Old Oct 4, 18, 4:19 pm
  #201  
wonderlaw
 
Join Date: May 2015
Programs: AS MVP Gold 75K, Aeroplan
Posts: 39
Why You Don't Want to Book on Condor and Condor is a Poor Partner Choice for AS

Originally Posted by WesternCDN View Post
Condor partnership has been around for a few months now, but having just returned on a Condor redemption thought I'd add my brief experience.
. . .
Overall, Condor is certainly a budget airline and you can notice it during your flight (at least in economy). Flights are regularly delayed, legroom tight, and IFE isn't free, but if you're looking for a cheap redemption to Europe I'd certainly fly them again. Just thought I'd add my voice to the other posts here in case anyone was thinking of booking an economy redemption with them!
I will weigh in with an entirely different debacle experience since I won't be flying, booking, or redeeming on Condor again. EVER. At the start of the year, four of us booked business class mileage award tickets SEA/FRA on DE 2033 departing Seattle Friday, August 17 at 1805. Walking to check-in a little before 3:30 p.m., we received a text from Condor that the flight would have a slight delay. Bear in mind, this was the first delay notice we received. The gate agent (Swissport -- no Condor staff in sight) told us the plane was delayed because it was still on the ground in Frankfurt (I would suspect they knew it wasn't going to take off on time from Seattle since FRA is at least 10 1/2 hours away plus plane turnover time). At that time, there were at least four (4) seats on British connecting through LHR, four (4) seats on Lufthansa in business the next day at 1:30 p.m., and several other routings to FRA. BUT, Condor doesn't have anyone on the ground able to assist passengers, doesn't rebook on other airlines, doesn't do anything to re-accommodate travelers, leaving the helpless and clueless Swissport staff on their own. We spent an hour (ok, I exaggerate -- I just looked it up and it was only 57 minutes) on the phone with the AS MVPG and Partner Travel desks to see if we can be re-accommodated, rebooked, or somehow get out of Seattle (having not so much confidence in Condor at this point), only to have the AS representative tell us they spent almost all of the time on hold because they don't have numbers for Condor directly and have to go through the queue just like everyone else. So we are stuck in Seattle for now.

So the Condor Swissport agents sent us to the Red Lion Seatac for the night (no vouchers, just a handwritten note that said Red Lion Seatac) and instructed us to be at check-in the next day at 10:00 a.m. for a 1:00 p.m. Saturday departure. On arrival at the Red Lion Seatac they had no idea who we were or why we were there. It turned out Condor Swissport staff sent us (and just about everyone else on the Condor flight) to the wrong hotel; they meant the Red Lion Renton (memo to self: never stay at that hotel again!). So, never ones to let a delayed flight get us down, we go out for a nice meal, have as nice a sleep as you can have in a non-smoking room where the guests ignore the non-smoking rules, next to a celebratory group that was a little bit too energized for early sleep.

The next morning was as close as I have come to seeing a riot in an airport. A Condor Swissport agent called 911 once regarding one aggressive passenger (I think the agent overreacted and the passenger, while angry (who wasn't?), did not threaten or touch the individual. But, there were a lot of angry people. I think they got angry when, after being issued their boarding passes (like us), the Condor Swissport agents told the waiting passengers that instead of sending the crew out at 1:00 p.m. on the plane that had just finally arrived with the rested crew that had been in Seattle for almost 48 hours, the rested crew would fly as scheduled on the regularly scheduled Saturday 1805 flight and those of us told to arrive for a 1:00 p.m. departure could cool our heels and return yet again to the airport for a 1:30 a.m. Sunday departure. Of course, by this time, any opportunities to get out of Seattle on an alternative airline were dwindling, BA's Saturday flights were filled, morning opportunities with AA had passed, and things were pretty slim. After another half hour with AS MVPG and the partner desk, I had enough, cashed in a March flight to Europe booked with Aeroplan, transferred some more Amex points to Aeroplan, and took the last four coach seats on Lufthansa to Frankfurt (with the assistance of a very helpful Aeroplan rep). It appears the Condor flight eventually left Seattle, but once we get beyond thirty hours late on a vacation with others flying in from around the world to meet it becomes too much.

The takeaways are (1) both AS and Aeroplan had great representatives, (2) Condor has no (zero/zilch/nada) customer service, (3) Condor has no plan, ability, or desire to rebook onto other airlines, so don't plan on service like if you had booked with AA, BA, Cathay, JAL, or the rest of the AS MP Partners, and (4) it will be a cold day in an otherwise hot place that I am in a seat on a Condor plane. The future takeaway is that, although the EU 261 rules require Condor compensation for the delay in this case (at the least, it ceased being mechanical when the opted and then reversed their decision to have the rested crew fly the plane out at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday to avoid having a pair of planes with EU 261 liability), I think we will be denied by Condor until we get some small claims judgments and then have the King County Sheriff seize the Condor plane to satisfy the judgment (it apparently happened in Salzburg for a disgruntled customer). Condor really isn't an airline partner; at best they are a charter airline running charter quality service on routes that may be regularly scheduled but are as regularly delayed as they are scheduled.
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