Review of Copa Airlines flight Bogota Panamá City in Economy

Airline Copa Airlines
Flight CM 416
Class Economy
Seat --
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 01:40
Take-off 10 Apr 14, 06:30
Arrival at 10 Apr 14, 08:10
CM   #84 out of 142 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 64 reviews
Chibcha
By 3210
Published on 23rd April 2014
Hello everyone, this is the first of a 4 trip series on my latest trip to the US. All done by Copa Airlines.
Routes:
BOG-PTY
PTY-IAD
JFK-PTY
PTY-BOG

Background:

My GF and her family planned a trip to NY and DC for easter week. At first I wasn't going but my inlaws told me to think about it and my mum gave me an OK if I passed all my requirements to graduate. They were going on DL, but by the time I chose to go their fares were to high. The cheapest option was CM.

My previous experiences with CM were only on the short hop to PTY, but now I could taste CMs service on their long flights, I believe their longest are to EZE, SCL, MVD, LAS, YYZ and LAX.

So…after finishing all my part of the deal, I was ready to go to the US. I was excited for this experience on CM, and also because I was going to NY, one of my favorite places.


The flight was scheduled to depart at 6:30, usually one is required to be at the airport 3 hours early, but I reckoned that because of the early time I could get around later.

So this was the scene at 4:30am
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There was a relatively short line, but so pathetically managed that it took me almost 1:15 hours to clear. I reached my be at the gate time by the time I checked in.

BOG's check in counters have this cheese-like look, I like it.
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One year and a half after inauguration and they've still haven't managed to get it right with the place
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My GFs flight was leaving at 7:50, she got to the airport at 5:30 and had her deal done with at the same place as I. We cleared Emigration and Security Check quickly and then on to the Duty Free…
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They stayed trapped there shopping, I bid goodbye and went on to check out the new parts of the airport…
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Mostly plain…the walls are to segregate the swing gates which can be either domestic or international depending to demand.

There are some shops too..
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One of UAs 73G, either to EWR or IAH…with the sunrise
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AVs A332, don't know where to
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The ATC tower from the terminal…soon to be gone too.
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Then to my gate, which was at the other end of the terminal. Something I find really silly about BOG is that they only placed moving walkways in one way. Nice if you're on their way, frustrating if not.
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The 73G that would get my GF to JFK
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LAN's 763 either to MIA or GRU
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At my gate, chaos had formed. But order was dully enforced by the gate agents thankfully.
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Our plane.
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Another LA 763
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I was one of the last to board as I was at the front of Y cabin, the plane would be served by a Panamanian crew. Upon boarding I was excited to see that it was an SkyInterior plane, which led me to believe I would be able to see the new IFE. Unfortunately it was not configured with PTVs. CM has currently 3 different cabins. The classic old style cabin, practically the same as pmCO, and the SkyInterior either with or without PTVs.

Seats looked modern and nice…wouldn't mind them on a 6h flight
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Pitch was OK, I expected worse.
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View from the seat, front:
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And window
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CM allows you to use your music player all the time, so I basically ignored the safety instructions.. I only noticed the crew was a bit rude when speaking to passengers, barking orders to people…

Soon we began our taxi into RWY 13R

Trafic at the AM bank, mainly flights to the US, Central America, Ecuador and Peru. (In old times a flight to CCS was also at this time, now AV operates a single flight)
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Zoom to some planes (the little E190 was flying to PTY 30m after us)
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AAs morning flight to MIA
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B6 A320 being towed to its gate
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The new and old terminal buildings
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Domestic gates.
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Taxi to the RWY was fast…but then there was a bit of a wait. Traffic consisted mainly of ATRs and Airbuses


We waited so long, that the other flight to PTY catched up with us
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Take off and southward departure, eventually north-west route


Leaving Bogotá behind, we flew over Western Cundinamarca on to Tolima Department…

Muña Reservoir
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The city of Fusagasugá
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This town is called La Mesa (the Table) because of its relatively plain grounds
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Tolima's capitol city, Ibagué
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Can you see Nevado del Tolima?
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Now a zoom into it
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Now with its brother, Nevado del Ruiz
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I find this villages at the top of the ridges impressive
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Nevado del Ruiz is a volcano, always puffing out some fumes, let's hope it stays this way…last time it erupted it obliterated a town called Armero in 1985.
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This town is called Líbano (Spanish for Lebanon) in Tolima Department.
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Líbano and Nevado del Ruiz
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Zoom to Nevado del Ruiz' crater
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This compound of Volcanoes and snow capped mountains is a national park called Los Nevados, passing the ridge, we're into Caldas Department
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At the foothill of the Nevado del Ruiz is Caldas' capitol city, Manizales
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Oh no! IFE is comming to an end…
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When Caldas Department ends, one enters Risaralda Department and then to Chocó Department, home to the place where it rains the most on Earth. By then, service begun, we where handed some grapes, a croissant filled with cheeses and chicken ham and a drink of our choice. I found it really good.
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Sky cleared and we managed to see parts of the last of the Western Andes and the begining of the jungles of Chocó. At a point I thought the jungle was the sea, but soon I got corrected, as the shores of the Pacific Ocean were visible.


I dozed for a while and then we were asked to prepare for landing…rather quickly.

