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Last century the height of international business class was a recliner seat. You can live that nostalgia on a Copa flight.
I needed to get to and from Brazil at very specific times and only Copa worked. Many of Copa’s flights are short, however my JFK – Sao Paulo – Las Vegas, trip included four 6+ hour flights to and from Copa’s hub in Panama City.
3 of the flights were on Copa’s ‘next generation’ 737-800 which is reasonably comfortable as limited recliner seats go, with personal AVOD and power outlets.
The last segment was on the old 737-800, with limited recline, no AVOD and no outlets. Think grim United domestic first class, with dark, crusty seats.
No wonder Copa priced $3,000 less that its nonstop, life-flat competitors.
Meal services were decent. Each flight had one full meal and one cold snack. The pre-arrival meal or snack is served, with all cabin lights on, 2 to 2.5 hours before arrival, even what that means 4 am. Why? “Because we have to.”
Service is inconsistent. The post-flight survey includes a question, “Did the flight attendant smile?” On my flights down neither had amenity kits, but both on the way up did. They are stingy with water bottles, too: I missed the handout on one flight and when I asked for a bottle, the flight attendant peered around my seat to make sure I was not stashing one. While on my Panama City-Las Vegas leg the flight attendant was a delight.
A friend said to think of Copa as a regional airline and that is the right approach. Panama City makes a nice hub with a good, modestly sized airport in good weather. They share MileagePlus with United, and United elites are eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades. Even with upgrades, none of my business class cabins were full, so for revenue tickets or economy awards to the region, Copa is a a good option for United elites.
Just don’t expect the full recline pampering we are now being spoiled by so many airlines.