We first wrote about Copa Airways again in 2008, once I first flew all the way down to Panama for the MV Discovery Panama Yacht Cruise. I’ve since been again a number of instances and flew on Copa to there and in addition onward to Peru. Whereas the airline gained’t blow you away just like the expertise of Emirates or Singapore Air would possibly, if you examine it to your different choices for getting all the way down to international locations in Latin America, Copa undoubtedly scores above the common.
For a lot of Latin America, this airline is your best option, particularly in case you can’t purchase a enterprise class ticket or rating an improve on certainly one of its rivals. In comparison with any U.S. airline flying to Latin America, Copa gives a much better expertise in financial system, plus you’ll be able to earn Star Alliance associate miles in your journey. (That alliance contains United Airways within the USA and Air Canada as effectively.)
Whereas Avianca went out of business through the pandemic instances, with a corresponding decline in service, and two Mexican airways disappeared fully, Copa has truly been in growth mode just lately. They ordered 15 Boeing 737 MAX planes in 2023 and expanded their route community to incorporate Baltimore, Austin, and Manta, Ecuador on the coast. In 2022 their earnings had been increased than they had been in 2019.
Copa Airways on the Crossroads of the Americas
One of many large benefits of flying on Copa is that they’re positioned in Panama Metropolis at Tocumen Worldwide Airport, a simple flight in itself but in addition a superb place to stretch your legs on the best way to South America. Regardless of the place you’re coming from and going to in South America, Panama Metropolis isn’t very far out of the best way. In case you’re going someplace in Central America, there’s not a lot backtracking concerned.
If you wish to do greater than stretch your legs, Copa Airways gives a stopover program, the one formal one I do know of that’s working in Latin America. It’s not one with any main perks thrown in, however you’ll be able to e-book a flight from A to B that means that you can get off the aircraft in Panama Metropolis, do some vacationer issues or handle enterprise, then get on the aircraft with out incurring further prices. You possibly can e-book all this forward of time on their common web page or this devoted one only for stopovers. You possibly can keep for twenty-four hours or as much as 7 days earlier than persevering with onward.
As you’ll be able to see from the Copa route map beneath, this can be a actually handy stopover on the best way to their different locations south of there. You can take a break in Panama after which proceed on to Colombia (11 areas!), Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, or Argentina. Copa is likely one of the few airways that goes to Uruguay and Paraguay as effectively. The Panama Metropolis luxurious accommodations are an incredible worth, so observe that hyperlink and see which one seems like one of the best match.
What to Count on on a Copa Air Flight
I’ve flown Copa Air a number of instances in each enterprise class and financial system class and in case you’ve been on United Airways flights, the expertise goes to really feel acquainted. At one level, Continental Airways owned greater than half of Copa however over time by means of varied adjustments and mergers, that holding dropped to 10% with United. Nonetheless, they’ve related logos, related cabin displays, and are each a part of Star Alliance.
Financial system class is a step above what you often get on a United worldwide flight lately although. On long-haul flights, they serve full meals and complimentary drinks, together with alcoholic drinks. Shorter flights may serve snacks, particularly the routes utilizing the 19 small Embraer planes, however will nonetheless convey by means of a spherical of drinks. Newer planes have seatback leisure and restricted TV and music choices. The 737-800 planes will often have charging plugs as effectively.
Sure, you get actual meals together with your flight. In each case there was a selection of two dishes (resembling pancakes or an omelette for breakfast) and I noticed different passengers getting their kosher or vegetarian meal. Pillows and blankets are supplied and there may be an in-flight journal in English and Spanish.
In financial system class, seat pitch is common at 31 inches and most seats are 17 inches broad. There’s additionally an Financial system Further degree that gives some separation and a location close to the entrance, however no more legroom in keeping with SeatGuru.
Enterprise Class is a blended bag, so examine to see what you’re getting earlier than paying to improve. On some flights the Copa enterprise class seats solely have a pitch of 38 inches and so they’re simply three inches wider than an financial system seat. On some brief flights the seats might not be wider in any respect. Different layouts present 49 inches, nevertheless, which lets you stretch out much more for an in a single day flight. In all instances they’re leather-based and also you’ll get an amenity package of some type.
