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COPA/LAN Washington-Santiago-Easter Island

COPA/LAN Washington-Santiago-Easter Island

Old Jun 10, 09, 10:06 am
  #1  
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COPA/LAN Washington-Santiago-Easter Island (PICS)

COPA AIRLINES -WASHINGTON DULLES-PANAMA CITY

Purpose of the trip: Leisure/vacation.

I booked my Copa ticket online at copaair.com and took advantage of the 2,000 Onepass mileage bonus for booking online. They had a fare special back in February and I was able to get a pretty good deal for $585 rt. All booked in "Q" class. With my Onepass elite status I was lucky enough to clear all my upgrades for the entire southbound portion.

Date of Departure: May 14th, 2009.

Check-in: I arrived at Dulles airport around 4:30am, after a long trek from DC. There was barely anyone in line for economy, and there was no one in line at the Business Class (Clase Ejecutiva)/Elite Access Line. I checked in at the business class line. The check-in process was under 5 minutes, and this was done by Continental ground crew.

Boarding: Boarding as always with Copa is hectic, and messy. With everyone trying to board at the same time. I waited for most of the people to board, then I proceeded to board. I took my seat 2A. No pre-departure drinks were offered on this flight. Meal and drink orders were taken during the boarding process.

Aircraft: Boeing 737-700, it looked clean and somewhat new.

Inflight:

We pushed back from the gate on time, taxi time was minimal, and once we got to the runway we took off.

Flight Time: 4 hours 20mins.

Once airborne, within 15 minutes they started the inflight entertainment; which consisted of overhead video monitors playing “He’s Just Not That into You.”

Service: Although the meal orders were taken on the ground, the meal service didin't start for another 3 hours, into our flight! I assume this is because the flight was an early departure (6:30am). I guess people would rather sleep at first, and then be woken up prior to landing for the service. That seems reasonable. But I think at least in business class, they should do a walk by and check and see if anyone would like water, or a beverage. Considering, the service wont start for another 3 hours.

3 hours into the flight, 1 hour and 20 mins remaining of flight time, the service began.

Since I normally fly Continental I am comparing this to them. They didn't offer hot towels prior to the meal service. No linen-lay down type of service like Continental either. They basically bring a pre-setup tray with a fruit plate and the beverage you chose to start with it. Then they remove the fruit plate and replace it with the hot entrée. (Kind of what Continental would do for the short domestic flights, say DCA-IAH)




Fruit Plate




Apple Crepes (entrée)


Once you are done with your meal, that is the end of the service. They don’t ask if you’d like anything else to drink, coffee, or anything for that matter.

Service was basic, to the point, and nothing special. The food was not horrible, but not good either.

Arrival: We landed in Panama City right on time. I had an hour on the ground until my next flight. Since my boarding pass suggested boarding for my flight to Santiago would take place right after landing. I proceeded to my connecting gate.

Last edited by flyldavid; Nov 13, 11 at 12:31 pm
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Old Jun 10, 09, 10:07 am
  #2  
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COPA AIRLINES
Panama City - Santiago de Chile

My ride to SCL:

Boarding was really nice and orderly this time. However, I should mention the flight was really light. There was around 20 some people in economy, and 5 of us in business class. This time I sat on 2F.

Once again on the ground they took meal orders, and this time we were offered a pre-departure beverage.

Inflight: The flight left right on time, and we were airborne 10 minutes or so after pushing back. Flight time was 6 hours and 20 minutes.

Aircraft: B737-700, it was clean and in good condition.

The inflight entertainment started 10 minutes or so into the flight. This time playing "Inkheart" for the first movie, "Bride Wars" for the second movie, and then some sort of short programming for the remaining time.

This time they came by with a hot towel before starting the bev/meal service.

Pre-meal beverage and spicy nut mix.


Then they layed linen on the tray table. Instead of the tray-setup as the previous flight. They brought a soup as an appetizer. Which I liked a lot.

Tomato Soup


Then they brought the entrée. Which I opted for Salmon. This was really good as well.


After the meal they brought dessert. With an option of a sundae or lime tart.


After dessert, more wine, coffee, and beverages were offered.

An hour prior to landing they came by with a "dinner snack" with 2 hot options to pick from. I opted for the chicken strips.


All in all, the food was much better all around on this flight. I assume the catering in Panama is better than whoever they use in the outstations. The service was much better, and the crew was much more pleasant than the previous flight.

We arrived on time. Upon arrival I paid the $130 Chilean reciprocity fee. They charge this to Americans, but it's good for the lifetime of your passport. The Immigration and Customs process was quick and easy.

