: Condor B757-300 DUS-LPA Y
Background: The Canary Islands, despite being part of Spain, are very far away, at about 1,000 miles from Madrid. My recent trip to Gran Canaria had me originating in Germany, a distance of almost 2,000 miles or almost 5h scheduled for nonstop flights! Condor, a German leisure airline, offered a nonstop flight, leaving at a convenient time, on a unique aircraft, the Boeing 757-300 - a perfect choice for my journey.
To be comfortable on such a long flight, I thought the increased legroom of the exit row was a necessity. I was happy to get a really good economy price, and I pre-booked my exit row seat and even a hot meal. I was looking forward to a comfortable nonstop flight in the exit row, and excited for a brand-new airline, in fact, a brand-new type
of airline, a European leisure carrier, Condor, operating a unique aircraft, the 757-300.
Please enjoy the report on my Condor experience, and I look forward to your comments.
Departure: 12:40 (actual 13:58)
Arrival: 16:30 (actual 17:32)
Actual Block Time: 4h34
Actual Flight Time: 4h17
Seat: 26D Economy XL-Seat
Not knowing much about Condor, such as what to expect regarding a possible check-in line, I decided to go very early to check-in at the airport, arriving to check-in zone 182-190 at 09:05. I found four counters open: one for Economy, two for bag drop, and one for Premium Class. The queue was over-filled, but moved consistently due to all four counters assisting the Economy line. The check-in took 20 minutes. A very friendly agent checked my bag, provided a cardstock boarding pass, confirmed my exit row seat assignment and eligibility, and finally weighed my carry-on bag and provided a cabin bag tag. It was easy and efficient with nice personal service.
Condor actually offers a product equivalent to Business Class, their Premium Class
, similar to European Business Class, with Economy seats at the front of the plane, but with the middle seat kept free, a greater baggage allowance, priority boarding and bag handling, and complimentary meals. At almost 5h scheduled, this was going to be quite a long flight, so I passed on Premium Class, preferring instead to book an exit row seat for more legroom on this long flight, while simultaneously getting a really good price. My baggage fit within the lower 20kg Economy limit, and I pre-booked my seat and meal, missing out only on the priority services. The 757-300 has many exit rows, but by the time of my booking, only one had remaining seats: the overwing exit row. I was happy with my booking and looking forward to lots of space in the exit row. I was also excited for a new airline, and a new flight on the rare 757-300. A convenient nonstop route, leaving at a convenient time, was the icing on the cake.
I headed to B Gates security, where I found a short 10-minute line with a full-body scanner. My gate was B26, which appeared to be a bus gate. I was at the gate by 10:05. Boarding was set for 11:55, and departure for 12:40. It had been a very smooth, if early, Condor experience so far. While I waited at my gate, passengers for a Eurowings prop plane flight to Marseilles departed by bus from my gate.
Boarding began five minutes late, leading to a very large mob surrounding gate B26, made worse by the fact that the adjacent jetbridge gate B25 was boarding a delayed Condor A320 to Tenerife. Boarding began with families with small children and people needing assistance, then Premium Class and priority customers. Then all passengers were called, but boarding continued only through the priority lane. I went down the stairs and just missed the first bus, but the second had already arrived. We drove to my waiting Condor 757-300, D-ABOC. D-ABOC is a 757-300 dating to 1999, and my fourth 757-300. Condor is my third 757-300 operator, after Delta and United.
On-Stand in DUS:
Stairs were set up for boarding through the second door and the last door. I boarded through the second door, and made a right turn to go back to 26D, my aisle seat in the overwing exit row. I observed that the Door 2, boarding door exit row offered excellent legroom, but the overwing exit row legroom was also very good...more than enough for this long fight. My seat was located about at the halfway point of the cabin. The seats were super slim profile, and did not recline.
Exit Row Seat Branding:
After another bus or two, boarding was already being announced as complete, with my two seat mates among the last to arrive. The captain's welcome announcement said he expected to start the engines on-time. Takeoff will be to the west, crossing the River Rhein before turning towards Gran Canaria. This was followed by the flight attendant welcome message, both in German and English. The safety video played on overhead screens. Pushback was at 12:42.