The most recent Boeing 737 MAX 9 plane variations are most definitely worth the improve to enterprise class. Copa calls these “Goals” and so they truly recline to a fully-flat mattress, with 16 or 12 of them configured. They arrive with energy retailers and a 16-inch in-flight leisure display.
In any other case, enterprise class gained’t wow you with leisure facilities, particularly because the older jets have these little pop-up screens for every seat that come out of the armrest, however the service and meals had been each wonderful in my experiences. You often solely have 5 to fifteen different individuals competing for the flight attendant’s consideration and so they’ll serve you a a number of course meal (or two) with actual silverware and lots to drink. You possibly can even attempt some Panamanian rum on the best way down.
Copa Flight Offers From North America
Copa flies from a number of cities in Canada, the USA, and Mexico, so you have to have them in your listing in case you’re anyplace close to these locations. I’ve flown them from Florida and Mexico Metropolis. Right here’s a take a look at among the financial system class promotional fares they’re promoting as I write this:
Orlando to Panama – $529
Miami to Panama – $390
DC to Lima – $397
Toronto to Lima – $616
NYC to Guayaquil, Ecuador – $293
Austin to Buenos Aires – $498
However what about enterprise class? Are you able to discover a good worth on these? Properly I did some spot checks on Copa’s website and located a couple of engaging gives:
Miami to Santiago, Chile – $1,524
Montreal to Panama Metropolis – $1,543
Mexico Metropolis to Buenos Aires – $2,449
These are non-refundable at that value, however an incredible deal in case your plans are strong contemplating that two of the three will not be even double the price of an financial system seat on the identical time. Don’t overlook: when you have a enterprise class ticket you’ll be able to examine two luggage if you would like and also you additionally get entry to the great Copa Membership lounge in Panama Metropolis, full with showers even.
One more reason to get that biz class Copa ticket is you examine in on the airport in a a lot shorter line, which brings us to the grievance you hear essentially the most from different vacationers: the widely awful check-in or bag drop expertise.
The primary downside to Copa is the persistently lengthy traces to examine in. Get to the airport a lot early in case you’re in financial system class. This isn’t distinctive to them in fact, however I heard two frequent vacationers grumble that the identify ought to be “Cola Airways,” the joke being that “cola” is a phrase for tail or line in Spanish. In case you’ve acquired excessive sufficient elite standing on a Star Alliance associate or a ticket within the entrance of the aircraft, you’ll be able to leap this line and save an enormous period of time. Checking in on-line beforehand may help in some airports as that places you in a distinct line which may be shorter. Or simply journey with a carry-on.
The precise check-in course of has all the time been easy and pleasant for all of my flight legs, nevertheless, and my checked baggage arrived intact on the opposite finish. The gate brokers are refreshingly useful in comparison with their legacy U.S. airline counterparts. The web site works effectively and has some good versatile date features. Use that first after which go to the United website to e-book if you wish to money in miles or be optimistic you’ll get the correct credit score promptly.
The flight attendants on my flights have been pleasant, bi-lingual, and attentive. They smiled, they communicated, and so they appeared to genuinely need their clients to fly with them one other time. Once more, a refreshing change from the norm lately.
The Panama Metropolis airport is getting steadily higher on a regular basis, with extra meals choices lastly becoming a member of the seemingly endless stream of duty-free outlets and a brand new terminal trying flashy. It’s brighter, cleaner, and extra fashionable every time I go to.
Total, Copa Airways is a strong, dependable airline that typically gives higher service for a greater value than its rivals. Typically you will discover fairly priced enterprise class tickets for half what the U.S. large 3 are charging.
So, when we have now a selection, we’re reserving on Copa Airways, particularly if flying from one of many many U.S. markets they’re serving now. We like the general expertise, the monetary stability, and the truth that we are able to earn factors that go into the identical account as from our United flights. Examine your choices right here.