A Tourist to Panama Talks About Her Travels

1,915Views 0Comments Posted 15/05/2024

Monica Humphries took a domestic flight with Copa and regretted not booking it for her longer, round-trip flight home.  Here is Monica’s story as reported to Newsroom Panama.  “Once you arrive in Panama, the experiences are endless.  In Panama City, visitors can explore historic neighborhoods, try new cuisines, tour the impressive Panama Canal, and dance nights away on rooftop bars.  Outside the country's capital, tourists can head to destinations like Boquete for coffee farm tours and lush rainforest hikes.  It's a country sandwiched by oceans, so pristine beaches and ritzy resorts dot the coastline.  When it came to booking my nine-day trip in April, squeezing in as many experiences as possible was key. And to cover the most ground, I decided to hop on a flight from Panama City to David.  This also meant traveling on an airline I'd never experienced before. Copa Airlines, a member of the Star Alliance, offers both domestic and international flights with headquarters in Panama. Founded in 1947, the airline now services more than 30 destinations. Copa Airlines is Panama's flag carrier.  The airline offers flights across the country and to more than 30 destinations. About a month before heading to Panama, I booked my round-trip Copa Airlines flight between Panama City and David.  The Enrique Malek International Airport in David offered easy access to rainforests in Boquete and beaches on the Pacific Coast. The airline flies between the destinations every morning and afternoon, with flights leaving Panama City at 7:52 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. I chose the morning flight. Copa has only two cabins: economy and business. However, travelers can book different fare types, which include perks like checked bags, refunds, and seat selection. I picked the cheapest ticket, basic economy, which cost $167 for the round-trip. I headed to the airport early on my third day in Panama. Since I didn't have a bag to check, I breezed through security. My basic economy ticket included a standard carry-on bag, and a checked suitcase would have cost $40. However, other ticket tiers include at least one free checked bag. I arrived at my gate about an hour before boarding. The flight was on time, and like most airlines, Copa uses boarding group numbers to welcome passengers on board. After hearing my group number, I hopped on a bus that brought passengers to the aircraft's ramp. The airline has a few aircraft in its fleet, but I was on a Boeing 737-800 for my domestic flights.After walking the ramp, I boarded the plane. I walked past the business-class seats and into the economy cabin. Then, I snuggled into my window seat. The seats were an upgrade from the budget airlines I typically fly. They were slightly cushioned with a flexible headrest. But there weren't many amenities beyond that. I didn't spot an outlet or USB plug, the seats only slightly reclined, and the legroom felt standard. The seats also didn't have individual screens. Before takeoff, small TVs came down and played a safety video. Flight attendants came by about halfway through the ride with complimentary snacks and beverages. Tortilla chips were the only free snack offered to economy passengers. For drinks, I picked from the typical slew of juices, sodas, teas, and coffee. And in just over an hour, the flight was landing in David.The experience was seamless, and as I spoke to Panamanians, they all raved about their beloved airline. I later learned that the airline has continuously won awards for being the best airline in Central America and the Caribbean, and it's also known for its punctuality. But the biggest reason I'd book Copa Airlines again is for its nonstop route between Panama City and my home city of Denver. My flight home could've been just 6.5 hours, instead of the 9.5-hour journey I booked. If I could avoid a lengthy layover for future trips to and from Panama, I'd book the carrier again in a heartbeat.”