Review: Copa Airlines 737-800 in economy class

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As my time in Guatemala City drew to a close, I returned to GUA Airport and checked in for my 737-800 flight to Panama City, my very first flight on Copa Airlines.

Copa Airlines 737-800 Economy Class Review

I booked my Guatemala City – Panama City – Los Angeles one-way ticket for $ 327 which seemed ridiculously expensive considering the nonstop flights were half the price but allowed me to use my points United Airlines Plus to upgrade PTY-LAX flight.

Registration

The check-in process was a bit chaotic. In our COVID-19 world, there are forms, forms and more forms. Panama has a shape that I was not aware of. I had to fill it out, even though I was just passing through. There was a COVID-19 attestation form for the United States, although the United States does not require such forms. There were exit papers to fill out to leave Guatemala.

All I can say is I’m glad I left plenty of time as it took me over 20 minutes to check in once I hit the top spot.

And then the agents wanted to take a picture of each document… on their phone. I didn’t object (better them than the unidentified US officials in San Salvador) but found the whole process so ineffective.

Finally, I had both boarding passes at Hadn and I was on my way to security and the boarding gate.

With no lounges open, I lined up early to board. Boarding began 45 minutes before takeoff.

Copa Airlines (CM) 384
Guatemala City (GUA) – Panama City (PTY)
Wednesday August 11
Departure: 2:06 p.m.
Arrival: 5:32 p.m.
Duration: 2h, 26min
Airplane: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 20A (Economy Class)

On board it was like… Continental Airlines. This is hardly a surprise since Continental owned part of the Copa until 2008. The purple checkered seats and cabin interiors felt like stepping on an ex-Continental plane.

Seats

The seats are arranged in 3-3 and offer 31 inches of legroom, 17 inches in width, and a four-inch recline. No blanket or pillow was available.

Rows 5 through 8 are rated “Economy Extra” and offer three inches of extra legroom.

IFE + Wi-Fi

The IFE seat back screens offered a selection of movies, TV shows, music and games. The selection was very limited (around 30 titles) and featured an eclectic collection of films from the past decade. Information on the connection gate was also offered.

Disposable headphones were provided free of charge.

Wi-Fi internet was not offered.

Note that although the seats did not have a power outlet, there was a USB charger located on the IFE screen.

Food + Drink

Copa only serves meals on flights longer than three hours. In economy class, a “meal” consists of a sandwich. As this flight lasted less than three hours, a snack was offered instead (and the same in business class, for that matter).

Four flight attendants appeared at the front of the cabin with two carts. One cart had free snacks, the other had drinks.

I chose plain water and was offered a sweet snack and a salty snack; chips and an Italian chocolate nut cookie.

For economy class on a two hour flight, this is a suitable snack. For business class on a flight of nearly three hours, that’s another story …

Service

The flight attendants were professional. Although they weren’t friendly, they were efficient. I was spoken to in Spanish and since I was just ordering a drink I didn’t have to switch to English.

Bathroom

I used the toilet before landing and it was clean and well stocked with soap and paper towels.

Approach over Panama City

I found our approach to Panama City quite nice and was happy that we chose a window seat on the “A” side.

After landing, we drove a bit before parking to our door. My connection to Los Angles was only a few doors down and the transit is very easy by PTY.

CONCLUSION

There’s really nothing special about Copa Economy Class, and that’s okay. The seat was comfortable, free snacks and drinks were provided, the IFE was available with free helmets, and the service was ok. I enthusiastically arrived on time for my 737MAX business class flight to Los Angeles.


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