt and Whitehorse.

Condor is really reinventing itself at the moment — the airline is taking delivery of A330-900neos with a new business class, Condor has a cool new livery, and the carrier is increasingly competing head-to-head with Lufthansa on more routes.

So, how was Condor’s A321 business class? Let’s take a look…

How I booked our Condor business class tickets

Condor had the only nonstop flight between Dusseldorf and Athens on our date. Even though airfare is generally pretty high this summer, we got a great deal. Specifically, we booked the following flight:

06/19 DE1018 Dusseldorf to Athens departing 6:20AM arriving 10:15AM

For this flight, economy tickets started at just $136.99 per person, while business class cost $226.99 per person. We found business class to be well worth it, especially since we had quite a bit of checked luggage, which was included with our business class ticket.

Condor pricing for our flight

At the time we booked, we were also the only people with seats assigned in business class, so I was curious if we’d have the cabin to ourselves.

Condor business class seatmap

By the way, keep in mind that Condor is an Alaska Mileage Plan partner, meaning you can earn and redeem Mileage Plan miles for travel on Condor.

Dusseldorf Airport chaos

I’ve written before about the reality of air travel this summer, and it’s especially bad at European airports. The night before our flight I looked at the scheduled flights from Dusseldorf on the morning of our departure. There were 31 flights scheduled from the airport between 5:50AM and 6:30AM. So we decided to show up at the airport shortly before 4AM, to leave plenty of time. Below are some scenes of what the airport looked like at that time.

The lines were so long that people largely didn’t even know what they were lining up for. I was mostly amazed by the lack of proper queue management. People essentially just had to create their own lines, since there was no one there to direct people about where they should queue.

Long lines at Dusseldorf Airport (DUS)
Long lines at Dusseldorf Airport (DUS)
Long lines at Dusseldorf Airport (DUS)
Long lines at Dusseldorf Airport (DUS)

Condor business class check-in & boarding

I was happy we paid the premium for business class when I saw the queues at the Condor check-in desk.

Condor check-in at Dusseldorf Airport (DUS)

While the business class queue was still really long, with a single agent working, it moved quickly. We “only” had to wait for about 30 minutes, which was a much shorter wait than what other passengers had to deal with.

Condor check-in at Dusseldorf Airport (DUS)

I was also happy to see how Condor’s new branding is already “live” at airports — I’m a fan!

Condor check-in signage at Dusseldorf Airport (DUS)

The priority security line took around 20 minutes, as it would have been much longer if we didn’t have priority security access. Once airside, we briefly visited the Hugo Junkers Lounge, accessible via Priority Pass.

Our flight was boarding from gate B78, which was only a short walk from the security checkpoint. Our boarding passes indicated that boarding would start at 5:35AM, though it actually started at 5:45AM, with business class being invited to board first.

Condor boarding gate at Dusseldorf Airport (DUS)

Our flight was departing from a remote stand, so it took about 10 minutes for the first bus to fill up. At 5:55AM we were driven to the plane, and we arrived there around 6AM.

Bus to remote stand at Dusseldorf Airport (DUS)

OMG WE GOT A CONDOR PLANE IN THE NEW LIVERY! Condor recently introduced a new livery (the stripes come in different colors), and as far as I’m concerned it’s the coolest and boldest livery ever. I liked it even more in person than in pictures.

Condor A321 in new livery
Condor A321 in new livery

For what it’s worth, we were flying the Condor Airbus A321 with the registration code D-AIAC, a roughly eight year old plane.

Condor A321 business class cabin & seats

Condor’s Airbus A321s are in a really dense configuration, with 220 seats. Generally speaking, intra-Europe business class consists of economy class seats with a blocked middle. Usually there’s a curtain between cabins, but in this case there wasn’t. Instead there was simply a headrest on the center seat saying “Business” and “Your Space” (meaning that the seat stays empty).

Condor Airbus A321 cabin

We took our seats in row two, and found the legroom to be awful. Like, I’m not especially tall, and even when sitting as far back in the seat as possible, my knees were touching the seat in front. Otherwise this was a pretty standard economy seat.

Condor Airbus A321 cabin
Condor Airbus A321 seats
Condor Airbus A321 legroom
Condor Airbus A321 tray table

Oddly we noticed how the first row of seats had amenities on the center seats and also had the headrest noting that it was business class, while the second row didn’t.

Condor business class blocked middle seat

I asked the flight attendant about this. She was extremely apologetic and friendly — “ah, so you are the business class passengers, welcome to your cozy, private cabin, and make yourself comfortable wherever you’d like.”

