Copa 737 Business Class: Throwback To 2005!

Copa 737 Business Class: Throwback To 2005!

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Continuing my Copa Airlines adventure, after flying from Miami to Panama City, and then checking out Panama Airport Terminal 2 and the Copa Club, it was time to fly Copa business class from Panama City to Lima. This flight was also operated by a Boeing 737-800 with an identical seatmap, so I was expecting the same product I had on the last flight… that’s not what I experienced, though.

Copa’s ancient Boeing 737 business class

Plain and simple, this Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800 made me feel like I was stepping back in time to Continental Airlines in 2005. I was fully expecting the safety video to start with Larry Kellner welcoming us onboard.

The business class seats featured 38″ of pitch, so they had the same amount of space as on the previous flight. However, clearly this cabin hadn’t been updated in a long time.

The cabin didn’t just look old, it wasn’t well maintained either, with leather being badly damaged and discolored, and the seats peeling in areas.

Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800 business class seats
Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800 business class seats

There was no Boeing signature interior here, but rather the overhead bins and overhead consoles looked old too.

Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800 overhead service console
Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800 overhead bins

There were dropdown screens overhead, but the one in front of me was broken, and would only go up halfway.

Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800 overhead TVs

One thing this 737-800 had in common with the previous (much fresher one) was the complete lack of technology — of course there were no personal televisions, but there were no power ports, no Wi-Fi, and no streaming entertainment. It was honestly a step back in time.

Copa Airlines Boeing 737s have little technology

On the plus side, a nice sunset makes for some great inflight entertainment…

Sunset enroute to Lima

Copa Airlines has three Boeing 737-800 configurations

In addition to having flat beds on Boeing 737 MAX 9s, Copa Airlines seems to have three Boeing 737-800 configurations.

Copa Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 business class

There are two kinds of Boeing 737-800s with 160 seats, including 16 business class seats and 144 economy class seats. These are the two types of products I flew, with one cabin being updated, and one cabin not being updated.

Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800 business class
Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800 business class

Then Copa has some Boeing 737-800s with 154 seats, including 16 business class seats and 138 economy class seats. These planes have a significantly more spacious business class product, with legrests and personal televisions.

Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800 business class

The issue is just how much Copa swaps planes, so it’s hard to know what you’re going to get, especially between 737-800 configurations. It goes without saying that not all of these products are created equal.

Bottom line

Unfortunately my Copa business class experience left a bit to be desired. My Copa flight from Panama to Lima had the oldest Boeing 737 interior I’ve seen in a long time. It’s not just that the interior looked old, but it was also incredibly low tech in terms of passenger experience, with no entertainment or power outlets.

Anyway, I’ll have full Copa flight reviews soon, but that’s all on Copa for now. On to other, more exciting airlines…

What do you make of Copa’s Boeing 737-800 business class?

Conversations (23)
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  1. GLCTraveler Member

    Sounds like it's a "Crapshoot" with what plane you'll actually be flying on Copa!! ;-)

  2. Aljavi Guest

    You had good luck and not flight in the old 737-700

  3. T- Guest

    Why so many partial reviews? It's always "I'll have a full review later". These teasers (of full reviews) leave alot to be desired. Please don't leave us with just an opinion, without the full review of the product that explains how or why one should fly. I realize that a tease before the post allows you to post 2 articles about a single flight but you do it so often. Not just yourself, but other...

    Why so many partial reviews? It's always "I'll have a full review later". These teasers (of full reviews) leave alot to be desired. Please don't leave us with just an opinion, without the full review of the product that explains how or why one should fly. I realize that a tease before the post allows you to post 2 articles about a single flight but you do it so often. Not just yourself, but other bloggers too seem to do this. Otherwise your articles are always great.

    1. Alby Guest

      I couldn’t agree more! I don’t get this approach either. Either do a review or don’t bother. I guess it’s to get more clicks or something, who knows. Frustrating.

    2. GLCTraveler Member

      Agreed........... Please don't stretch out reviews into 2, 3 or even 4. We can wait a couple days for you to complete them in one review!!
      Otherwise as T- said, the reviews are great. :-)

  4. Coral King Guest

    Check the engines. Are they jets?

  5. Frank Guest

    Try getting from terminal one to check into Copa domestic flights.
    Best to hire a guide, as even the signs will lead you the wrong way.
    Then, bring a umbrella if it's raining. As you must navigate outside and the roof above will be dripping lots of water.

  6. Lukas Gold

    Don't do 2005 like that, Ben!

  7. iamhere Guest

    You think they should use their few best planes on your routes ..... Surprised your carry on suitcase fit in the bin

  8. Johosofat Guest

    Thank you Lucky for this brief trip back to my childhood.

