Airlines Copa Airlines operates the Boeing 737-800 on many flights from its hub in Panama City, Panama.

Published on November 30th, 2012 | by Mark Chesnut

Copa Airlines operates the Boeing 737-800 on many flights from its hub in Panama City, Panama.

Airline Review: Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800 (Economy Class)

Pondering an economy-class flight in Latin America? Here’s what you might get when you fly on a Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800 (at least this is what I experienced on a recent trip).

THE ROUTE: Panama City Tocumen International Airport to New York/Kennedy (4 hours, 55 minutes)

Gate 32 at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, Panama.

THE AIRPORT: Since I was able to use the Copa Airlines Web check-in feature, I already had my boarding pass when I arrived at Tocumen airport. There was no line whatsoever for the bag check at the Copa Airlines ticket counter, and a minimal line for security. Upon arrival at gate 32, all passengers had to go through a second security check, which required us to take off our jackets, shoes and hats, and place all carry-ons in an X-ray machine, as as security agent frisked each passenger by hand.

I was happy to find that Tocumen now offers two hours’ worth of free WiFi connection (they ask for first and last name, e-mail address and nationality), although it was rather slow. Copa’s economy-class boarding procedure is by row number, rather than zone or group, beginning with the back of the aircraft.

Economy class seating aboard the Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800.

THE AIRCRAFT: The airline seating aboard the Boeing 737-800 featured headrests with wings (a plus in my book), and a blanket and pillow was waiting in each of the airline seats. Free headphones were distributed before takeoff, for use with the in-flight entertainment, which ran on overhead screens (in this case, the latest entry from the “Ice Age” movie franchise, followed by short-subject programming and sitcoms). Since the aircraft featured the new Boeing Sky Interior, blue mood lighting was turned on following the safety video.

Airline food: Copa Airlines serves airline meals including beef with potatoes and carrots.

THE SERVICE: The free hot airline meals included a choice of chicken with rice or beef with potatoes and carrots, accompanied by a small salad, roll and pre-packaged Emperador-brand sandwich cookies for dessert (I chose the beef, which was not bad, and served in a rich sauce). The service included real, non-plastic utensils, which made me feel as fancy as all get out. About one hour before landing, flight attendants walked through the cabin with cups of water and orange juice.

The new Boeing Sky Interior allows for mood lighting aboard this Copa Airlines aircraft.

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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