Guide to Copa Business Class: Fly to Panama & Beyond in Style

by Jem
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Looking for the best South American airlines? Welcome to our comprehensive guide to flying Copa business class. We’ll cover everything from booking to landing, in-flight amenities, and tips on how to elevate your travel experience.

Heading to Central or South America and thinking about Copa Airlines business class? You’re in for a treat. Copa is known for connecting the Americas with efficiency and warmth. It’s a go-to for many travelers, including myself. In this guide, we’ll peel back the curtain on what flying business class with Copa is really like.

From the moment you book until you land, Copa offers a seamless experience. With routes that stitch together key destinations across the Americas, they’ve got the skies covered.

I’ll share firsthand insights on everything from seats and service to dining and perks. If you’re flying to Panama or beyond, understanding what Copa offers can make all the difference.

Ready to find out what makes Copa one of the best airlines in South America? Let’s dive right in.

My #1 tip to find cheap Copa Business Class tickets

Looking for a steal on Copa business class tickets? Before jumping into the article, I first wanted to give you this insider tip to find cheap airfare on business class flights.

For years, I’ve been using this site called Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), which sends you alerts on airline deals, discounts, and mistake fares. It’s a total game-changer, saving me $10,000+ on flights each year.

Their $49/year premium version is well worth it- just one discounted flight pays for the whole thing. I recommend trying the free trial and using my special discount code JON20 to save 20%!

And if you’re into business/first class, you’ll want to sign up for their Elite version. Last year, this service saved me $2,750 on a first class flight and $1,500 on a business class flight. At just $199 year year, trust me, it’s a small price for massive savings.

Overview of Copa Airlines

Copa Airlines, hailing from Panama since 1947, knows how to connect the Americas. With a keen eye on connecting not just countries but cultures, Copa has carved out a unique space in the aviation world.

Its hub in Panama City positions it perfectly for flights stretching from the north to the south of the continent, covering 82 destinations with efficiency and ease.

Copa’s choice of aircraft, the Boeing 737s, might seem standard but is strategic. These planes allow Copa to reach both bustling capitals and quieter, smaller cities that other airlines might skip.

Copa’s business class steps up the game. Despite the narrowbody setup, passengers get a suite of perks like priority check-in and boarding, comfy seating, and quality on-board service. Let’s explore Copa’s business class product in greater detail.

COPA Business Class flight for all types of travelers.
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Copa Airlines fleet

Copa Airlines keeps its fleet simple, focusing on Boeing 737-800 and the newer 737 MAX 9. The standout feature in their business class, especially on the MAX 9, is the “Dreams” seats. These transform into fully flat beds, equipped with power outlets and a large touch screen for entertainment.

With a choice between 16 or 12 seats depending on the plane, they’re a step above many competitors. From my experience, Copa offers the utmost comfort on some of the longest 737 flights out there, like to Buenos Aires or Santiago.

On the 737-800, the experience is more akin to what you’d expect in a domestic first class in the U.S. You’ll find recliner seats with enough legroom and an adjustable headrest. They’re fine for shorter trips but on a long flight, you’d notice the difference. These seats come with the basics: power, USB outlets, and a tray table from the armrest.

Choosing your seat when booking is straightforward and at no extra cost. The difference between the 737-800 and MAX 9 in Copa’s fleet mainly boils down to the long-haul comfort of the “Dreams” seats. So, checking your aircraft and seat map when you book is a smart move.

The "Dreams" seats are the most notable aspect of their business class.
The “Dreams” seats are the most notable aspect of their business class. | Image Credit: Copa Airlines

Baggage allowance with Copa business class

In Copa Airlines business class, you’re treated to a generous baggage allowance that takes the stress out of packing.

Each passenger can check in not one, but two bags. Each can weigh up to 32 kg (70 lbs). This is especially handy if you’re like me, always struggling to decide what to leave behind.

This allowance is a clear step above what many other airlines offer. Copa’s business  class is an even more attractive choice for travelers looking for flights to South America and beyond.

Copa business class airport experience

Flying out of Panama City with Copa, you hit the fast lane from the get-go. Quick check-ins and security are perks I always appreciate.

Honestly, Copa’s business class lounge is nothing special. Expect packaged snacks over gourmet meals and an open bar that, while not lavish, covers the essentials. It’s a space more for waiting than indulging. If you’re flying from another hub, you’ll have access to Star Alliance VIP lounges as a business class passenger.

