This weeks Fabulous Friday is about reasonably priced cash upgrades to higher cabin classes on German charter carrier Condor that offers a decent Premium Economy Class on short haul flights.
I was invited to a friends family function on Madeira Island (Portugal) and found a very affordable flight from Duesseldorf to Funchal for just 120 EUR roundtrip on Condor as last minute deal from holiday tour operator Thomas Cook.
These fares are obviously in simple Economy Class but they also include baggage which the cheapest Economy Light fares that Condor offers do not.
Booking Premium Economy Fares through Condor itself can be quite expensive as the following example shows:
In this case for Thursday next week the difference would be 170 EUR between the lowest Economy Class fare and Premium Economy.
In my case the round trip pricing was as follows:
Condor Lowest Fare (Economy Light): 109,80 EUR
Condor Premium Economy Class: 469,90 EUR
Thomas Cook Last Minute Economy Class: 120,00 EUR – BOOKED
Upgrade Fee per Way: 70,00 EUR
Total: 260 EUR for Premium Economy – Saved: 209,90 EUR
The Upgrades are only available exactly seven days in advance as it seems otherwise I’d have just booked the lowest Condor light fare and then upgrade but I didn’t want to risk being stuck with that.
You can call Condor up and request the Upgrade (if available) which they then process right away. The fee for Duesseldorf – Funchal – Duesseldorf was 70 EUR per way.
I find the charge of 70 EUR reasonable because in Economy Condor charges money for everything nowadays and by that I mean EVERYTHING. I guess that’s the only way to stay profitable and competitive in this market segment.
The product itself (see details here on the Condor Website) is similar to Lufthansa European Business Class. Same seats as Economy Class with the middle seat blocked and with extra services such as seat reservation, premium meal and unlimited beverages.
On the ground: Priority Check-In/Baggage/Boarding Fast Lane for security and (very important for me) higher carry-on allowance of 10KG instead of 6KG. I didn’t end up checking any baggage in but will do so on the way back.
Downside: The seats can’t be reclined. Not even an inch! I’ll review the flight itself at a later point.
You can also collect miles with Lufthansa Miles & More (600 miles per segment) or even better with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan (125% base miles [status qualifying] for Premium Economy Class). Problem: The agent didn’t know how to put my Alaska Airlines number in.
I can very recommend investing this reasonable amount for flights such as these holiday carriers that are often full to the brim in Economy Class.
My flight DUS-FNC took roughly 4 hours and for 15 EUR per hour I’d do this upgrade anytime again. There is no lounge included in this package but if you carry a Priority Pass you have a wide selection of airport lounges worldwide including the Hugo Junkers Lounge at Duesseldorf Airport.