As pushback finished and engines started, there was lots of commotion coming from behind me, soon turning to lots of people crying out for help and call buttons being rung. The aircraft abruptly stopped and flight attendants went running down the aisle. There was soon an announcement asking for any doctors onboard. A passenger seated five rows behind me had had some sort of medical episode. The aircraft pulled back to the parking position under its own power, then the engines were shut down. The gentleman ended up seemingly normal, but an ambulance soon arrived, and stairs were attached, paramedics came on and the man and his family left the plane. Soon an announcement came from the captain explaining the situation and advising that the baggage service had just arrived to remove their luggage. During the roughly one-hour wait, flight attendants offered water. When the announcement that we were ready to go finally came, it was accompanied by a round of applause. That was a first for me, and I was really glad that if it had to happen, it happened on the ground before departure. I've never experienced a diversion, but I'm not exactly looking to experience one, either.
The view from 26D:
Our new pushback time was 13:58. We took off at 14:10. It was a takeoff from a stop. I was treated to great engine noise sitting here; it sounded very powerful, and I was pushed back into my seat and enjoyed good speed.
A video about inflight service was played, highlighting the menu, inflight entertainment and onboard shopping; it was followed by a flight attendant announcement repeating much the same content as the video. Pre-ordered meals or sandwiches were to be served first, with complimentary water, coffee and tea. Other snacks and beverages would be sold later. Premium Class includes complimentary lunch with all beverage choices included.
Condor has an interesting Taste the World
menu offering of hot meals: With its new Taste the World delicacies, Condor had its sights set on taste sensations from around the world. Choose from a selection of the world's most popular delicious dishes. Enjoy tantalizing aromas and high quality ingredients - our wide selection offers something for every palate, every time of day and every budget. Take off on a culinary tour of the world with Condor!
Selections include the Best of Germany (braised beef), Best of Austria (schnitzel), Best of Italy (tortellini with cheese sauce), Best of India (lentil curry), and Best of Sweden (meatballs). At least two further options had been available for pre-ordering online: Best of England (full English breakfast) and Best of Thailand (red chicken curry). I had considered the Best of Austria schnitzel, but was unsure how something like that would be on a plane. I had ended up pre-ordering the Best of Thailand curry, thinking airline curry would likely be pretty good.
A captain announcement offered details of the flight. We were looking to be about 50 minutes delayed. We took off from Düsseldorf 23L to the west. We climbed to our cruising altitude 33,000 feet. We now have 3h45 remaining flight time, and expect to land at 17:45 local time. The weather is a very nice 23 degrees.
The curtain at the very front of the plane was shut to the galley. No other curtains were present, giving me a view of the entire cabin in front of me. I could soon see Premium Class being served lunch, and immediately afterwards, the first trolley started back to Economy. This cart contained the pre-ordered hot meals. It quickly made its way back through the cabin, stopping every few rows to serve a customer here and there. There were not too many pre-orders. My Best of Thailand curry was served, and it came with strawberry mousse for dessert. The flight attendant offered hot coffee, tea, or water, and I asked for a still water. I was offered tea and coffee, too. I was given a small cup of water, and my meal was complete.
Condor Pre-order Meal, Best of Thailand
As I had hoped, the Thai Curry was excellent, well cooked and tasty. The strawberry mousse hit the spot, too. The next cart was already on its way down the aisle to make sales. Many passengers were actually making purchases, primarily juice or coffee. I bought a bottle of water and a beer. I got a half-liter bottle of water, and the beer was Carlsberg, a nice choice as it was my first time having it on a plane. I should mention that this cart only had drinks and snacks. It appeared that the only way to get a hot meal was to pre-order it in advance. No sales of hot meals took place.