Last edited by flyldavid; Nov 13, 11 at 12:38 pm
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Old Jun 10, 09, 10:07 am
  #3  
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LAN AIRLINES
SANTIAGO DE CHILE - EASTER ISLAND - SANTIAGO DE CHILE
May 17, 2009

I booked my LAN ticket through a travel agency. I was able to get a really good fare of $474 RT. The low fare only qualified for 25% mileage accum, and no seat selection. That was OK by me.

Check-In: I checked in online 48-hours prior to my flight on lan.com and I was able to secure a window seat, which is my preference. Seat 31L. The day of departure I dropped my bags at the web-checkin line and proceeded to security.

Our A/C from SCL-IPC


Boarding: They didn't board by row numbers or in any kind of order. They basically said anyone traveling on flight 833 from SCL to IPC or PPT to board now. Which was chaotic.


Aircraft: B767-300. It was brand new. I would even say it was one if it's first flights. 777 interiors, avod in every seat, the entire plane smelled like new.

Inflight: We left ontime. There was not one seat open that I could see. Flight time was 5hrs 45mins.




The avod, had a lot of movie options, games, tv series, music, etc. Def made the flight go by quicker. ^

The service was great! Friendly, nice crew, and above average for coach. They had two meal options, chicken or beef. I opted for beef. The meal was OK, a bit bland but edible.

Meal Served from Santiago to Easter Island:


Our flight arrived Easter Island ontime. We were able to deplane from the front or back of the airplane. I have to say, I really enjoyed walking out on a tarmac for a change...


Since it was Easter Island after all I thought I'd add a couple pics I took... It was an amazing trip...






*************************
RETURN FLIGHT
May 21, 2009

When I walked outside to catch my ride to the airport, I thought our flight would be cancelled. The weather was horrible in the island. Strong winds and storming weather. To my surprise, we left right on time. Got a little wet boarding the plane since you have to walk outside.

The first 2 hours of the flight were horribly bumpy, and all I could see out my window were clouds the entire time. At some point we hit a really rough patch and it made me a bit nervous, for whatever reason. (I was a flight attendant for 4 years)

In any case, once that was over with, the flight attendants started the service again. Once again, no complaints about anything. Great crew, entertainment, seats, and def above average for coach.

This time I opted for Pasta.


Approaching Santiago...


We arrived in Santiago right on time.

Last edited by flyldavid; Nov 13, 11 at 12:40 pm
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Old Jun 10, 09, 10:08 am
  #4  
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COPA AIRLINES
SANTIAGO DE CHILE TO PANAMA CITY
May 22, 2009

Check-in: I checked in at the airport. My upgrade cleared from SCL to PTY but not from PTY to IAD. The ground staff was nice and friendly, and when they handed my boarding pass they also gave me a pass to use the LAN lounge in the terminal.

The flight had a really light load, again around 20 some people in economy and 2 of us in Business Class. Boarding was hassle free.
This time I had seat 2F.

During the boarding process, they served us pre-departure drinks, and provided us with a bottle of water and an amenity kit.




Take off from Santiago was scenic and smooth... Flight time was 6 hours and 30 minutes...

Once airborne they started the inflight entertainment, two movies and short programming. They were repeats so I didn't watch them.

No warm nuts were offered for lunch this time, and the service was done like the flight from Dulles to Panama, with a pre-setup tray. No hot towels were provided in this flight either.

With only two of us in Business class, they said they only had two meals, so the other passenger got first option for the meal and I would get first option for the pre-arrival snack. In this case I was stuck with salmon, which was good last time, so I didn't mind.

The appetizer was a "vegetable soup" or so they claimed. This was by far the most disgusting thing I've ever tasted in my life. I can't even explain what it tasted like, but at least you can an idea of what the green scary soup looked like...


The salmon was good, but the side items were almost as bad as the soup.


After the meal, dessert was served. Two option were offered. A sundae or this pistachio cheese infused dessert that I chose... it was quite tasty...


Since I was given an option for the dinner snack, I chose the chicken sandwich... Which was actually really good.



The flight was uneventful, smooth ride, and ontime arrival.

The crew was not really friendly and seemed indifferent.

Last edited by flyldavid; Jan 24, 10 at 7:24 am
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Old Jun 10, 09, 10:08 am
  #5  
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I didn't clear my upgrade from Panama City to Dulles. The flight was originally scheduled to be a 737-700, but it was swapped last minute to a 737-800. Before boarding I checked with the agent to see if there was a chance to upgrade now that we had an aircraft with more business class seats. He said all the seats were taken.

