Most punctual airline in Latin America

Old Jan 10, 17, 4:43 pm
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Most punctual airline in Latin America

Copa was ranked the most punctual airline in in latin america. I count about 120 flights over the past 3 years, and I can't recall any serious delays, and certainly no cancellations. (I missed that snafu where the whole system crashed a couple of years ago.)

Can't seem to get an english version of that from the Copa website.
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Old Jan 17, 17, 8:32 pm
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My experience with copa snafu.....

I flew COPA a few years ago, Toronto-Guayaquil, via Panama City. COPA's aviation software crashed that weekend. It was AWFUL. Finally made it to my destination, but when I returned home I went on the COPA web site and responded to their "Compliments/Complaints" prompt. Received a reply offering me $500 USD plus out-of-pocket expenses. Within a month, $750 USD was transferred to my bank account. I had receipts for all additional expenditures, forwarded my passport information page, etc.

In my opinion, COPA stepped up to the plate.
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Old Jan 20, 17, 9:18 am
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I've found COPA to be very punctual. I've flown about 8-10 segments annually over the last 3 years. My most recent PTY-MDE leg was delayed for 1hr30mins, but that was the only occasion.
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Old Jan 20, 17, 11:09 am
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I have flown COPA for the past 6 years, now more than ever since I'm based in Panama, and I can only recall 3 serious delays, of which 2 were due to weather and the last due to ATC problems in Tocumen.

I'm not impressed with them on many aspects in terms of soft product, but they are extremely reliable in a corner of the world where reliability is not a given.
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Old Feb 8, 17, 8:16 pm
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I suffered a relatively significant delay today, about 30 minutes. The crew announced it, and Copa sent me an email noting the delay--which I didn't get until I was already boarded. Apparently my plane had a bunch of pax from a delayed flight from Montreal*, must have been 15 or 20. So Copa held our flight for them. I'd have to say it was the right thing to do.



*I'm conjecturing because I spotted a Canadian passport, heard an odd sounding french among the late arriving passengers and saw on the Copa app that the Montreal flight arrived late.
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Old Feb 9, 17, 2:05 pm
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I think Copa and Avianca, TACA/LACSA, in the old days, tend to be pretty conservative in their schedules as well. E.g they pad the flight duration. Makes the schedule easier to meet or beat.

Every (long) TACA flight I took arrived early, sometimes as much as a hour.

Add airports like PTY and SAL as hubs where passengers go gate to gate with no formalities it's not hard to see awards won like this title.

COPA seems to be fairly good in assessing loads and wheelchair passengers as to boarding times so departures are mostly on time or early.

COPA will hold flights where they are limited to daily or less. I waited an hour on PTY YYZ due to a late inbound from Buenos Aíres and with no flight the next day to YYZ, which beats handling passengers who'd have a two day delay.

COPA could be even more efficient with decent signage in PTY and employees that actually know how to drive the sky bridge to the aircraft door. 15 minutes on the 7th. Of actual moving it.
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Old Feb 10, 17, 9:28 pm
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I wonder how much the Panamanian or Salvadoran govt has to do with this stuff? I love connecting at both airports due to the gate to gate nature. It's so fast and easy.

I've got a lot of minor gripes with Copa, but OTP has never been one of them. I've probably flown Copa 12-15 times and never had an issue. There was a torrential downpour, which in typical Panama fashion lasted about 15 minutes, the guys all went to get their rain gear, and sure enough it cleared up.

My issues are mostly with the terminal, the hard product and the digital product. But I've never had any OTP or soft product issues. I always look forward to flying Copa.
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Old Feb 11, 17, 9:56 am
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I have not flown or connected through Guatemala or Tegucigalpa so I don't know if they are gate to gate but since SAL and PTY do not have domestic flights at all at least from PTY itself one could assume the governments considered that a properly checked arriving passenger hardly managed to change to a risky one in flight and since they cannot connect domestically not much need for immigration or customs at the point of plane change.

MIA used to have a good ITI process where you diverted from the flow, went through a combo immigration/customs check and dedicated security station and right back into the secure area of the terminal. No longer exists no doubt due to being sensible.

SJO has a security check only for no conceivable reason but it takes only a minute and you are right back in the secure zone. Also no domestic connections since the domestic airport is a separate one in a different part of San Jose.

SAL, SJO and PTY still herd US bound passengers into a glass box and recheck their situation at the gates. MGA used to recheck then randomly on boarding but lately not even that. Assumes the US feels security must be inadequate for the first 3 and Ok for the last one.

I like(d) Avianca (ex TACA) a lot but they went nuts on the schedules ex Toronto so you arrive everywhere in Central America near midnight and always have to leave at 6 a.m. So if you want to miss a day on arrival and departure it's great. Nice planes.
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Old Feb 11, 17, 4:46 pm
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Originally Posted by ricktoronto View Post
I think Copa and Avianca, TACA/LACSA, in the old days, tend to be pretty conservative in their schedules as well. E.g they pad the flight duration. Makes the schedule easier to meet or beat.

Every (long) TACA flight I took arrived early, sometimes as much as a hour.

