I had some time off after a conference in Orlando. I didn't know how close South America is to Orlando. With both flight times around 3 or 3.5 hours with a stopover in Panama City, this would be my shortest International flight. This would be my first trip down to Peru. I paid $523 for a trip from Orlando to Lima, Peru with a stop in Panama City and take a return flight to Los Angeles with a stopover in Panama City. The dates of my trip were October 29 to November 3. This would be my first time flying Copa Airlines too. As Copa is a Star Alliance Partner, I would be able to credit all 100%, about 7100 miles, to Asiana Club.
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I had checked online and had a boarding pass printed. I didn't know however that I had to go to the check in to verify and get a new boarding pass. The line was already long at check in and at TSA, both pre check, regular and Clear. I guess lots of flights go out of Orlando in the morning. Thankfully, Copa does participate in TSA Precheck. I made it to the gate no problem. For some reason, Copa says be at the gate 1 hour early. I still don't understand as I am flying a 737, ot an A380. Once my boarding group was called, that is when I had to go to the gate agents to verify my documents, boarding pass and was handed a new boarding pass. Not a big deal I guess.
Once On Board
The plane operated is registered HP-1851CMP. It is a newer Boeing 737-800 about 3 years old at the time I took the flight.
The plane had lots of condensation as we prepared to take off.
Lots of lakes around Orlando.
There are no amenity kits. No pillows on the seat. You had to ask for it. There were no blankets. You had to ask for that. The temperature was fine. Not too hot or cold. There are personal air vents.
The seats were quite comfortable. I like the blue color. It's not leather. It has a reasonable thickness, but like always I use a coat to use for lower back support.
The screen is new and a decent size for economy. Lots of choices for TV shows. There is an in-flight map, which I like. I like it because I want to know where we are. There is also a USB port to charge mobile devices or tablets. I didn't notice any sockets to plug in a laptop. The seat backs remind me of what I would find on a 787.
The disappointing Vegetarian Breakfast. It's Eggo Waffles and fruit. I ate it, but was really disappointed in that especially since I didn't have time to eat before.
What I do really like is the Boeing Sky Interior. Here it is in a neat shade of blue. I like that the colors are not harsh. They gradually change at different times during the flight. If I fall asleep, I wake up not to darkness and suddenly bright light. Though for this flight, it was mostly blue.
Flight attendants were barely noticeable other than during the meal service. It's not a big deal as it is a short flight. They speak both English and Spanish. Announcements are automated and given in English and Spanish. Some announcements are also given in Portuguese.
Sights from the Window
It's my first time flying over the Carribean Ocean. It's also my first time seeing and flying over Cuba.
Arriving in Panama
The flight arrived more or less on time. Copa markets Panama City the Hub of the Americas. And actually, it makes sense. Panama City is in the middle and a great place to connect. Panama City is basically in between Orlando and Lima and on a GCMap, it is almost a perfectly straight line. At PTY, you get off the plane and walk to your next gate if you are connecting. No need to go through any customs or immigration or security checks, if you're not flying to the US. I had about an hour and a half. The only problem is the announcements are lacking and there was no mention of a gate change until I looked at the original gate and cross checked it with the monitors.
Orlando - MCO
Panamá City - PTY
Overall, Copa is a decent choice for flights from the U.S. to Panama. The flight schedules and connections are very good in Panama. However, I think some announcements at the gate would be helpful. The in flight service was professional. I liked the new planes and the entertainment was pretty decent. I didn't like the in flight catering. That's probably the biggest disappointment followed by the mobile and web check in not being totally clear that I had to get my documents verified. One reason was because I only had carry on, no checked luggage. The seats are comfortable. The flights are reasonably short and I was in Lima by mid afternoon. I liked that many of the fare classes on Copa Economy will get you 100% mileage credit on a loyalty club like Asiana Club.
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