Review: Copa Airlines Economy Class Panama to Bogota (Embraer RJ-190)

In this review we will take a Copa Airlines flight between Bogota and Panama on the Embraer RJ-190 in economy class.

Boarding

After spending a nice time in the Copa Airlines business lounge at Bogotá El Dorado Airport, it was time to head to the boarding gate for my flight to Panama.

Fortunately, the boarding gate was just a short walk away from the lounge. I was rather excited to try out Copa – a feeling I always have when flying a new airline. On top of that, I was heading to a completely new country I have never set foot in before, so count myself as being double excited!

Judging by the crowd at the gate, the load for the flight to Panama seemed to be relatively light. Soon after my arrival the boarding process started with the gate agent calling forward all business class passenger and Star Alliance gold members for priority boarding.

copa airlines ciudad panama
My flight to Panama City (or Ciudad de Panama as it’s called in Spanish) being ready to board. ©Paliparan
copa airlines embraer rj-190
The flight from Bogota to Panama would be operated by an Embraer RJ-190. ©Paliparan

Bogota (BOG) to Panama City (PTY) on Copa Airlines
Flight CM622 – Embraer RJ-190 – Economy class, seat 18A
Departure: 6.08pm
– Arrival: 7.54pm
Flight time: 1h46m – Distance: 469 miles
Costs: 450 EUR, as part of an OTP-PTY return ticket

bogota panama bog pty
The flight from Bogota to Panama takes just over one-and-a-half hours of flying time. ©Great Circle Mapper

Embraer RJ-190 seating

Today’s flight from Bogotá to Panama would be operated by an Embraer RJ-190, a small twin-engine jet which is mostly used for short and mid-haul flights.

Currently Copa Airlines has 14 of these planes in service, although the Panamanian flag carrier announced a few years back it planned to phase out this type of aircraft by 2021. However, given the problems with the Boeing 737 MAX which was supposed to replace Copa’s Embraers, the Embraer RJ-190 might remain in Copa’s fleet for quite a while longer.

The cabin of the Embraer RJ-190 looked fresh, with 1+2 seating in business class and two abreast in economy class.

Although the Embraer RJ-190 is obviously a bit smaller than other narrow-body planes such as the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of leg space and shoulder room once seated.

It certainly beats a lot of European airlines and the actual seat comfort was certainly quite good too.

embraer boarding
Business class seating on the Embraer RJ-190 is in a 2-1 configuration. ©Paliparan
copa airlines economy class embraer rj-190
The economy class cabin on the Copa Airlines Embraer RJ-190. ©Paliparan
copa airlines economy class embraer rj-190
I found the seat pitch of the economy class seat quite decent. ©Paliparan

Departure

Boarding was completed relatively fast, with the plane being around 85 percent full. Even though the seat next to me was eventually occupied too, it didn’t negatively affect my seating comfort much – which was definitely a good sign.

We unfortunately did rack up a good 40-45 minutes delay right after pushback from the gate as we were all the way in the back of a massive queue of aeroplanes lining up for departure.

Due to the high altitude location of Bogotá’s Airport, it took fairly long for a plane as small as the Embraer to finally lift off from the ground. With darkness setting in relatively early, there weren’t much of any views from the window.

bogota take-off
Take-off view from Bogota Airport. ©Paliparan

Meal service

The relatively short flight to Bogotá turned out to be rather uneventful. I was pleasantly surprised to see Copa serve a complimentary snack and drink. There was even a choice out of two different sandwiches, one vegetarian (cheese only) and one with some additional meat.

I went for the ham and cheese sandwich, which didn’t look too appetising but was actually rather tasty. Alcoholic drinks turned out to be complimentary too in economy class, so I opted for a fresh and cold Panamanian Balboa beer to wash away the sandwich.

copa airlines snack beer meal
On the short flight from Bogota to Panama, a snack and drink were served for free. ©Paliparan

Arrival

As I researched the flight routes into Panama in advance, I knew that being seated on the left side of the plane is usually a guarantee for some amazing views of the Panama City skyline on arrival.

This turned out to be completely right – although I was unfortunately not able to make any good picture at all it being nighttime and my phone’s camera not being the best ever.

We safely landed (with a small delay) at Panama’s Tocumen International Airport. Fortunately, disembarkation went fast and relatively light queues at immigration meant that within 20 minutes after landing I was officially stamped into Panama.

Ordering an Uber from the airport was a piece of cake, and a friendly lady drove me to my hotel in about 40 minutes. Although I was a bit tired from the day of travelling, I was certainly fully ready to explore the sights and sounds of this new country.

In short

I was happily surprised by Copa Airlines’ economy class product on this relatively short flight. The seat on the Embraer RJ-190 was comfortable and had decent amounts of leg and shoulder room, the crew was friendly, and we even received a tasty snack. Add in a complimentary beer being served and you have a happy customer in me.

Copa Airlines certainly seemed to run a smooth operation and I would happily fly them again on similar short or mid-haul flights.

Trip report index

This article is part of the ‘A Piece of Panama With a Bit of Bogota and a Slice of San Jose‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Review: Air France Economy Class Bucharest to Paris (Airbus A320)
2. Review: Air France Business Lounge Paris CDG Airport Terminal 2E – Hall K
3. Review: Air France Economy Class Paris to Bogota (Boeing 787)
4. Review: Hotel Morrison 114, Bogota, Colombia
5. A Short One-Day Stopover in Bogota, Colombia
6. Review: Copa Club Bogota Airport, Colombia
7. Review: Copa Airlines Economy Class (Embraer RJ-190) Panama to Bogota (current chapter)
8. Review: Tryp by Wyndham Panama Centro
9. How to Visit the Miraflores Locks on the Panama Canal
10. Panama City and the Casco Viejo
11. A day trip to Isla Taboga – the island of flowers
12. A Panama Day Trip to the Portobelo Forts and Tropical Isla Mamay
13. Review: Copa Airlines business class lounge Panama Airport
14. Review: Copa Airlines economy class Panama to San José (Boeing 737 MAX)
15. A day in the Costa Rican capital of San José
16. Review: Santamaria VIP Lounge San José Airport
17. Review: KLM economy class San José to Amsterdam (Boeing 787)
18. Review: KLM Crown Lounge (Non-Schengen) Amsterdam Airport
19. Review: KLM economy class Amsterdam-Bucharest (Boeing 737-800)

Koen

Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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