  9. Speedbird Guest

    Ben, I hope you never fly Avianca. You will have a heart attack with their post covid fleet since they returned most of their newer planes.

  10. Patrick Guest

    I flew copa to Brazil and the entire trip was a disaster from delayed flights, missed connections, to losing my bags. Never again.

  11. RetiredATLATC Diamond

    Hey, you had air vents.

  12. Alex Guest

    BTW I have flown MIA-ASU Quarterly since Jan 2020 and the movies available (if you are lucky to have pull out screens) have not changed....

  13. Derek L Guest

    Flew both the old and new business class lastnight (Sept 2022) From Santo Dom to Panama was very impressed with the new layout. From Panama to Trinidad i was very disappointed and not happy. Copa fix this fast. I love your on time scheduels but after a full hard wee k business no one wants the old Copa at business class prices!

  14. Al Guest

    South American airlines are underwhelming to say the least. Crappy, stagnant economies. Asia and Middle East airlines are where it's at!

  15. Ram Guest

    Copa could get away with this by simply painting the outside with a Retrofit Livery, but if they have a monopoly in this route, they won't bother with it!!

  16. Roberto Guest

    Copa used to get its 737s from the same order as Continental so the interiors were identical - the only difference was the logo on the tail.
    Copa's main advantage as you've stated elsewhere is selling inexpensive tickets for South American clients to go to the U.S. but the product does leave a lot to be desired on the PTY- Ecuador / Peru / Colombia routes. The PTY- US flights get the "newer" 737s...

    Copa used to get its 737s from the same order as Continental so the interiors were identical - the only difference was the logo on the tail.
    Copa's main advantage as you've stated elsewhere is selling inexpensive tickets for South American clients to go to the U.S. but the product does leave a lot to be desired on the PTY- Ecuador / Peru / Colombia routes. The PTY- US flights get the "newer" 737s and they've tried to use the Max for Brazil - Argentina - Chile.
    Copa's main cash cows are its Central American routes which charge ridiculous fares for short flights. I've had to pay $550+ for PTY - ELS and I've flown Copa JFK - PTY for the same price. Another "quasi monopoly" is to cater to non-US tourist visa holders headed to the Caribbean as AA is not an option (try MEX- PTY- SDQ).

  17. DENDAVE Member

    When I saw the product on your first flight, I thought, "I wish I had that last time I flew with them." I was expecting the 3rd option, but got the 2nd. At the time, the 3rd option was the only one shown on their website. Even today, it doesn't look like they acknowledge the 2nd one that you flew. They have A, B, and Max.

  18. Chas Guest

    You don’t need to go all the way to Panama to experience this…UA has plenty of pmCO 739s flying all over domestically with this same trashy old CO product! I flew it last week.

  19. skimegheath Gold

    So I’m doing eze to pry. A 5 hour wait at PTY then onto Guayaquil. You are making it sound so exciting! Oh well it will be worth it!

  20. Alvin | YTHK Gold

    I'd been waiting for this post since you said this flight featured "much worse interiors"! At least this is just a super old plane, and not an indicator of an underwhelming, poorly-thought-out product (unlike the newer 737s, which definitely could've been installed with in-seat power)....

  21. Terence Gold

    To be fair, your circa 2005 seats on CM still look better than what you'd get today on UA's non-retrofitted 737s - even more tired on those.

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

T- Guest

Why so many partial reviews? It's always "I'll have a full review later". These teasers (of full reviews) leave alot to be desired. Please don't leave us with just an opinion, without the full review of the product that explains how or why one should fly. I realize that a tease before the post allows you to post 2 articles about a single flight but you do it so often. Not just yourself, but other bloggers too seem to do this. Otherwise your articles are always great.

1
Al Guest

South American airlines are underwhelming to say the least. Crappy, stagnant economies. Asia and Middle East airlines are where it's at!

1
Roberto Guest

Copa used to get its 737s from the same order as Continental so the interiors were identical - the only difference was the logo on the tail. Copa's main advantage as you've stated elsewhere is selling inexpensive tickets for South American clients to go to the U.S. but the product does leave a lot to be desired on the PTY- Ecuador / Peru / Colombia routes. The PTY- US flights get the "newer" 737s and they've tried to use the Max for Brazil - Argentina - Chile. Copa's main cash cows are its Central American routes which charge ridiculous fares for short flights. I've had to pay $550+ for PTY - ELS and I've flown Copa JFK - PTY for the same price. Another "quasi monopoly" is to cater to non-US tourist visa holders headed to the Caribbean as AA is not an option (try MEX- PTY- SDQ).

1
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