We were very happy about that, because the bulkhead had excellent legroom, by comparison. If you fly Condor’s short haul business class, make sure you reserve the first row, because otherwise the legroom is awful.

While the flight was otherwise nearly full, the entire first two rows were just for us, so we each took one of the window seats in the first row.

Condor A321 business class seats
Condor A321 business class seats
Condor A321 bulkhead legroom
Condor A321 business class tray table

I appreciated that the overhead consoles not only had reading lights, but also individual air nozzles, which is especially useful on a European airline given how warm the cabins are often kept.

Condor A321 overhead console

The cabin was otherwise pretty no-frills. Condor’s A321s don’t have any power ports or Wi-Fi, so make sure you bring your own entertainment to stay occupied, and that electronics are properly charged before getting on.

Condor business class amenities

Waiting on the seats in the first row were pretty comfortable pillows. It’s nice that these are proactively offered, given that most airlines only offer these on request in intra-Europe business class.

Condor business class pillows & amenities
Condor business class pillows

There was also a pouch with a disinfecting wipe and travel organizer. That’s an unusual amenity to offer onboard, though it’s a cool concept. I guess this is probably sponsored by the company that sells these?

Condor business class amenities
Condor business class amenities

Condor departure from Dusseldorf

The boarding process was a bit chaotic, as the flight attendant had to ask just about every other passenger to put on a mask. Germany requires masks on planes but not at airports. Even though there were several announcements about needing masks during boarding, so many passengers boarded without them on.

By 6:20AM boarding was complete, at which point the captain announced our flight time of 2hr35min, and advised that we’d need to wait another 10 minutes before pushing back, as we only had a departure slot at 6:40AM.

We did indeed push back at 6:30AM, at which point a manual safety demonstration was performed. We had a 10 minute taxi to runway 5R, where we’d be departing from.

Pushing back Dusseldorf Airport (DUS)
Taxiing Dusseldorf Airport (DUS)

Hi, fellow sexy Condor plane!

Gorgeous Condor A320 in new livery

Careful near the runway, bird!

Taking off from Dusseldorf Airport (DUS)

We had a smooth climb out, though oddly it took over 20 minutes for the seatbelt sign to be turned off.

View after takeoff from Dusseldorf Airport (DUS)
View after takeoff from Dusseldorf Airport (DUS)

Condor business class inflight service

Condor business class passengers receive a free hot meal, plus unlimited complimentary drinks. So about 30 minutes after takeoff a tray liner was brought out, also with Condor’s new branding.

Condor business class tray liner

We were first offered drinks — I ordered a cup of coffee and a bottle of water. There’s no glassware in Condor’s regional business class, but rather you receive cups like in economy.

Condor business class drinks

About 15 minutes later our breakfast was brought out. This consisted of an English breakfast and a couple of muffins.

Condor business class breakfast
Condor business class breakfast description
Condor business class cutlery

The breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, potatoes, turkey sausage, and turkey bacon. That was accompanied by a dessert with two different muffins. As far as airplane breakfasts go, I thought this was one was surprisingly decent, and it tasted better than I was expecting when I was first served it.

Condor business class breakfast

The purser was primarily just looking after us for the entire flight, since we were the only ones in business class. We were offered several water and coffee refills. Toward the end of the flight we were also offered a small box of Lily O’Brien’s chocolates, as she joked that she couldn’t let us off the plane without serving us at least a few more calories.

Condor business class pre-landing chocolates
Condor business class pre-landing chocolates

The flight attendant was truly lovely, kind, and funny, and just seemed a bit less serious than on Lufthansa (in a good way). For what it’s worth, below is part of the Condor buy on board menu. As mentioned above, drinks are free in business class, though I don’t think you can order additional food for free.

Condor buy on board menu
Condor buy on board menu

Condor A321 business class lavatory

There was a lavatory located at the front of the A321 cabin. One downside to Condor’s business class setup is that this isn’t actually reserved for business class passengers, since there’s no curtain between economy and business.

Condor A321 cabin

This wasn’t at all an issue, since Ford and I were both in window seats. However, if you’re sitting in an aisle seat, you may not be happy when a line forms right near you.

