Hi and welcome to this mileage run from SFO-PTY. It all started when I found a USD 240 (EUR 221.07) fare that was too good to pass so I went ahead and booked it. It was the perfect excuse to fatten my Connectmiles account and earn enough miles for a one way award in J class in the future. As a PLT member with Connectmiles my upgrades cleared at the 72 hrs. mark.
The schedule will be a quick one with just under three hours layover in PTY.
SFO-PTY in J - you are here. PTY-SFO in J - click here.
I was dropped off at the airport by 19:15 with enough time to make it so I did not visit any lounges. I was planning to stop by the BR or SQ ones but unfortunately those lounges were not open for this CM dept. so I did not even bother getting to the airport earlier. I checked in online 24 hrs. before at home and printed my boarding pass which saved me time from check-in at the counter.
Thankfully security was light this Thursday evening and I went through in 10 min. My boarding pass was marked with Prefer Access so I was directed to a line that had few people. I have Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check, but the latter was not printed on my boarding pass because CM is not a participant of this program. Furthermore, showing my Global Entry issued card does not allow me access through the TSA Pre-Check line - it needs to be printed on your boarding pass and that information is transmitted when you enter your KTN (Known Traveler Number) in your reservation. It was mildly irritating having to take my laptop, shoes and belt off. Once inside I headed straight to gate G97.
My plane at the gate taken from upstairs. There was a lot of reflection so I couldn't get a good shot.
Downstairs gate counter.
I asked for a reprinted boarding pass and the agent printed the return portion too. I found the agents in SFO to be friendly, smiling and professional.
Within a few minutes boarding started. I was the first one to board and the agent wished me a good trip after she scanned my boarding pass. At the door a FA greeted me with a smile and I settled into my seat. This 737-800 had the new configuration with the expanded legroom. I have read that if row 11 is missing on the seat map, that is an indication of the new cabin layout. On both my outbound and return this row was not shown so I knew that I was going to be in a more comfortable J cabin.
Each seat had a pillow, blanket and amenity kit.
There was plenty of legroom but it was prohibited to store anything under the seat in front.
Pre-dept drinks were offered. I just had water.
Menus were then distributed.
I was expecting dinner for a flight that leaves at 20:15 and lasting more than 6 hrs. This was confirmed by the information that I found on CM's website under their food and beverage service. In addition if you look at the menu, there is a section applicable to CM 209 that describes a lunch. Imagine my surprise when the FA came to take the meal orders and asked if I wanted the snack. I skipped dinner on purpose expecting to have dinner right after take off. This was utterly disappointing and in the end I had to be satisfied with the snack plate with cold cuts. CM should definitely change the information on its website and the printed menu. It's deceiving to say the least. By the way, the menu listed Nov. as the month.
Meal services information on CM's website.
I thought this was the menu that corresponded to my flight.
But it was this service instead. ;(
We taxied out and took off soon after. Once we leveled off the snack service started and the FA also distributed headphones.
The FA we had was very courteous and addressed passengers by name. After the snack service bottles of water were distributed and the lights were dimmed until breakfast. I read a book and tried to watch some movies but nothing caught my attention. The IFE program selection is limited in my opinion.
At about 1.5 hrs before arrival the breakfast service started with hot towels. Interesting to see that these were not distributed during the snack service. Since they were not scented I thought they smelled like old rags. I noticed that some trays with the fruit appetizer had the croissant while mine and the person in front had the regular warm roll. Kind of arbitrary but it would be nice to offer both from a basket.
I chose the egg dish.
Soon we were getting ready to land. I did not have a window on the left side so I missed the panoramic view of downtown skyscrapers as you descend into PTY.
San Francisco - SFO
Panamá City - PTY
The flight was fine but the catering information about this particular flight was deceiving and turned into a huge disappointment. The snack and breakfast were OK but I penalized this category for the inaccurate information on both the website and the menu. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect dinner on an intl flight that is almost 7 hrs departing at 20:15. That's about right for dinner time in Latin America.
The crew was professional and our FA addressed people by name. During the meal service she served the whole J cabin by herself so kudos to her for doing an efficient job.
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