a Solid Choice for Latin America


We first wrote about Copa Airlines again in 2008, after I first flew all the way down to Panama for the MV Discovery Panama Yacht Cruise. I’ve since been again a number of occasions and flew on Copa to there and likewise onward to Peru. While the airline received’t blow you away just like the expertise of Emirates or Singapore Air may, once you evaluate it to your different choices for getting all the way down to international locations in Latin America, Copa undoubtedly scores above the typical.

Copa Airlines review

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 one in every of its rivals. Compared to any U.S. airline flying to Latin America, Copa presents a much better expertise in financial system, plus you possibly can earn Star Alliance accomplice miles in your journey. (That alliance consists of United Airlines within the USA and Air Canada as properly.)

While Avianca went out of business through the pandemic occasions, with a corresponding decline in service, and two Mexican airways disappeared fully, Copa has truly been in growth 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 had been larger than they had been in 2019.

Copa Airlines on the Crossroads of the Americas

One of the large benefits of flying on Copa is that they’re situated in Panama City at Tocumen International Airport, a straightforward flight in itself but in addition a very good place to stretch your legs on the way in which to South America. No matter the place you’re coming from and going to in South America, Panama City isn’t very far out of the way in which. If 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 Airlines presents 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 possibly can guide a flight from A to B that lets you get off the aircraft in Panama City, do some vacationer issues or maintain enterprise, then get on the aircraft with out incurring additional prices. You can guide all this forward of time on their common web page or this devoted one only for stopovers. You can 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 beneath, this can be a actually handy stopover on the way in which to their different locations south of there. You may 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 properly. The Panama City luxurious motels are an incredible worth, so observe that hyperlink and see which one seems like the perfect match.

Copa Air route map

What to Expect on a Copa Air Flight

I’ve flown Copa Air a number of occasions in each enterprise class and financial system class and when you’ve been on United Airlines flights, the expertise goes to really feel acquainted. At one level, Continental Airlines owned greater than half of Copa however over time via numerous modifications and mergers, that holding dropped to 10% with United. Still, they’ve related logos, related cabin displays, and are each a part of Star Alliance.

Economy class is a step above what you often get on a United worldwide flight nowadays although. On long-haul flights, they serve full meals and complimentary drinks, together with alcoholic drinks. Shorter flights could 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.

Yes, you get actual meals together with your flight. In each case there was a selection of two dishes (equivalent to pancakes or an omelette for breakfast) and I noticed different passengers getting their kosher or vegetarian meal. Pillows and blankets are supplied and there’s 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 vast. There’s additionally an Economy Extra stage that gives some separation and a location close to the entrance, however no more legroom in keeping with SeatGuru.

Business Class is a blended bag, so test 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 will not be wider in any respect. Other layouts present 49 inches, nonetheless, 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 package of some form.

The latest Boeing 737 MAX 9 plane variations are most well worth the improve to enterprise class. Copa calls these “Dreams” and so they truly recline to a fully-flat mattress, with 16 or 12 of them configured. They include energy retailers and a 16-inch in-flight leisure display.

copa airlines review - business class

Otherwise, enterprise class received’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 glorious in my experiences. You often solely have 5 to fifteen different folks 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 may even strive some Panamanian rum on the way in which down.

Copa Flight Deals 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 when you’re anyplace close to these locations. I’ve flown them from Florida and Mexico City. 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

But what about enterprise class? Can you discover a good worth on these? Well I did some spot checks on Copa’s web site and located just a few attractive presents:

Miami to Santiago, Chile – $1,524

Montreal to Panama City – $1,543

Mexico City to Buenos Aires – $2,449

These are non-refundable at that worth, however an incredible deal in case your plans are stable contemplating that two of the three should not even double the price of an financial system seat on the similar time. Don’t neglect: when you have a enterprise class ticket you possibly can test two baggage if you need and also you additionally get entry to the good Copa Club lounge in Panama City, full with showers even.

Copa Club lounge

Another purpose to get that biz class Copa ticket is you test in on the airport in a a lot shorter line, which brings us to the criticism you hear essentially the most from different vacationers: the widely awful check-in or bag drop expertise.

The principal downside to Copa is the persistently lengthy traces to test in. Get to the airport a lot early when you’re in financial system class. This is just not distinctive to them after all, however I heard two frequent vacationers grumble that the identify needs to be “Cola Airlines,” the joke being that “cola” is a phrase for tail or line in Spanish. If you’ve obtained excessive sufficient elite standing on a Star Alliance accomplice or a ticket within the entrance of the aircraft, you possibly can soar 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 unique line that could be shorter. Or simply journey with a carry-on.

The precise check-in course of has at all times been easy and pleasant for all of my flight legs, nonetheless, 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 web site to guide if you wish to money in miles or be constructive 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. Again, a refreshing change from the norm nowadays.

The Panama City 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 retailers and a brand new terminal wanting flashy. It’s brighter, cleaner, and extra trendy every time I go to.

Overall, Copa Airlines is a stable, dependable airline that usually presents higher service for a greater worth than its rivals. Often you will discover moderately priced enterprise class tickets for half what the U.S. large 3 are charging.

So, when we now have a selection, we’re reserving on Copa Airlines, 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. Check your choices right here.


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