Condor A321 lavatory

Condor arrival in Athens

About 30 minutes before landing, the captain announced that we’d soon be starting our descent. Just a few minutes after that the seatbelt sign was turned on, and the cabin was prepared for landing. As usual, views approaching Athens were amazing — I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

View approaching Athens (ATH)
View approaching Athens (ATH)
View approaching Athens (ATH)
View approaching Athens (ATH)
View approaching Athens (ATH)
View approaching Athens (ATH)
View approaching Athens (ATH)
View approaching Athens (ATH)
View approaching Athens (ATH)

We touched down at Athens Airport at 10:30AM. From there we had a five minute taxi to our remote stand, from which we were bused to the terminal.

Arrival stand Athens (ATH)
Remote stand Athens (ATH)

The remote stand meant we got another look at our gorgeous A321!

Condor A321 upon arrival in Athens

Once in the arrivals hall, our bags arrived in under five minutes, which was a pleasant surprise.

Bottom line

Condor offers a great value business class on short haul flights, with priority airport services, a decent meal, unlimited drinks, and a friendly crew. I feel like we paid a reasonable premium for what we got, especially given that we were the only ones in business class. Condor’s legroom on short haul aircraft is really limited, so if flying business class I’d highly recommend booking the bulkhead.

It’s exciting to see Condor becoming increasingly competitive with Lufthansa, both in terms of its route network and product. I can’t wait to fly Condor’s new A330-900neos when they enter service.

If you’ve flown Condor’s regional business class, what was your experience like?

Conversations (28)
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  1. HighPeak Guest

    The Condor scheme is supposed to represent beach towels. Once you know that it makes more sense though may still not appeal. I find it difficult to look at as the vertical stripes seem to fight the natural horizontal-ness of airliners.

  2. Travelman5 Guest

    Interesting…the comments about the livery. I’ve never noticed, and sitting in guard, could not care less. I am wondering though, when the promised Condor Cologne-Orlando route will start. We were told Condor was starting it right after AirBerlin ceased flying it. Love to try Condor. (Lufthansa’s 747 queens are rather inviting too though.)

  3. Leigh Guest

    Still not convinced about the livery. Personally I think the stripes should have stopped just forward of the wing.

    Regardless, nice to hear about the great service.

    And any review that involves Greece makes me smile. Dang, I love the country, and Athens is so underrated…it’s stunning.

  4. Steve K. Guest

    Are these inflight conversations taking place in German or English? Just curious.

  5. kevan Guest

    Presumably Economy Best is their name for Premium Economy?As it's not much more expensive than Economy I'm guessing it's probably not worth it except if you get a speedier check-in and looking at Dusseldorf Airport (so much for Germany 's famed organization!) you'll need it.Mind you can't really knock Dusseldorf as the problem is everywhere at the moment.

  6. Chris Guest

    As someone who does a roundtrip in Condor Business Class to Greece about once a year I agree with everything you said, except for the bulkhead: If you have long legs these seats are miserable because all the space under the seat before you goes away and there is no way to stretch at all. I was really pissed when the moved us there last year despite specifically booking the second row (we only had...

    As someone who does a roundtrip in Condor Business Class to Greece about once a year I agree with everything you said, except for the bulkhead: If you have long legs these seats are miserable because all the space under the seat before you goes away and there is no way to stretch at all. I was really pissed when the moved us there last year despite specifically booking the second row (we only had one other Business Class passenger besides us).

    Note that this is not specific to Condor, but true for most European bulkhead seats. The important exception are those planes without an actual bulkhead where you can stretch your feed over the doors (e.g. Easyjet A319).

  7. George Guest

    "Condor had the only nonstop flight between Dusseldorf and Athens on our date."

    Wait, what? Aegean Airlines had no direct flight on June 19th?? They run a daily service and even "upgraded" the aircraft type on some of those busier dates to an A321 to cope with high demand, they'd be crazy not to have flown on the 19th.
    Perhaps it was available, but was more expensive, so you opted for Condor? That was...

    "Condor had the only nonstop flight between Dusseldorf and Athens on our date."

    Wait, what? Aegean Airlines had no direct flight on June 19th?? They run a daily service and even "upgraded" the aircraft type on some of those busier dates to an A321 to cope with high demand, they'd be crazy not to have flown on the 19th.
    Perhaps it was available, but was more expensive, so you opted for Condor? That was a nice price you paid there and I am extremely surprised to see nobody else in business class, which on my flight was full and with a much higher price-tag.

    1. Grey Member

      I was also curious about that. Quite surprised that Aegean would not have had any flight on that day.

    2. George Guest

      Well, according to flightaware and as I was expecting, Aegean's flight had a couple of minutes delay but definitely took place on that (as well as every other) day. Can't understand why this wasn't a possibility for @Ben and I certainly don't think Aegean Airlines isn't known to him (and even if someone had never heard of an airline, flying into a certain country, you'd assume they'd check for any airlines originating in that country).

