Last week I had the excitement of flying twice with Corendon, an airline catering to package holiday providers. Despite covering much of Europe’s aviation industry over the past years, this was an airline I knew very little about, so I was excited to try the airline out.
I can’t say much about booking the flight, as it was booked for me as part of a package deal. However, before check-in, I was offered a range of additional upgrades in true LCC fashion. These ranged from reserved seats to increased baggage allowances and even permission to carry inflatable boats.
The reserved seats on Corendon were rather pricy. That being said, the airline does offer the option of blocking the seat next to you for those worried about virus transmission. Buying this option would’ve cost about as much as an additional flight ticket. Sadly, the choice for meals was greyed out, so I couldn’t order food in advance.
When you check-in online, unless you have booked a specific seat, Corendon places you in the furthest back seats matching your party size. For us, this meant rows 26 and 27 despite checking in as late as possible. However, on both flights, the third seat of our half row remained unoccupied.
Our outbound flight departed from Hannover Airport at 03:05. Due to train strikes, we arrived well before the last train at roughly 21:30. The check-in desks for Corendon flights only opened 2.5 hours before the flight, and everything was closed during the three-hour wait for check-in.
Our flights included a baggage allowance of 20kg per person, totaling 40kg. We traveled with one bag weighing 25kg and another weighing 15kg. These were happily checked in with no questions. The only annoying part of the check-in experience was showing vaccine passports and passenger locator forms for verification.
Security and boarding
Almost immediately after checking in, we proceeded to the other terminal at Hannover. While check-in was in Terminal B, the flight was departing from Terminal A. The security wait was short and swift, and the procedure carried little hassle.
Due to the small nature of the departure lounges, there was not much on offer. Faced with another long wait, I visited the only cafe where I paid around €4 for a 0.75l bottle of water. On a later visit to the duty-free shop, I found water on sale for 50¢ for 500ml.
Before too long, the aircraft arrived, well ahead of time. As the arrivals and departures in Hannover are mixed, we stood to one side of the gate area before boarding began. While boarding the aircraft, constant announcements advised us to remain one meter apart in the cabin at all times. This seemed pretty redundant as we would be sitting next to the other passengers on the aircraft for the next three hours.
The legroom on the aircraft was comparable to other low-cost carriers. On the outbound leg, I found it to be more than enough. However, I was somewhat uncomfortable after the gentleman sat in front reclined his chair on the return.
I don’t have too much to say about the onboard service, given that the flight was a night flight. The crew did walk around offering paid refreshments such as water and chocolate bars.
My primary grievance with Corendon was that there seemed to be a never-ending stream of announcements. These ranged from information about COVID to some seemingly irrelevant information. The 1,001 recorded announcements were deafeningly loud in an ear-piercing voice, just what you want at 3 am.
The one positive about announcements was the enthusiasm of the pilot giving information about the flight. You could tell from his voice that he was genuinely pleased to be flying instead of just showing up to get paid to work. While the cabin lights were dimmed for takeoff, the bright lights were put on at 03:30, with aircraft remaining illuminated for the entire flight.
Thankfully I managed to catch around an hour of sleep, with the captain’s 20 minutes from landing announcement waking me up.
Arriving in Greece and Germany
Before traveling to Greece, all households are required to complete a passenger locator form. As the lead contact, I was required to input all my travel history and vaccines. For my travel partner, I only needed to complete a name and contact number.
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Greece says that one in five arrivals are tested for COVID-19 upon arrival in the country but that tests are targeted using AI that processes the data from the passenger location form. Upon arrival, greek authorities checked that the document had been filled out, but there were no border controls given that it was an inter-Schengen flight. I did notice a small COVID-19 testing facility in the arrivals area. The bags arrived reasonably swiftly, and there were no further checks.
Traveling back to Germany was even easier. While Crete was on Germany’s high-risk list, it was removed at 00:00 on Saturday. As we landed past this deadline, no passenger locator form was required, though I was required to show my residence permit at the check-in desk, along with proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.
Both of the aircraft were pretty young compared to some of the aircraft that Corendon is operating. Simple Flying previously revealed that a Boeing 737-800 wet-leased by Corendon has racked up 71,657 flight cycles as of April 30th. This equates to over eight years of flight. On average, the aircraft was flown for 08:32 hours a day, and with 32,799 flights, it has an average flight time of two hours and 11 minutes.
Instead, we flew on two younger Boeing 737 aircraft from other operators. Both were registered in Malta. For the outbound flight, the airline used 9H-TJE. According to ch-aviation, the aircraft was delivered to Jet Airways before being taken by SpiceJet. The 13.58-year-old jet was then transferred to Corendon Airlines in late June. The return flight was operated by 9H-TJD, a 13.94 year old Boeing 737 previously operated by Hainan Airlines. Corendon took this aircraft in mid-March.
Have you flown with Corendon Airlines before? How did you find the experience? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!