Here is my review of a Copa Airlines flight from Montreal to Panama City in Business Class and then a flight from Panama City to Quito in Economy Class aboard a Boeing 737-800.
Foreword and upgrade on Copa Airlines flight
Copa Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance family, allowing Aeroplan points to be earned on flights. The airline also offers its own rewards system, ConnectMiles.
A few weeks before the flight departure, Copa Airlines sends an email to all its customers allowing them to upgrade to business class. In the case of the Montreal – Panama City flight, the average suggested price for the upgrade was USD 135. I got my seat in this category for USD 120 with no problem.
The Business Class allows you to obtain:
- one additional baggage item in the hold with priority,
- access to Star Alliance airline lounges(Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge)
- priority boarding,
- a gourmet meal depending on the duration of the flight.
How to earn Aeroplan Points
My luggage was going to get to its destination without needing to be retrieved during my stopover in Panama City.
For your information, a business class ticket allows you to skip the security line at YUL Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.
Since my second flight from Panama City to Quito was only two hours, I decided to keep my seat in economy class without upgrading, starting at US$95.
The easiest way to earn Aeroplan Points is to apply for one of these Aeroplan credit cards. Not only will you earn Aeroplan Points as a welcome bonus, but you’ll also earn Aeroplan Points on all purchases made with your Aeroplan credit card.
The most popular Aeroplan credit card is the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card, whose current welcome offer is as follows:
You can also earn Aeroplan Points through the American Express Membership Rewards program. You can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan Points at a 1:1 ratio. So 10,000 Membership Rewards points = 10,000 Aeroplan points. Many Membership Rewards credit cards are available in Canada.
One of the best Membership Rewards credit cards from American Express is the American Express Cobalt® Card. With this credit card, you get 5 points per dollar for grocery purchases, convenience stores and spending at restaurants and bars. Also, consider the gift card trick where you can get 5 Points per dollar for many stores like Amazon, SAQ, Ikea, Netflix, etc.
Here is the welcome offer currently available for this card:
Business Class B737-800 Copa Airlines
Cabin and seat
The business class cabin configuration on Copa Airlines’ wings is 16 seats, two on each side of the row. My seat was on the window side – 3A.
Each seat has a shelf stored on the left armrest and a slightly outdated touch screen on the right armrest. The seat can recline, and the footrest goes up about 15 degrees. The seats are a good width and have a slightly adjustable headrest in height and on the sides.
For my part, I found that the headrest was too low on my shoulders and prevented me from sitting upright without some discomfort. It was not possible to mount it higher to avoid this inconvenience.
There is also a USB port and a headphone jack on the armrest. I got the impression that the cabin hasn’t been updated in a while, while the economy class (see below) has new, up-to-date touchscreen seats.
As the flight was early in the morning, a non-alcoholic drink was offered to each passenger upon arrival: orange juice or water.
At the beginning of the flight, passengers were given headphones and a blanket for the duration of the flight.
Business class meals
A meal for flights longer than 4 hours is usually included in business class. In my case, breakfast was served with a choice of juice and a hot drink.
Served in white dishes, the meal consisted of a ham and mushroom omelet, a tomato and slightly moist cornbread, served with plain yogurt (no toppings), a bowl of watermelon and pineapple, and Melba crackers.
Although the dish was not sour, I was expecting a more taste and a more elaborate meal. Apart from a service of non-alcoholic beverages for the rest of the flight, there were no snacks or other treats.
Is Copa Airlines’ business class worth the cost? For a flight of 5 hours or more, the upgrade is interesting, but not as “VIP” and comfortable as a long transatlantic flight or a flight to Asia, hence my disappointment. It’s more about comfort ++ and some extra services for a reasonable price.
I must admit, however, that I had two small children in the row behind me, which slightly tainted my business class experience. The extra space served as a playground for them for part of the flight, preventing me from enjoying the usual quietness in this cabin.
Economy Class B737-800 Copa Airlines : Cabin and seat
The Copa Airlines economy class cabin has 126 seats, three seats on each side of the row. Legroom is decent, but the seats are relatively narrow. The cabin baggage storage has a large capacity to accommodate a large number of passengers’ personal belongings.
The seats have adjustable headrests and can recline slightly. My seat for this flight was row 22C, about halfway up the cabin.
Since my economy class flight was only 2 hours, there was a non-alcoholic drink service with small shortbread cookies.
The service on board Copa Airlines
Service on Copa Airlines is available in English and Spanish. Very courteous, the flight attendants welcome all passengers and remain present during the flight.
Entertainment on board Copa Airlines
Copa Airlines offers an in-flight entertainment system on its B737-800 aircraft. A selection of movies, TV series, music and games are available. The catalogue, however, does not include anything more recent than 2015.
In business class, the screen, hidden in the armrest, is not the most recent. The image is, therefore, not very sharp, and the sound quality is not as good as the camera.
However, in economy class, brand-new touch screens are installed in the front headrests, along with a USB and headphone jack. The entertainment selection is the same regardless of the cabin.
All in all, I enjoyed flying with Copa Airlines. The company offers several time slots for travel to South America with short or long stopovers in Panama City. I don’t think I will bid again for a business class upgrade on this aircraft as the economy class is relatively comfortable and more up-to-date.