  8. Adam Guest

    I honestly think its the coolest scheme in the world right now

    Runner up if the Azerbaijan Airways blue scheme. Its gorgeous too

    Adam

  9. S Member

    "The boarding process was a bit chaotic, as the flight attendant had to ask just about every other passenger to put on a mask. Germany requires masks on planes but not at airports. Even though there were several announcements about needing masks during boarding, so many passengers boarded without them on."

    To be fair, that is a nonsensical and stupid policy.

    1. Julia Guest

      To be fair, that is the policy and people most likely knew about it before boarding.

  10. Klaus Guest

    What a biased review. Four stars even though the legroom sucks. Condor business class ist worse than Lufthansa and does not even include Lounge assess.
    That just proves once again how you love bashing Lufthansa you biased reviewer

    1. Yann Guest

      Condor does offer lounge access in C, eg. the business lounges at FRA.

    2. Chris Guest

      You can use either Hugo Junkers Lounge or Open Sky Lounge in Duesseldorf:
      https://www.condor.com/us/fly-enjoy/classes-rates/business-class/business-lounges.jsp
      https://www.condor.com/eu/fly-enjoy/travel-classes/business/short-and-mediumhaul.jsp

    3. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      So because "you"... whoever you happen to be... disagree with it, it's therefore biased?

      #NotHowThingsWork

  11. Rav Guest

    I think that Condor's new livery is great. It certainly catches the eye. The colorful stripes remind me of Braniff Airlines "flying colors" in that there are different colored aircraft. Clever livery!

  12. Tim Dunn Diamond

    While the livery seems to be a hot topic here, I will say that I have flown multiple flights in/out of Athens recently and Aegean by far had the best service of any of them. Their coach legroom was better than you had in business and their flight attendants were fast and efficient, even if not as personal in coach but they were up front. Their coach food was not as good as in your...

    While the livery seems to be a hot topic here, I will say that I have flown multiple flights in/out of Athens recently and Aegean by far had the best service of any of them. Their coach legroom was better than you had in business and their flight attendants were fast and efficient, even if not as personal in coach but they were up front. Their coach food was not as good as in your picture but I'm sure it was better than Condor in coach.

    European domestic travel overall is is closer to US ultra discount carriers while US legacy and low cost carriers offer more - esp. space- than domestic flights in Europe.

    Add in that a growing number of US airlines have seatback entertainment and the value proposition for US domestic travel is better than in Europe - not something you hear many people say.

  13. Tobias Guest

    Flew them earlier this week from Palma/Mallorca to Hamburg, four tickets in Business Class for just under 500 EUR total (booked in June). Found the crew really friendly and attentive and enjoyed the entire experience, including the opportunity to skip the massive queues at the airport in Palma.

  14. stogieguy7 Diamond

    This livery doesn't work for an aircraft. The old concept of a cheatline worked so beautifully because that horizontal line implied graceful forward movement. Vertical lines imply the opposite. It just doesn't work, nor does it look like they're running a serious airline. More like a Spirit-style play airline.

    Oh, and, as mangoMan said below, Condor's jets now look like refugees from a pack of Fruit Stripe gum.

    1. pstm91 Diamond

      "Beautiful" and "graceful" are clearly not the goal with this. It's a leisure airline going for something fun and different. Yes, it looks like a pack of gum and it stands out. It has clearly worked so far in that it has people paying attention and talking about the airline. If that's not successful marketing, then I don't know what is. Eventually people will become used to it, but for now it's working.

    2. stogieguy7 Diamond

      So, it's a throwaway livery then? Because I don't see this mess gracing their a/c for the next 10-15 years. It will get very old. You're right in that it generates publicity and I'll give you that. But much of my comment was in response to Ben's fawning at the "stunning" livery.

      Stunning only in it's silliness.

    3. pstm91 Diamond

      Well now you're just debating the aesthetics and beauty of it, which is completely subjective. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean everyone hates it. In fact if you read comments on other sites, it seems that tons of people love it. I'm pretty indifferent on it other than thinking it's fun and it's nice to see something different, considering every legacy carrier nowadays seems to go with the standard script.

      I never...

      Well now you're just debating the aesthetics and beauty of it, which is completely subjective. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean everyone hates it. In fact if you read comments on other sites, it seems that tons of people love it. I'm pretty indifferent on it other than thinking it's fun and it's nice to see something different, considering every legacy carrier nowadays seems to go with the standard script.

