Copa Airlines Introduces New Flat Bed Business Class

Copa Airlines presently operates a fleet of 90 aircraft, made up of 78 Boeing 737s and 12 Embraer 190s. The airline is now in the process of refreshing their fleet, as Copa has 60 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on order. This includes a mix of 737 MAX 8, 737 MAX 9, and 737 MAX 10 aircraft.

Copa has just taken delivery of their first MAX plane, which is a 737 MAX 9. There’s some exciting news, because the airline is actually doing something unique with the plane. To start, here’s a teaser video about the new plane (it’s in Spanish, but that sort of adds to it, regardless of whether or not you speak the language). 😉

Copa is introducing a new business class

Currently Copa has recliner seats in business class on their 737s.

On one hand that’s reasonable enough, given that their longest flight is about seven hours, and they operate many flights that are shorter than that. On the other hand, their business model relies heavily on Panama being a hub that’s connecting people from the US to Southern South America, so many people flying with Copa are flying 10-14 hours in each direction, including on a redeye. For those kinds of journeys this most definitely isn’t a competitive business class product.

So Copa has revealed that they’ll be introducing fully flat business class seats on their new 737 MAX aircraft. These planes will feature a total of 16 business class seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2 configuration.

It looks like Copa is choosing B/E Aerospace Diamond seats for these planes, which is a perfectly comfortable configuration. Copa is branding their new business class product “Dreams.” Each seat will have a 16″ touchscreen monitor, and Copa is apparently also planning on introducing an updated soft product for these planes.

Copa is introducing an extra legroom economy section

Copa is also introducing a new Economy Extra section, featuring 24 seats spread across four rows, featuring 34″ of pitch. So this will be similar to the extra legroom economy section offered on many airlines. These seats will feature 10″ seatback monitors.

Copa is eliminating personal televisions in “regular” economy

While Copa is installing personal televisions in business class and extra legroom economy, the airline is eliminating seatback screens in regular economy.  They say that customers will be able to stream entertainment to their devices.

While there’s a trend among some airlines to eliminate personal televisions (they reduce the weight of the aircraft), what I find odd is that they have them in the extra legroom economy section, but not the rest of the cabin.

Which routes will have Copa’s new 737 MAX?

@Airlineroute has all the details of the routes that are scheduled to get the new planes. The first cities to get the Copa 737 MAX will be Tampa, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, though even in those markets the planes will only be rotated in and out, and the service won’t initially be daily.

Then there are lots more cities coming.

Bottom line

It’s great to see Copa finally introduce a competitive business class product. Panama is a great connecting point for those traveling between the US and many points in Latin America, and Copa consistently has the cheapest business class fares. The problem up until now is that their product just hasn’t been competitive, and that’s finally changing.

Unfortunately the new plane is a double edged sword. While those in business class benefit from flat beds, those in regular economy get their personal televisions taken away.

What do you make of Copa’s new 737 MAX?

Comments

  1. I’ll be flying Copa, for the first time, late October, early November. There’s a possibility my flight, PTY-LAX, could be on the MAX, but no update as of now. I’m assuming this also means we’ll have plugins or USB to keep our devices charged? Finally, I’m one of those people that would just stare at the map for a significant portion of the flight anyway. Thanks for the update.

  2. Finally! Copa has a great hub, great connection network, etc, but when I fly them, I feel like its the most boring flight ever, kind of feels like you’re flying in a government airlines from the 80´s!

  3. Just used them on PTY-YYZ in Business Class and this is welcome news. What they need to do is overhaul their lounge in PTY!

    Overcrowded, dated furnishings, really poor food selection that consists of stale mini sandwiches, carrot and celery sticks, fruit and individual cheese packets. That’s all they served from 1pm until 7pm when I was there.

  4. Sweet! I have business class tickets booked for bos – bog and then ctg – bos in Feb 2019. Hopefully will get these updated planes on one (or all) of my flights!

  5. #yaaas! Was avoiding them for flights to South America due to crappy seats. Now I can see myself getting an award seat with them.

  6. Panama is a great connection point? By that logic, Mexico City is a great connection to Panama to actual places in South America. Panama itself doesn’t see much O/D traffic due to being an incredibly dangerous place to visit, like pretty much everywhere south of Rio Grande that isn’t Argentina.

    Here’s a tip: Fly nonstop. To EZE.

  7. @ William Y. — MEX is a HORRIBLE connecting point since you have to clear immigration when in international transit, and Mexico City Airport has some of the worst immigration lines anywhere. Panama City is a seamless connection point by comparison.

  8. @William Y.

    It really seems that you haven’t been south of the Rio Grande for a while. To say that Argentina is currently the only safe place south of Rio Grande shows that you’re complete misinformed about the situation in Argentina and other Latin American countries. Just to name one country, Chile is now a much safer country for tourists than Argentina.

  9. @lucky – fair enough. I just meant why bother connecting, most places you’d want to go in SA have nonstops to the US. And Panama is not somewhere most people should even consider going (I guess their airport is fairly secure, but otherwise no).