I caught this warship…don't know who's is it from.
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Nice reflection of us on the CFM engine
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Soon the ships told us we were imminently on PTY's runways
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Howard Airport on the western side of the Canal. Panamá's government plans to create an alternate airport to PTY there.
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Panamá City: let the photo tour begin
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Amador Causeway, with a yacht marina, fancy restaurants and an Smithsonian Museum research centre
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The old city, with the hideous new highway circling it…I've always thought that was a wrong call by the Panamanian Governement. A tunnel would have been better.
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Paitilla and Punta Pacifica, the Burj al Arab like building is Trump Tower, currently Panamá's tallest and LatAms second tallest.
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Another view a the city's skyline
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Costa del Este
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No doubt Panamá is Latin America's skyscraper capital.
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Zoom into Costa del Este…when I went to Panamá to the first time back in 02, the short building at the middle of the picture was the only building in the zone…and it looked so tall.
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And then landing on Tocumen, a.k.a. 737 ville, RWY 03R

South Terminal building site
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Delta's 737 to ATL
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AA also sends 737s here, probably going to MIA
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As you can see, UA and CM have a very close relationship
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UA sends 739s from IAH and EWR
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The 6:50 flight from Bogotá landing right behind us
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Terminal South on the works…
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Parked at gate 30 besides the AA 737
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De boarding was quick, and then on to cross PTY to my IAD bound flight…stay tuned!
See more

Verdict

Copa Airlines

6.3/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi2.0
Meal/catering8.0

Bogota - BOG

7.5/10
Efficiency10.0
Access5.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.5

Panamá City - PTY

6.2/10
Efficiency5.0
Access5.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

A nice flight with CM, everything was OK and the flight path provides gorgeous views of Colombia's mountains, jungles and cities. The new 737 felt good, bummer not to have the IFE.

CM provided a good product, with appropriate catering for the 1h long flight. The crew was a bit rude in my opinion, I think it has something to do with Panamanian's attitude towards service. IFE was not provided by the airline, and their magazine is rather crappy, hence the low score. The seats where very nice compared with the ones to follow on the other flights.

BOG was OK, CM's people at the Check-in counters where completely inept. Other than that, since I didn't have much time I didn't get to have breakfast nor to check the stores and traffic the way I would have wanted.

PTY will be covered on the next report.

Thanks for reading,

Saludos!

Information on the route Bogota (BOG) Panamá City (PTY)

7 Comments

  • Comment 107190 by
    Numero_2 GOLD 9902 Comments

    Unfortunately we missed each other in NYC : I was there on 8th and 9th April. ;)

    It's always comfortable to fly on a brand new plane.
    Legroom seems to be pretty large.
    What was shown on the shared screens during the flight ?
    Do you remember which drinks were offered with the breakfeast ?

    Thank you for sharing, I'm waiting for the next leg.

    • Comment 293302 by
      Chibcha AUTHOR 432 Comments

      As far as I can recall, nothing was shown during the flight, not even the Airshow (which would have been nice to see exactly where were we).

      Legroom was really good, considering how crowded it is on their previous config. It might be my perception though, because I haven't tried it since 2002.

      Didn`t see alcohol being distributed (I guess they assume nobody is so hardcore as to have booze at 7am), the regular stuff, coffee, boxed juices, sodas etc. All from a bottle or a tetra-pack on a little glass, how cheap. Their attitude made me coy about asking for seconds.

      Sorry to miss you in NY, guess you'll have to come to Bogotá someday :)

  • Comment 107197 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Gracias por compartir este ameno reporte.

    I personally hate early morning flights but sometimes they are the only choice and there is not much you can do about it.

    The new terminal looks antiseptically clean and boringly functional, but it needs some style and character to make it stand out. Why can't airports in Latin America resemble the likes of AMS, HKG, SIN or ZRH? I think the best looking airport in that region is MVD and that is quite an accomplishment for such a small country as Uruguay. Brazil is an economic powerhouse but look at the disgraceful airports it has like GRU and GIG that do not exactly showcase the best of the country.

    Your breakfast does not look bad for such a short flight. To this day it's hard for me to think that on certain domestic flights in the U.S. like ATL-HNL you don't get anything free in the back.

    The aerials of downtown PTY on approach are interesting.

    • Comment 293303 by
      Chibcha AUTHOR 432 Comments

      I like early AM flights instead, specially to nearby destinations as you can do a lot with your day. I learnt to despise late red eyes (wait for the JFK-PTY FR for the why).

      I agree, Bogotá and Colombia missed a great chance to have a modern airport that reflected our Colombian identity, natural settings or whatever. Instead they went for a generic airport you could find anywhere on earth. While I do appreciate the change from the former one, this new terminal is a big disappointment.

      The croissant tasted really good, it's funny you get a decent breakfast on this flight while you only get a boxed juice and a pair of cookies on flights just as long to CTG or BAQ just because they're domestic flights.

      PTY offers awesome views during landing indeed, an awesome welcome to the city, always evolving and thriving. Just make sure you are seated on the A seats. The other side doesn't see anything but the sea..that's why I always choose A seats when flying to PTY.

    • Comment 293370 by
      jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

      I hate red-eyes just as much as early morning flights, but you are right that one can take advantage of the time in a destination when you arrive early.

      No surprises about the lack of domestic catering vs. intl. one. Todo lo mejor se reserva para el extranjero.

      Thanks for the great tip on arrival to PTY.

  • Comment 107733 by
    KL651 TEAM 4481 Comments

    Thanks for this FR and this nice aerial tour of Colombia.
    Do panameans have a bad reputation when it comes to friendliness and service?

    • Comment 293620 by
      Chibcha AUTHOR 432 Comments

      I don't think so...usually the problem is with the people who attend to you (e.g.: restaurants and shops) so you have to visit Panamá to notice it. I don't know if it is something that only Colombians notice, or people from other places have too. I used to travel often to Panamá in the last decade and I didn't notice that until I went with my university class for a trip there. Everyone in the group complained of how they were treated at shops (e.g.: can you reach for the white shirt on the top of the shelf...'nope, we're out of white shirts' ..but, its over there, I can see it -'eeemm nope, its only a display') or restaurants.

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