      I never said it's a throwaway/temporary thing. I'm willing to bet you thought Spirits bright yellow wouldn't stick around either.

  15. VT-CIE Guest

    It’s very rare that I hate an airline redesign. But Condor is that one airline which has violated just about everything that makes a good design to me. Nothing against the striped livery as such. The worst thing of all, however, is that the titles are below the windows, a huge blunder that Asiana, BA, Norwegian, etc. have made. That’s a huge wastage of space. Moreover, the titles are barely visible at all against those...

    It’s very rare that I hate an airline redesign. But Condor is that one airline which has violated just about everything that makes a good design to me. Nothing against the striped livery as such. The worst thing of all, however, is that the titles are below the windows, a huge blunder that Asiana, BA, Norwegian, etc. have made. That’s a huge wastage of space. Moreover, the titles are barely visible at all against those coloured stripes.

    Also, I’m completely opposed to the overwhelming usage of Helvetica Black. I wished those days had stopped with LH’s rebrand in 2018. EK and S7 give us enough Helvetica already, and I most definitely did not need Condor to give more. Not that I hate Helvetica, but Condor makes it look aggressive and alpha-male, a far cry from the previous friendly Gilroy font.

    I know I shouldn’t be speaking as violently as I am about an airline rebrand, and many people (myself included) like the bold, colourful stripes on the plane, but there’s too much that puts me off. No, I’ll never come to terms with Condor’s rebrand.

    1. Weymar Osborne Gold

      I don't know, airline liveries are becoming increasingly formulaic. The Lufthansa/Icelandair/Aer Lingus/SAS/Qanats (to be fair they've had it for a lot longer) formula of "white fuselage with solid color beginning at the rear underside working it's way up through the tail with a logo on it" is becoming increasingly ubiquitous and frankly, dull. Condor's livery is gaudy and eclectic but I think it's also kind of fun and well represents their leisure rather than business...

      I don't know, airline liveries are becoming increasingly formulaic. The Lufthansa/Icelandair/Aer Lingus/SAS/Qanats (to be fair they've had it for a lot longer) formula of "white fuselage with solid color beginning at the rear underside working it's way up through the tail with a logo on it" is becoming increasingly ubiquitous and frankly, dull. Condor's livery is gaudy and eclectic but I think it's also kind of fun and well represents their leisure rather than business focus. Do I want every airline to start copying this formula? Absolutely not, but on a single airline it makes them stand out and is memorable.

  16. GBOAC Diamond

    Yes the livery is definitely different, but I wonder how long Ben will continue to think it's great. I expect it to become old and tiresome very quickly.

  17. Ben Guest

    I had a flight from Düsseldorf within days of your flight and they were absolutely no crowds. I guess it just depends on what time you go

  18. mangoMan Guest

    That livery reminds me of Fruit Stripe Gum, if anyone remembers that.

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Weymar Osborne Gold

I don't know, airline liveries are becoming increasingly formulaic. The Lufthansa/Icelandair/Aer Lingus/SAS/Qanats (to be fair they've had it for a lot longer) formula of "white fuselage with solid color beginning at the rear underside working it's way up through the tail with a logo on it" is becoming increasingly ubiquitous and frankly, dull. Condor's livery is gaudy and eclectic but I think it's also kind of fun and well represents their leisure rather than business focus. Do I want every airline to start copying this formula? Absolutely not, but on a single airline it makes them stand out and is memorable.

4
VT-CIE Guest

It’s very rare that I hate an airline redesign. But Condor is that one airline which has violated just about everything that makes a good design to me. Nothing against the striped livery as such. The worst thing of all, however, is that the titles are below the windows, a huge blunder that Asiana, BA, Norwegian, etc. have made. That’s a huge wastage of space. Moreover, the titles are barely visible at all against those coloured stripes. Also, I’m completely opposed to the overwhelming usage of Helvetica Black. I wished those days had stopped with LH’s rebrand in 2018. EK and S7 give us enough Helvetica already, and I most definitely did not need Condor to give more. Not that I hate Helvetica, but Condor makes it look aggressive and alpha-male, a far cry from the previous friendly Gilroy font. I know I shouldn’t be speaking as violently as I am about an airline rebrand, and many people (myself included) like the bold, colourful stripes on the plane, but there’s too much that puts me off. No, I’ll never come to terms with Condor’s rebrand.

4
Julia Guest

To be fair, that is the policy and people most likely knew about it before boarding.

1
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