  10. Panama is safe, I am an Australian living abroad and I lived in Panama for 7 years. Yes, it has some unsafe areas in the city, but so does LA, NYC, etc. Saying it is dangerous and not somewhere people should consider going is just plain ignorant. As per who would use their service, there are millions of people in Central and South America that travel from one country to another, and Copa is a perfectly valid solution for this…and in quite a few cases, it’s the only end-to-end solution. Copa caters heavily to the Latin American market. They are obviously succeeding too, Copa has shown profits for the last 10 years in a row, with 2017 profits up over 10% from the previous year.

  11. I live in Chicago and have an apartment in Panama, so I fly Copa all the time. Panama City is generally safe, but just as in any big city, you need to be aware of your surroundings.
    The upgraded fleet will be a welcome addition. The current fleet is hit or miss with regard to amenities. The older 737’s are pure cattle cars, without even footrests in business. The newer ones have USB charging and footrests. Getting lie-flat seats in business will be huge, as Copa does have quite a few overnight flights both into and out of Panama City.
    Hopefully, when the new terminal opens at PTY (I believe next year), the awful lounge situation will be updated.
    Panama is a great option as a hub, since you don’t need to clear immigration to make your connection. It’s also the only way to make it from North America to southern South America without having to do an overnight. Leave on the first Copa flight out in the morning and arrive at EZE or SCL late that evening.

  12. Why, oh why, would you spend a day going on Coppa when you can use the night for a nonstop overnight flight to, say, EZE?

    Not having to clear immigration for a connection is setting the bar low in terms of perks. It’s pretty much the norm anywhere but TSA’s make-work program.

  13. @William Y., I’m not sure I agree with your assessment of countries south of Rio in South America. I was in Chile, Uruguay and Peru last year (in addition to Argentina). I didn’t find these countries particularly dangerous. The countries next to Rio River (Colombia and Ecuador) also feels safe. I always stay at the best hotel in the said countries so maybe that’s why? I don’t know. But from personal experience, if you just do typical touristy things and stay away from slums, you will be fine. Wander a little is good. Wander too much is asking for trouble IMO no matter what country you are in especially at night.

    There are not that many airlines that fly to South America without charging an arm and a leg from US. AA probably have the best product that flies nonstop from Dallas to Santiago or Buenos Aires. However, they never have business class saaver award available for South American leg. United seem to coshare with Copa through Panama City. I avoid them like a plague since Copa business class is not exactly up to date. So glad to have this sensible option available now. It’s always good to have extra ways to make it down there.

  14. Not all markets served by Copa also have non-stops to Buenos Aires or São Paulo and very few have non-stops to Santiago. Not everyone likes to lose a night’s sleep, especially when you have to fly in a seat that doesn’t lay flat. Copa’s business class is usually significantly less than American’s or United’s.

  15. I disagree about not understanding why there are seatback monitors on J & Y+, but not regular Y. Its so you can pay more to upgrade to J & Y+ they are trying to differentiate the cabin more and make it worthwhile to pay up.

  16. Are these seats going to be more narrow than similar products in 757s/A321s to fit the 737 frame or did they find some way to fit them in for the MAX?

  17. @William Y. Hey dumbass there are a few reasons to connect and they are universal to flights. Do you not fly much?
    1. Price. It’s usually substantially cheaper.
    2. Award availability. Nonstops are hard to come by. Availability on Copa is good.
    3. Timing. Sure, nonstops are usually planned well, but that doesn’t always fit your schedule.

    It’s super cool that you like EZE a lot but expand your horizons a little. And try visiting the places you hate on. Every country in the world (save maybe Singapore) has dangerous areas. Some obviously more than others. But not connecting through one convenient airport because of that is asinine, as are all your comments.

  18. I have flown COPA like 10 times. Personally I doubt that the removal of personal IFEs will be much of a loss. COPA’s IFE selections are subpar. People will be better off downloading stuff from Netflix and watching them inflight.

  19. @William Y. why are you so obsessed with EZE? GRU is much bigger, better, and offers so many more options in routes. You’re basically offering a worst option to connecting in Panama.

  20. Hey Lucky, since you mentioned connecting in Mexico City is bad, why don’t you write up an article with the top 5 easiest airports to connect and top 5 worst to connect in your opinion? might come SUPER handy when booking flights and deciding where to connect.

  21. I flew Copa 8 times this year. POA-PTY-AUA rtn in coach and GRU-PTY-MGB-PTY-POA in business. 737-800s and E-190 planes. Some had IFE, some had intranet and some had nothing ( I mean IFE and intranet). The fleet doesn’t have a pattern, even on their longes routes they deploy aircraft without any kind of IFE Or PTV. Their intranet works fine on android btw.
    And now with their New business class seats and with their extensive route map they will get stronger than ever.
    In coach their seat is better than AA, DL, UAL and LATAM IMHO.

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