For those transiting, the compact nature of Panama’s main hub makes for easy connections. There’s no need to re-clear security for most connections, except for those heading to the U.S., where an additional check is part of the process.

Boarding is another highlight. Copa distinguishes clearly between priority boarding for business class passengers and the main cabin. It’s this attention to a fuss-free transit, coupled with well-timed connections, that many passengers, including myself, appreciate about flying Copa business class.

In-flight comfort & amenities on Copa business class

When you settle into Copa business class, especially on the Boeing 737 MAX 9, the first thing you’ll notice is the 16″ touch screen monitor. It’s loaded with entertainment options, from movies to TV shows and music. I found the noise-canceling headphones they provide quite effective. The system’s user-friendly, though the range of choices feels a bit tight.

On the 737-800, the setup’s a bit different. Here, screens fold out from the armrest. The selection mirrors the MAX 9’s, but navigating can be clunky. Some planes have remote controls, which help a lot. It’s a decent setup, just requires a bit more patience.

Internet fans might be disappointed, though. Despite having a Wi-Fi network named Copa Showpass, it’s all about streaming Copa’s content—no browsing or emailing here. It’s a missed opportunity, considering how connected we all like to be.

The amenity kits are straightforward but appreciated on longer flights. They’ve got the basics covered: toiletries, socks, and eye shades. Flying “Dreams” Business Class bumps up the comfort with a plush pillow and cozy blanket, both sporting the “Dreams” logo. On other flights, you’ll find simpler pillows and blankets waiting for you.

Overall, Copa’s in-flight experience in business class does the job. It certainly doesn’t rival the best airlines in the world, but it keeps you entertained and comfortable.

This airline offers a wide selection of entertainment, including music, TV series, and movies.
This airline offers a wide selection of entertainment, including music, TV series, and movies. | Image Credit: Copa Airlines

Food & drink in Copa business class

The meal service starts out with a beverage and mixed nuts. Menus are handed out, detailing what’s coming, which I always find helpful. The starter, salad, and bread set the stage for the main event. From my experience, it’s usually a choice between beef, chicken, or seafood.

Vegetarian options aren’t always a given, so if that’s your preference, pre-ordering a special meal is key. The airline makes this easy to do online or over the phone

Desserts are a treat, with options like cake or an ice cream sundae made just how you like it. For longer flights, a second meal ensures you won’t land on an empty stomach.

Copa sticks to a traditional meal service rather than dine-on-demand. This means meals are scheduled according to the destination’s dining hours, which might not always align with your body clock.

The drink menu covers the basics, from wine to coffee, but don’t expect a vast selection.

In contrast to dine-on-demand, this airline maintains a conventional dinner service.
In contrast to dine-on-demand, this airline maintains a conventional dinner service. | Image Credit: One Mile at a Time

Tips for booking Copa business class flights

If you’re looking for cheap business class flights with Copa, stick around. With a few smart moves, you can secure your spot in the front cabin, turning points into comfort and savings into luxury. Here’s how:

  • Use your miles wisely: Book award seats directly with Copa if you’re collecting ConnectMiles. As part of Star Alliance, you can also redeem miles from other member airlines for a Copa business class seat.
  • Pick the right credit card: Choose a travel credit card that rewards you for what you value most—airline bookings, travel perks, or points accumulation.
  • Check out Going: This platform often features cheap Copa flights, which makes business class more accessible without breaking the bank.
  • Subscribe to Cheap Flight Alerts: Again, if you want to find the best possible deals on business class airfare, I highly recommend signing up for Scott’s Cheap Flights (Going.com). While the free version is great for finding discounted economy flights, the Elite version is what you’ll need to find cheap business and first class deals.
  • Monitor airline sales: Copa occasionally runs promotions on business class fares. Keep an eye on their website or sign up for alerts.
  • Be flexible with dates: Sometimes, flying a day earlier or later can dramatically lower the cost of Copa business class tickets.

With my tips, finding cheap flights with Copa Airlines is not just possible but also simpler.

Copa business class vs. rival products

Wondering which airline has the best business class in the Americas? Copa Airlines squares up with some stiff competition. Let’s break down how Copa stacks against LATAM, Avianca, and Delta Air Lines, based on my experiences and what might suit you best.

Copa vs. LATAM

Copa’s strength lies in its efficient connectivity across the Americas. Their business class, especially on the 737 MAX 9 with the “Dreams” seats, offers solid comfort. It’s nothing groundbreaking, though.

