Review: Copa Club Panama Tocumen International Airport

In this lounge review, we will check out the Copa Club at Panama Tocumen International Airport (PTY).

Leaving Panama

Unfortunately, my great time in Panama had come to an end as it was time to slowly head back home to Europe. After checking out of my hotel, I ordered an Uber, which swiftly arrived at the driveway.

The mad Panama traffic was luckily non-existent this weekend morning and I arrived at the airport much faster than expected. Today I would first fly again on Copa Airlines to the Costa Rican capital of San José, followed by an evening KLM flight back home.

Tocumen Airport

Panama’s Tocumen International Airport was quite deserted in the early morning and there were no queues for the check-in desks. With my boarding pass in hand, I proceeded through security and passport control on my way to the Copa Club.

Compared to Bogota Airport, Panama’s Tocumen airport seemed a bit dated, although I gathered that there are quite some expansion projects going on and a new terminal is in the making.

I was mostly curious how Copa’s lounge at its home airport would compare to the surprisingly pleasant lounge the Panamanian flag carrier operates in Bogota. Surely Panama Tocumen Airport being the airline’s main hub would mean the Copa Club here is even better?

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Queues were light or even non-existent in the early morning at Panama Tocumen International Airport. ©Paliparan
panama airport
Panama Tocumen International Airport. ©Paliparan

Copa Club entry requirements

The Copa Club is open to all business passengers on Copa Airlines, as well as those flying in business on other Star Alliance carriers. Of course, Star Alliance gold card holders with a same-day ticket on Copa or another Star Alliance carrier are also welcome at the Copa Club.

As I have Star Alliance gold status through Turkish Airlines, I could access the Copa Club.

The Copa Club is also accessible with most lounge membership programmes such as Priority Pass.

Exploring the Copa Club

As the Copa Club had just opened its doors for the day, I was one of the first passengers to enter the vast lounge. The size of the Copa Club is massive, which doesn’t come of a surprise given there are dozens of daily Copa flights out of their Panama City hub.

On the plus side, this meant that plenty of seats were available and that even when more people started to arrive later in the morning, it never felt too crowded.

At almost every seat you could find some power sockets, which together with the fast WiFi network was another positive aspect of the Copa Club.

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Copa Club Panama Airport. ©Paliparan
copa club panama airport
Copa Club Panama Airport. ©Paliparan

Furniture store

Unfortunately, the Panama Airport Copa Club will never be considered for any design awards. The lounge felt rather sterile and gloomy and mostly resembled a furniture store with all the different chairs and sofas scattered throughout the vast space.

If anything, the lounge was rather bland and depressive. What a world apart from the nicely designed Copa lounge in Bogota!

The only cool feature in the lounge was in my opinion the large map of the Americas printed on the wall of the business centre, where a some computers and work spaces were available for lounge guests.

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The business centre of the Copa Club has some dedicated work spaces. ©Paliparan

Lounge buffet

There is a single small buffet area in the middle of the Copa Club. Except for some stale bread, cake, bananas and apples, food was non-existent. Don’t come to this lounge expecting a good breakfast – or any food at all, as I doubt the assortment will be better later in the day.

In the buffet area, there are a few coffee machines as well, although the quality was rather poor.

copa club buffet
Copa Club buffet area. ©Paliparan
buffet
Copa Club buffet. ©Paliparan
coffee machine
Copa Club coffee machine. ©Paliparan

Lounge bar

The highlight of the lounge is perhaps the manned bar. You can get all kinds of soft drinks as well as complimentary alcoholic drinks here. It being 6.30am, it was however even too early for me to grab some booze.

copa club bar
Copa Club bar. ©Paliparan

In short

Perhaps I went in with too high expectations, but I was very disappointed by the Copa Club at Panama Airport. The lounge just looks rather tired and bleak, and felt more akin to a large office canteen than a proper business lounge.

With all the seats crammed in, the lounge even reminded me of a hospital waiting room, with the sole difference being that instead of receiving a vaccine shot, at least here you can order a tequila shot from the bar.

The lounge bar is probably the only redeeming factor of the Copa Club, as with a drink in hand waiting here is at least a slightly better experience than the general airport areas.

If you need a place to work or to charge your electronics, the Copa Club will certainly do as well, but that’s about all the positive things that can be said about this lounge.

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 Panama to Bogota (Embraer RJ-190)
8. Review: Tryp by Wyndham Panama Centro
9. How to Visit the Miraflores Locks on the Panama Canal
10. Into the Casco Viejo – Exploring Panama City’s Old Town Centre
11. Isla Taboga: A Day Trip to the Island of Flowers
12. A Panama Day Trip to the Portobelo Forts and Tropical Isla Mamay
13. Review: Copa Club Panama Tocumen International Airport (current chapter)
14. Review: Copa Airlines Economy Class Panama to San Jose (Boeing 737-800)
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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