I just noticed that the overhead IFE was in progress; it looked like an episode of Paw Patrol
. This was followed by Modern Family
. So far I was sticking with my own music. I was very much enjoying my overwing exit row seat. I noticed that the space near the super-spacious Door 2 exit row was regularly occupied, first during our time on the ground by people waiting to use the 2L lav, and now inflight for the same reason. Now a man was standing in that area, holding a baby rocking it to sleep. The overwing exit row, while not offering unlimited legroom like the Door 2 exit row, has plenty of legroom, with no one standing in it. And being equidistant from the lav at 2L and 3L, hardly anyone was passing by. On the downside though, a problem common to all seats, was how warm it was onboard. There were overhead vents, but they were either broken or not enabled, and it was about the warmest it could be before getting uncomfortable. That being said, I admit Americans prefer colder air conditioning.
An announcement about onboard shopping from the Condor Bordshop was made, and then four shopping trolleys passed through the aisle. Quite a few people made purchases, many more than I had expected. After the inflight shopping, Guardians of the Galaxy
started. There was about 2h to go, and I was beginning to consider whether to go to the galley to get a fresh drink and snack. Fortunately I saw the flight attendants once again coming down the aisle offering exactly that. Once again there were many customers, primarily buying snacks this time. I was happy to buy a second midflight beer, plus a pre-arrival snack. I ordered some cookies for my pre-arrival snack, and to go with them, a Capri Sun - trinkspass an bord!
It was quite a tasty arrival snack.
And now on the IFE, The Big Bang Theory
, which was followed by Lego Star Wars
. Now not much on the IFE had interested me so far, but Lego movies really make no sense at all. We hit a small patch of turbulence which forced the seatbelt sign to go on. I heard seatbelts being fastened throughout the cabin. Different from home, apparently nearly everyone unfastens the seatbelt when the sign goes off. Indeed as soon as it once again went off, looking up the aisle, all the seatbelts as far as I can see are again unfastened. Another difference from home? People are standing throughout the aisle so as to stretch. People aren't so used to long flights, which are much less common in Europe than in the States. If I wanted to use the lav right now, I'd have to push past six people, none of whom are in line for the lav.
With roughly an hour to go, it was indeed time for a restroom break. Rather than go forward to L2, where there was consistently a line of two to three people (all of whom were waiting in the exit row seat space), I decided to go aft to L3. I found no line, because it turned out there were three lavatories there. I returned to my seat for the remainder of the flight. The IFE seemed finished now. FYI it was a two-prong headphone jack. I had actually brought a two-prong adapter, but didn't end up watching anything on the flight. I would have preferred less kid-oriented programming, and come to think of it, they should put a moving map from time to time, as it's hard to keep track of how long we have left on a flight this long to a different time zone.
At 18:00 the captain announced that we'll shortly be beginning our descent into Gran Canaria, expecting to land in less than 30 minutes.
Landing was to the north at 18:27, and we parked on-stand at 18:32. The bus to the terminal arrived there at 18:49, or 17:49 local time.
On-Stand in LPA:
Condor was pretty good. My hot pre-order meal was very good, and I really liked the creativity and variety on offer due to the fun Taste the World
program. Two snack cart passes were a nice touch since the flight was so long. There were a good variety of snacks and drinks for sale, and at reasonable prices. IFE was nice to offer and playing the whole flight, but with a plane full of German adults heading on vacation, all the kid shows missed the mark. The seat was pretty good, with excellent room even though my whole row was occupied. I don't know why the seat bottom had to be so small, though; if it were bigger, it would really improve comfort. And I wish it had not been so warm! But even with that, it was still a good seat for this long flight. And the bonus was the rare 757-300. I would be happy to fly Condor again.
Previous Flying Europe
trip reports:Flying Europe: Swiss Avro RJ100 & Helvetic F100 JFlying Europe: Lufthansa B737-500 & A321 JFlying Europe: Air France A319 J & HOP! CRJ-1000 YFlying Europe: BA Club World B767-300ER To FRAFlying Europe: Air Dolomiti E195 BUD-MUC JFlying Europe: Singapore B777-300ER MUC-MAN JFlying Europe: KLM Cityhopper E190 & F70 YFlying Europe: LAN B787-8 FRA-MAD JFlying Europe: Hahn Air Business Jet LUX-DUSFlying Europe: Joon A320 TXL-CDG J