BOOKED: Copa, LATAM, Fiji Airways, And Air New Zealand

BOOKED: Copa, LATAM, Fiji Airways, And Air New Zealand

30

As I recently wrote about, I’ll once again start taking “pure” review trips, where the journey is quite literally the destination. Since I’m trying to spend as little time as possible away from home, the goal is to review as many interesting airline products as possible in a short period of time.

With that in mind, let me share my upcoming review trip, whereby I’ll be flying to the Southern Hemisphere twice, on a combination of Copa Airlines, LATAM, Fiji Airways, and Air New Zealand.

Copa Airlines 737 business class

To kick off this trip, I’ll be flying to South America in business class on Copa, trying the carrier’s two main products. This includes the Boeing 737 MAX 9, which features Copa’s flat bed business class, as well as the Boeing 737-800, which features Copa’s older business class, similar to what you’d find in first class within the United States.

I’m also excited to check out the new Terminal 2 at Panama Airport (PTY), including the new Copa Club there. Copa business class is pretty easy to book with Star Alliance miles, so this is a useful product to know about if you have points.

Panama City Airport has a new Copa Club

LATAM 767 business class

From there I’ll be returning to the United States in LATAM’s Boeing 767 business class. LATAM has introduced a new business class product in recent years, which looks pretty solid, especially for a Boeing 767. I’m curious to see how the hard and soft product are.

I booked this using Alaska Mileage Plan miles, as Alaska charges just 45,000 miles one-way for business class between South America and the United States. That’s quite a deal, especially since redemption options on LATAM are quite limited since the airline left the oneworld alliance.

I’m curious to experience LATAM’s new business class

Fiji Airways A350 & A330 business class

We recently saw Fiji Airways open the floodgates for business class award availability. I redeemed just 55,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles for a one-way business class ticket from Los Angeles to Nadi to Auckland. While I’ve flown Fiji Airways’ A330 business class before, I’m excited to experience the carrier’s new A350 business class, which should be much better.

I can’t wait to fly the Fiji Airways A350

Air New Zealand 787 business class

To finish off the trip, I’ll fly from New Zealand back to the United States on Air New Zealand’s Boeing 787-9. It’s extremely rare to find Air New Zealand award space, but I managed to find a seat, and booked it with just 62,500 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points. Given that there was even a transfer bonus from Amex, that’s an amazing value.

This will be my first time flying Air New Zealand’s Boeing 787, so I’m curious what the experience is like. I’m not expecting much from the hard product, given that Air New Zealand has herringbone seats, but hopefully the soft product is good.

This will be my first time on an Air New Zealand 787

Bottom line

I’m excited to get back to doing “old style” review trips, and hope I can still handle this pace of travel. I’ll be starting this trip in the coming days, and my plan is to share “live” updates with initial impressions of each flight, and then when I return from the trip I’ll publish the full trip report.

Thanks for reading, and if anyone has any predictions, tips, or thoughts, for any of these products, I’d certainly welcome them!

Conversations (30)
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  1. Brian Crawford Guest

    Latam left me stranded in Sao Paulo for being a US citizen. I will never use that bunch of frauds again

  2. Jason Guest

    Again, you dont say where you're flying to on Copa, nor where you're flying back from on LATAM. Please advise.

  3. Schar Gold

    you should stop by sao paulo and try Azul's international business class! David Neelman's br airline ;)

  4. Chris Guest

    We really enjoyed both hard and soft product flying Copa in business on the 737 Max. Perhaps not the best-of-the-best globally, but a really solid option here vs. U.S. domestic competitors!

  5. Bill Cannedy Guest

    Where are going?

  6. Owen Wilson Guest

    I feel like I’m in one of those action movies from the 80’s, where I turn to my old partner and say, “It’s good to have you back my friend.”

  7. Snoozed Guest

    Just flew COPA, ATL-PTY-LIM and back. Great experience!

  8. Javier Guest

    Ben, I am a Black Signature in LATAM, the highest tier (sadly quite useless outside LATAM ATM), so I get to fly the new product over 20-30 times a year.

    AVOID at all costs the 767 with the new cabin, in fact, they are not going to install it in any new planes.
    If there is no other options, assuming it's LIM-LAX (LATAM Peru flies 767 to USA and 787 to Chile and Madrid)...

    Ben, I am a Black Signature in LATAM, the highest tier (sadly quite useless outside LATAM ATM), so I get to fly the new product over 20-30 times a year.

    AVOID at all costs the 767 with the new cabin, in fact, they are not going to install it in any new planes.
    If there is no other options, assuming it's LIM-LAX (LATAM Peru flies 767 to USA and 787 to Chile and Madrid) be sure to get seats in row 1, otherwise you won't fit, and will have the most unpleasant 7 hours there are on a business cabin. Seats in row 1 are blocked for Black Signatures in every flight, and if there is no HVC traveling in that flight they will release them, so make sure to ask for them.

