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a Strong Alternative for Latin America

We first wrote about Copa Airways again in 2008, once I first flew right 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, while you examine it to your different choices for getting right down to international locations in Latin America, Copa positively scores above the common.

For a lot of Latin America, this airline is your best option, particularly when you can’t purchase a enterprise class ticket or rating an improve on considered one of its opponents. In comparison with any U.S. airline flying to Latin America, Copa provides a much better expertise in economic system, plus you possibly can earn Star Alliance accomplice miles on your journey. (That alliance contains United Airways within the USA and Air Canada as properly.)

Whereas Avianca went into chapter 11 throughout the pandemic instances, with a corresponding decline in service, and two Mexican airways disappeared utterly, Copa has really been in enlargement mode 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 have been increased than they have been in 2019.

Copa Airways on the Crossroads of the Americas

One of many huge benefits of flying on Copa is that they’re situated in Panama Metropolis at Tocumen Worldwide Airport, a straightforward flight in itself but additionally a great place to stretch your legs on the way in which to South America. Irrespective of the place you’re coming from and going to in South America, Panama Metropolis isn’t very far out of the way in which. If you happen to’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 provides a stopover program, the one formal one I do know of that’s operating in Latin America. It’s not one with any main perks thrown in, however you possibly can e-book a flight from A to B that means that you can get off the airplane in Panama Metropolis, do some vacationer issues or care for enterprise, then get on the airplane with out incurring further prices. You’ll be able to e-book all this forward of time on their common web page or this devoted one only for stopovers. You’ll be able to keep for twenty-four hours or as much as 7 days earlier than persevering with onward.

As you possibly can see from the Copa route map under, it is a actually handy stopover on the way in which to their different locations south of there. You possibly can take a break in Panama after which proceed on to Colombia (11 places!), Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, or Argentina. Copa is among the few airways that goes to Uruguay and Paraguay as properly. The Panama Metropolis luxurious accommodations are a fantastic worth, so comply with that hyperlink and see which one seems like the perfect match.

Copa Air route map

What to Count on on a Copa Air Flight

I’ve flown Copa Air a number of instances in each enterprise class and economic system class and when 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 through the years via numerous adjustments and mergers, that holding dropped to 10% with United. Nonetheless, they’ve related logos, related cabin shows, and are each a part of Star Alliance.

Economic system class is a step above what you often get on a United worldwide flight today 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 carry via 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 properly.

Sure, you get actual meals together with your flight. In each case there was a alternative of two dishes (comparable to pancakes or an omelette for breakfast) and I noticed different passengers getting their kosher or vegetarian meal. Pillows and blankets are offered and there may be an in-flight journal in English and Spanish.

In economic system class, seat pitch is common at 31 inches and most seats are 17 inches extensive. There’s additionally an Economic system Further stage that gives some separation and a location close to the entrance, however no more legroom in response to SeatGuru.

Enterprise Class is a combined bag, so verify 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 they usually’re simply three inches wider than an economic system seat. On some quick 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 circumstances they’re leather-based and also you’ll get an amenity equipment of some form.

The most recent Boeing 737 MAX 9 plane variations are most well worth the improve to enterprise class. Copa calls these “Goals” they usually really 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.

copa airlines review - business class

In any other case, enterprise class gained’t wow you with leisure facilities, particularly for the reason that older jets have these little pop-up screens for every seat that come out of the armrest, however the service and meals have been each glorious in my experiences. You often solely have 5 to fifteen different individuals competing for the flight attendant’s consideration they usually’ll serve you a a number of course meal (or two) with actual silverware and many to drink. You’ll be able to even attempt some Panamanian rum on the way in which down.

Copa Flight Offers From North America

Copa flies from a number of cities in Canada, the USA, and Mexico, so it is advisable have them in your listing when you’re wherever close to these locations. I’ve flown them from Florida and Mexico Metropolis. Right here’s a take a look at a number of the economic 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? Effectively I did some spot checks on Copa’s website and located a number of attractive provides:

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 worth, however a fantastic deal in case your plans are stable contemplating that two of the three will not be even double the price of an economic system seat on the identical time. Don’t overlook: in case you have a enterprise class ticket you possibly can verify 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.

Copa Club lounge

Another excuse to get that biz class Copa ticket is you verify 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 constantly lengthy traces to verify in. Get to the airport a lot early when you’re in economic system class. This isn’t distinctive to them in fact, however I heard two frequent vacationers grumble that the title ought to be “Cola Airways,” the joke being that “cola” is a phrase for tail or line in Spanish. If you happen to’ve acquired excessive sufficient elite standing on a Star Alliance accomplice or a ticket within the entrance of the airplane, you possibly can soar this line and save an enormous period of time. Checking in on-line beforehand may also help in some airports as that places you in a unique 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 properly and has some good versatile date capabilities. Use that first after which go to the United website to e-book if you wish to money in miles or be constructive you’ll get the right credit score promptly.

The flight attendants on my flights have been pleasant, bi-lingual, and attentive. They smiled, they communicated, they usually appeared to genuinely need their clients to fly with them one other time. Once more, a refreshing change from the norm today.

The Panama Metropolis airport is getting steadily higher on a regular basis, with extra meals choices lastly becoming a member of the seemingly never-ending stream of duty-free outlets and a brand new terminal wanting flashy. It’s brighter, cleaner, and extra fashionable every time I go to.

General, Copa Airways is a stable, dependable airline that typically provides higher service for a greater worth than its opponents. Typically you will discover moderately priced enterprise class tickets for half what the U.S. huge 3 are charging.

So, when now we have a alternative, 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 will earn factors that go into the identical account as from our United flights. Test your choices right here.

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