LATAM, on the other hand, often flies wider-body aircraft on similar routes. You’ll find a bit more space and a wider selection of in-flight amenities. LATAM’s dining and wine selection is particularly notable, often showcasing South American cuisine and wines.

For connectivity and efficiency, Copa wins. But for a slightly more upscale experience, especially on longer flights where the aircraft type really makes a difference, I’d choose LATAM business class.

Copa vs. Avianca

Avianca’s business class can feel a touch more refined, with their attention to service detail and cabin layout on their widebody aircraft. Avianca’s advantage is its lie-flat seats on longer international routes, which can make a significant difference in comfort. The seats are far more spacious, especially on the 787-9.

If you’re flying shorter, regional routes, Copa’s efficiency and ease of connection are unbeatable. For longer journeys where the flatbed becomes a game-changer, Avianca shines.

Copa vs. Delta Air Lines

Delta brings to the table a varied fleet with some routes offering their Delta One Suites, a benchmark in privacy and luxury in the sky. Copa’s “Dreams” Business Class is competitive on comfort but can’t match the exclusivity and advanced features of Delta’s premium offering.

Overall, Copa’s charm lies in its no-fuss, efficient service that makes traveling across the Americas a breeze. But when it comes to luxury and comfort on longer hauls, LATAM and Avianca offer compelling arguments. Delta, with its superior Delta One Suites, is in a league of its own for those willing to splurge.

This airline excels in efficiency and connectivity.
This airline excels in efficiency and connectivity. | Image Credit: One Mile at a Time

Pros & cons of Copa business class

Having flown Copa business class, I’ve noticed some clear pros and cons that might help you decide if it’s the right choice for your travels.

Pros

  • Efficient connectivity: Copa shines with its extensive network across the Americas. Its Panama City hub makes connections smooth and fast, ideal for business and leisure travelers.
  • Consistent business class product: On their Boeing 737 MAX 9, the “Dreams” business class seats offer a level of comfort and privacy that’s impressive for a narrowbody fleet. The fully flat beds and ample in-flight entertainment options stand out.
  • Sustainability efforts: Since 2018, Copa has cut its energy consumption by 43%. Its recycling and fuel reduction programs, alongside community initiatives and support for cancer awareness, reflect a responsible corporate ethos.
  • Personalized service: Even though the in-flight entertainment selection and dining options are more limited compared to some rivals, the personalized service and attention to detail from the flight crew make the journey pleasant.

Cons

  • Limited in-flight entertainment and dining: The selection of movies, TV shows, and music, as well as the meal options, could use some expansion to match the variety offered by other carriers.
  • No Wi-Fi: The lack of internet connectivity is a noticeable gap.
  • Lounge experience: The Copa Lounge in Panama City, while functional, lacks the variety and luxury of other international business lounges. The food and amenities are basic, which might disappoint those used to more opulent settings.

Copa’s Business Class has a unique charm. While it excels in connectivity and comfort, particularly on the MAX 9 aircraft, the in-flight experience and lounge offerings leave room for improvement. For travelers who value sustainability and are flying routes where Copa offers the best connections, it’s a solid choice. But for those who weigh in-flight luxuries and lounge experiences more heavily, it might be worth looking at other options for flights to the Americas.

The Business Class on this airline has a certain appeal.
The Business Class on this airline has a certain appeal. | Image Credit: Copa Airlines

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Copa business class

Are you still curious about which airline is the best to fly to South America? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help decide whether Copa business class is the right option for you.

Is Copa owned by United?

​​No, Copa isn’t owned by United Airlines. However, they used to be close partners through the Copa Club membership and shared services. Now, they maintain a partnership through the Star Alliance network, which allows for some interconnected services and benefits.

How punctual is Copa Airlines?

In my experience, Copa stands out for its punctuality. They have a solid reputation for being on time, which is something I really appreciate. It’s reassuring to know that the chances of delays are minimal when I fly with them.

This airline offers an easy flight from the time you make reservations until you land.
This airline offers an easy flight from the time you make reservations until you land. | Image Credit: Copa Airlines

Is Copa part of Star Alliance?

In my experience, Copa stands out for its punctuality. They have a solid reputation for being on time, which is something I really appreciate. It’s reassuring to know that the chances of delays are minimal when I fly with them.

Can I use Copa miles on United?

Absolutely. Thanks to Copa’s membership in Star Alliance, you can earn miles on Copa flights and use them on United, and vice versa. This flexibility is great for racking up miles to use on flights that fit your travel plans.

COPA Business Class to try right now.

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