Add airports like PTY and SAL as hubs where passengers go gate to gate with no formalities it's not hard to see awards won like this title.

COPA seems to be fairly good in assessing loads and wheelchair passengers as to boarding times so departures are mostly on time or early.

COPA will hold flights where they are limited to daily or less. I waited an hour on PTY YYZ due to a late inbound from Buenos Aíres and with no flight the next day to YYZ, which beats handling passengers who'd have a two day delay.

COPA could be even more efficient with decent signage in PTY and employees that actually know how to drive the sky bridge to the aircraft door. 15 minutes on the 7th. Of actual moving it.
copa is fortunate to have fairly mild weather in their hub. daily rain much of year, but rare to see lighting or weather holds in my experience.

re bolded parts -

1) right, I fly las-pty and reverse, and a late flight, for me, is one that arrives at the stated time. Very rare to be later, and usually earlier. In LAS my pick-up arrangements always factor in 30 minutes early arrival as normal. recently LAS luggage has been getting out before I get to customs, and I am global entry and sitting in first rows. That is really fast.

2) also right on the PTY folks and jet-bridges. another delay event, if your destination is PTY, is luggage can take 40 minutes to show up or longer after plane parks at gate.
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Old Feb 11, 17, 5:44 pm
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I had a very lame experience at PTY only a few days after my last post.

Came into PTY from POS on an E90 which headed to the remote station. The ground handling must have completely forgotten that we were arriving, cause we waited 40 (!) mins on board for the bus to come and pick us up.
Yes we were earely and the Tocumen ground staff must have been busy handling other flights. When we arrived to the terminal by bus there was no ground supervisor to lead us up the stairs, so we had to wait an additional 5 minutes on the bus.

I only got out of the airport 1h 30 mins after we touched ground. Immigration and customs packed with incoming pax.
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Old Feb 12, 17, 9:07 am
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Originally Posted by ricktoronto View Post
I have not flown or connected through Guatemala or Tegucigalpa so I don't know if they are gate to gate but since SAL and PTY do not have domestic flights at all
There are domestic flights from PTY, just to David I believe, but someone did something along the way to make the INTL/INTL connections happen. I connected from Chicago to Santiago in Bogota and was forced to leave the secure area. Maybe something went wrong, but I know there's places that don't offer the seamless connection process SAL/PTY offer.

Originally Posted by ricktoronto View Post
I like(d) Avianca (ex TACA) a lot but they went nuts on the schedules ex Toronto so you arrive everywhere in Central America near midnight and always have to leave at 6 a.m. So if you want to miss a day on arrival and departure it's great. Nice planes.
SAL is a bit nuts that way, it seems there's 2 rushes. There's the rush north at 0700-0800 then there's the rush south from 1900-2030 the lounge is crazy for like 2 hours then it's totally empty. I've never missed a flight, or even really been late, but I'm always worried that's for sure. I don't love arriving in Medellin at 23:55, but on the other hand it's better than arriving during rush hour.
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Old Jul 6, 17, 11:23 pm
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This thread made me laugh.

1. Latin American and Ontime. but I will admit COPA has an awesome OTP

2. Granted a majority of their US flights (departures from US) leave at odd ball hours which helps this stat.

3. Weather holds are basically non existent in PTY even with weather right over the field. Unless it's a level 6 cell, you scream we all scream type job.

despite COPA's great safety record when it comes to comfort (not flying thru weather) Avianca takes the cake IME.
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Old Jul 21, 17, 9:58 pm
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Flew YYZ MGA via both PTY and SJO today. On time boarding at PTY, then aircraft taken out of service, switched to aircraft next gate over, took 45 minutes, then SJO was closed due to practically hurricane like conditions, left 90 minutes late ex PTY.

Arrival in SJO they dispensed with the MGA passengers deplaning and switching aircraft, left us on, added the MGA passengers, left on time and arrived about 3 minutes early.

Huge late on the SJO passengers and at the same time, great on time for MGA on the same flight - that takes the cake. At least it occurred to them the smartest way to make up for part of the problem was to keep the same aircraft in service vs the ol' swaperoo.

AA would have had 18 late flights cascading from this problem, so while I pity the SJO bound, I made out pretty good and saw Copa use fair logic in problem management.
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Old Aug 5, 17, 11:57 am
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PTY always served as a stopping point for long haul flights, so it makes sense that they would separate security and other controls.
Back in the day LanChile, Varig, Lloyd, KLM, and others stopped in Panama on their way somewhere else. It was not unusual in the 80s for passengers to be let off the plane to stretch their legs and shop at duty free stores as their plane made refueling stops in Panama.
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Old Feb 14, 18, 5:31 pm
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Originally Posted by YadiMolina View Post
Copa was ranked the most punctual airline in in latin america. I count about 120 flights over the past 3 years, and I can't recall any serious delays, and certainly no cancellations. (I missed that snafu where the whole system crashed a couple of years ago.)

Can't seem to get an english version of that from the Copa website.
I have a long time positive experience with the on time performance of Copa.. But sadly I didn't missed that snafu!! that was my only serious delay experience with this little great airline
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