    If you get to fly the new cabin in 787 it's also row 1, and in 777's all seats are better but pitch is limited, so you have to try row 1, or best ones row 7 or 8 in the windows.

    Avoid 767, trust me :) you'll be reviewing a product that shouldn't exist and will never come again as well.

  9. BradStPete New Member

    I am thrilled and looking forward to reading about these really cool trips. While I couldn't be happier for you and Ford and you new family... I have missed you on-board !

  10. Luke Guest

    I’ve missed these Ben!

  11. Bill Guest

    Looking forward to Copa review. We have them booked RT to EZE IN January. No overnight flights and lie flats PTY-EZE.

  12. Burritomiles Guest

    A good ol' fashioned trip report! Can't wait! Interested to how Copa is.

  13. Sherman Guest

    How did you find LATAM availability? Can you also use Delta Miles to book it?

    1. TimR Guest

      Yes, you can use Delta miles (95K LAX-LIM or 100K JFK-LIM in biz). You can search on Delta site but my preferred method is with Qantas

    2. Sherman Guest

      Good tip about Qantas ! Thanks Tim. I found delta to not open up much latam space (especially long haul within South America).

  14. M.S Guest

    Me and my wife flew from Sydney to nadi to lax on fiji airways A350. Economy class and the flight was better than we expected. I had a glimpse at business class and it looks good. Hope you will love it.

  15. Natedogg Guest

    Please share how Copa business is easy to book with star alliance miles. I've been trying to book Copa business class from LAX to South America and I see no business availability and one way economy is 73k miles, which is outrageous.

    1. lilred Guest

      you can use asiana miles to book on copa for the flights from LAX - you have to call, but there is plenty availability for 75k rt in business. we transferred points from bonvoy to asiana.

  16. Serge Guest

    Hi Lucky,

    Lounge access at LAX while flying Fiji. If you are a Oneworld emerald on AA. That gives you access to Qantas F?

    1. Mary Guest

      I just did this flight in August. I am Emerald, did get access to One World. Checked Qantas first, but they were still closed. So, cant answer your question directly, but you can definitely get in to One World.

    2. Serge Guest

      Thanks Mary! I wish lucky will answer questions referred to him.

  17. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    Enjoy the trips Lucky! Happy your able to start these up again! Safe Travels!

  18. Donna Diamond

    The jet lag on your quick trip to and from New Zealand could be brutal even at your young age. My advice, stay hydrated and keep the alcohol to a minimum. Looking forward to your reviews!

    1. JWags Guest

      Ive never found jet lag to be brutal, or even an issue, on short trips. Your body never gets the chance to adapt to the new time. I once flew to HK for a 24 hour trip. Landed in the evening, left the following evening. I was tired from some long travel days and 2 15 hour flights within 36 hours or so, but I never was jet lagged.

  19. SMR Guest

    NZ bad :(. I found the service to be aligned with US carriers but with a much narrower seat Hopefully it has improved.

  20. Alvin | YTHK Gold

    Are you getting any nights in a real bed? Keep well!

  21. Jason Guest

    This looks like an exciting trip and I'm looking forward to reading your reviews.

    Maybe I missed it, but I cant tell where you're flying on Copa? Are you flying just to Panama City and back? or are you flying all the way down to Santiago on them, then taking LATAM to LAX? It wasnt clear. Thanks and I look forward to following along.

    1. Jason Guest

      Or are you taking COPA to Lima and then LATAM from Lima to LAX? Wasnt sure and it's not clear. Either way, looking forward!

  22. P T Guest

    We flew COPA’s 1st/business LAX-PTY. enjoyed the rum.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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.

Schar Gold

you should stop by sao paulo and try Azul's international business class! David Neelman's br airline ;)

1
Owen Wilson Guest

I feel like I’m in one of those action movies from the 80’s, where I turn to my old partner and say, “It’s good to have you back my friend.”

1
Javier Guest

Ben, I am a Black Signature in LATAM, the highest tier (sadly quite useless outside LATAM ATM), so I get to fly the new product over 20-30 times a year. AVOID at all costs the 767 with the new cabin, in fact, they are not going to install it in any new planes. If there is no other options, assuming it's LIM-LAX (LATAM Peru flies 767 to USA and 787 to Chile and Madrid) be sure to get seats in row 1, otherwise you won't fit, and will have the most unpleasant 7 hours there are on a business cabin. Seats in row 1 are blocked for Black Signatures in every flight, and if there is no HVC traveling in that flight they will release them, so make sure to ask for them. If you get to fly the new cabin in 787 it's also row 1, and in 777's all seats are better but pitch is limited, so you have to try row 1, or best ones row 7 or 8 in the windows. Avoid 767, trust me :) you'll be reviewing a product that shouldn't exist and will never come again as well.

1
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