There were issues with the photos form the previous series, so I’ll start this one in the meantime.
This series will cover a quick weekend mileage run on CM down to UIO. I saw a cheap $380 round-trip fare in “E” fare class, which earns the full 100% mileage with OZ (5.2 cents/mile). This will be my first time flying CM, my first flight with split scimitar winglets, and my first trip to the South America. The routing was picked to leave Friday evening after work and return Sunday night as to not burn any vacation days.
Part 1 – LAX-PTY [CM 362, Boeing B737-800, Business] – You are here Part 2 – PTY-UIO [CM 829, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Here Part 3 – UIO-PTY [CM 828, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Here Part 4 – PTY-LAX [CM 302, Boeing B737-800, Business] – Here
This report will cover the trip from LAX to PTY. I received an op-up to J on this flight, which made this brutal red-eye a little bit better. CM operates 3x daily service into LAX, I picked the earlier of the 2 red-eyes in order to catch an earlier PTY-UIO connection.
After work, I drove to LAX and arrived at Terminal 6 at 18:45 after some grueling traffic. Terminal 6 is primarily AS with some DL flights.
Having received notification in the morning that I was upgraded on this segment to J, I didn’t need my TK card to utilize the PreferAccess lane. Unfortunately, CM does not reopen its counters until 19:00 so there was a wait to check-in. I was second in line in the PreferAccess line and was quickly handed my boarding passes and sent on my way since I was not checking bags.
There is no priority lane for security, but the line was not too bad at T6 and I was airside within 15 minutes.
Instead of using the AS Board Room in T6 (where CM sends its customers), I took advantage of the new link from T4 to TBIT to use the *A Lounge. I swiped my boarding pass and was welcomed in. The lounge is always a little crowded given the number of heavies leaving every night to Asia, but the food offering is worth it. My dinner offering.
After dinner, I went to the outdoor terrace to enjoy some champagne and the limited spotting. Just a VA B77W and NK A320.
20 minutes before the boarding time, I went back to T6, which is ~15 minutes by foot. Enroute, you pass through AA’s territory.
Foreshadowing the next series?
Back at the decrepit T6, I head towards Gate 69A.
There are a number of AS and DL transcons getting ready to leave so it is crowded in the waiting areas.
The only plane visible, an AS B738. Doesn’t AS have Dash8s? Why do they flaunt they are “Proudly All Boeing”?
Copa Airlines, CM 362 Equipment: Boeing B737-800 [HP-1849CMP, “ConnectMiles.com” special livery, delivered September 2015] Departure: 22:08 (ATD: 22:28) Arrival: 6:34 (ATA: 6:17) Flight time: 5:49
Our gate tonight.
35 minutes to departure, boarding is started with pre-boarding. This is followed by PreferAccess passengers. Boarding was surprisingly orderly with no one crowding the gate until they were called to board. The FA in the galley gave me a “buenas noches, bienvenido” as I turned into this shiny new cabin. There are 4 rows of J in 2-2 configuration.
The large leather seats.
My seat, 4A. 4B would be the only unoccupied seat in J, the outbound load was 15/16.
The seat pitch is 50” in the new CM cabins (guaranteed on all LAX/JFK routes).
An obvious downside is the lack of underseat storage for these seats.
BSI accents the CM color scheme.
Pre-placed on the seats were a Y-esque pillow and packaged blanket. CM also uses the UA long-haul Y headphones in J.
The FA then came by and asked me if I wanted water or juice for a PDB in Spanish. I requested juice. The orange juice definitely was artificial and very sweet.
The center console.
Power outlets on the front of the center console.
USB and headphone ports.
The FA came through and distributed amenity kits in some jazzy patterns. A large omission is ear plugs, but I always pack my own.
The seatback contents.
The safety card for this B738.
Our neighbor AS B738 gets pushed back for BWI.
The FA came through and took orders. There were no menus for this flight. I could hear her get weaker row by row. By the time she got to my row, she asked me what drink I wanted with my snack and if I wanted “eggs or pancakes” for breakfast. I heard her explain the menu to Row 1 so I knew it was actually an omelet or French toast. This just highlights the apathy to CM’s service.
Some cabin shots during push back.
DL B767 as we taxi out.
Good night LAX.
There is no wait and we are quickly off as we soar towards the coast.
Leveling off, I whip out the IFE. Given CM’s longest flights are 7 hours, they have a decent selection of about 30 movies and 20 TV shows. The size of the IFE is the same as Y. The 2-minutes of ads before each show are annoying.
The FA is very quick to distribute the snacks, which is at least a good point for them (although they were probably just in a hurry to sit back down to play on their phone in the galley).
The stained tray table with some sort of red juice.
No linens are laid, it is just a covered tray. The meat/cheese plate is average, but the asparagus is points for unique.
Snacks were already cleared by the time we were leaving the Gulf of California.
Flying past Hermosillo(?).
Water bottles were distributed and the cabin was plunged into darkness.
I slept for 2 hours until I was awoken by some violent turbulence around Mexico City.
The lavatory was clean and unremarkable.
I fell back asleep until the mood lighting was turned on again near San Salvador, 1.5 hours to arrival.
My empty glass is still sitting there, so the FA was clearly not very attentive to clean up the cabin while people were sleeping.
Breakfast service started with a vanilla scented oshibori.
The drink/meal cart arrives.
The tray is laid down with a fruit plate, hot roll, and yogurt.
The salt and pepper “shakers.”
My fruit plate is cleared when I’m finished and my main is brought out. This was actually quite surprising visually and it tasted very good (and not too sweet). It had nuts and raisins on top with some poached apples. The only negative is the portionsize, which is rather small.
Some coffee to sip as we coast into PTY.
Sunrise over Panama as we dip into PTY.
We cross through the clouds.
The Panama Canal.
Stunning sunrise over PTY.
We coast by Panama City as we approach Tocumen from the west.
Final descent into PTY.
We touch down early into PTY.
CM runs the show at PTY.
Our “ConnectMiles.com” twin as the windows fog on this hot/humid morning in PTY.
We cozy up next to 2 UA B737s in the nearly identical livery.
The mess left behind by the passengers in this cabin.
The FA at least thanks me for flying as I head out into the glass jetbridge. I finally get a glimpse of my plane as I head into PTY.
I’ll leave off this series here as I begin my layover in PTY. Tune into the next segment for a look at the Copa Club and CM’s Y service down to UIO.
Star Alliance Lounge Business Class Section
Los Angeles - LAX
Panamá City - PTY
My first time on CM. It’s a very functional airline. I would say the hard-product is one of the best I’ve seen on a narrow-body, but the apathy of the crew just leads to an unremarkable experience. I really want to like CM, but it’s just an average experience. I would probably pick them over UA in the future on *A routes into Central America. Never flown AV so can’t really comment on how they stack up to their rivals.
Cabin comfort: The brand new B737s with BSI are clean and comfortable. The seat pitch is really generous with very good recline (28 degrees) on these J recliners. The Y pillow and blanket and headphones are notable deficiencies.
Crew: Not very friendly. They do the bare minimum and that’s it. Any extras you have to request. They never came through the cabin between services; they just sat in the galleys playing on their phones. Good English ability for this crew.
Meal and catering: I’ll commend them for at least serving a snack and meal on a 6-hour red-eye. The snack was average and breakfast was above average. The main for breakfast was quite good, but quantity was too small. No menu.
Entertainment: No newspapers offered. Standard seatback literature. The IFE had an acceptable selection, but the screen was not very responsive and you had to press several times to make your selection.
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