The flight was packed. I took my seat (6F). Since I was sitting in the second row of coach, I could see all first class. As we got closer to pushing back I noticed that 4 seats were still open in C-class. I figured they would probably do upgrades at the gate then.

In any case another elite person asked the flight attendant about the empty seats, and she called the gate agent. A few minutes before closing the door they upgraded that one person that had asked about the empty seats, which happened to be traveling with 2 others who had higher elite status than her. At the same time they upgraded 2 non-revs, and left the one seat open. (The non-revs were obvious with their badges on)

I always like to observe what's going on, and never really complain or confront people with issues. Which is not always a good thing, but is just who I am.

The other elite who knew his travel companion was of lower status and who noticed the 2 non-revs getting upgraded before him. Didn't waste a minute to ring his flight attendant button and express his concern. To which the flight attendant replied that they didn't have enough meals for everyone up front, so they opted to upgrade non-revs with the option of not eating. The guy didn't beleive the excuse, and said he would file a complaint. At the same time he brought the point that the entire time we were boarding, being in a hub they could've easily ordered more meals and provide to their customers first before their employees. In any case, the situation was handled badly by the customer service rep and flight crew, and I fully supported the other passengers' claims. The flight was ontime, and service was typical economy service.



In regards to my entire COPA experience I would like to say; COPA can be a great a experience or a really mediocre one. The service is highly inconsistent. You don't know what to expect on each flight. Sometimes you'll get nuts, sometimes you wont. Sometimes you'll get an amenity kit sometimes you wont. The list goes on. I know they may be small silly details that probably not everyone notices it. But one of the primary reasons I stick with Continental is because of consistency. When I book a flight I know exactly what I'll get and what I wont. No surprises or cutting corners.

Last edited by flyldavid; Jan 24, 10 at 7:26 am
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Old Jun 10, 09, 5:17 pm
  #6  
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Thanks for the report. Great pics from Easter Island.

The food on LAN, as IME, is pretty darn good for Y.
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Old Jun 11, 09, 5:28 pm
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I like your reporting style. Precise, concise, to the point, with the added advantage of providing valuable information on a not-well known airlines.
Also enjoyed your side note on your non-confrontationial style.
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Old Jan 24, 10, 7:27 am
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Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
Thanks for the report. Great pics from Easter Island.

The food on LAN, as IME, is pretty darn good for Y.
Yes I agree. Nice presentation and service. And the food was good.
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Old Jan 24, 10, 12:27 pm
  #9  
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Nice... Easter Island is high on my must see list. Where did you stay? And BTW... it's not as easy as calling the kitchen and ordering 2 meals for the upgraded pax. As a former FA... you should know that!
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Old Jan 25, 10, 4:25 pm
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Easter Island pics are great. Food looked edible in J. Not sure what that was in Y.
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Old Jan 26, 10, 3:49 pm
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Great Review!!! Do you mind sharing if you are Silver, Gold or Plat Elite? Thanks again!
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Old Jan 27, 10, 4:15 am
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COPA looks bad, especially your flight from Washington, especially compared to what you get on a similar length flight in Asia, Australia, Middle East etc (Recently flew AMM-DXB in J on RJ, a 2.5 hour flight, and the flight included a four course meal, full trolley service with four main options, Nespresso Coffee of choice, 5 hot towel services etc. - not to make you jealous or anything! )

LAN however, looks like a very solid product especially considering that you were flying in Y class on a route with zero competition (last time I checked).

Nice report though ^
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Old Jan 27, 10, 9:14 am
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Thanks for the trip report. Don't know how I missed your report back in June.

What was accommodation like on Easter Island?
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Old Jan 29, 10, 3:18 pm
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Originally Posted by azj View Post
Nice... Easter Island is high on my must see list. Where did you stay? And BTW... it's not as easy as calling the kitchen and ordering 2 meals for the upgraded pax. As a former FA... you should know that!
I booked a package/tour deal on visitchile.com. I stayed at a hotel called "Hotel Otai". Visitchile.com gave it 4 stars, but I would personally give the hotel 1.5 stars at first glance. Once you realize that all the hotels in the island are REALLY basic, that there is nothing fancy, and probably nothing goes higher than 3 stars by any standards, then I guess I would it give it 4 stars.

The hotel staff was really friendly and helpful. Most importantly the hotel was clean. Also it was walking distance to the ocean (not the beach), restaurants, an interesting cemetery, and the downtown street. There is one main road in the entire Island.

PS. The hotels, shops, restaurants are owned by locals, since according to our guide (I never did my research) the island doesn't allow mainland Chile or others not native to island to move there. Unless you marry to one of the natives.

When I was there they were building the first nicer hotel. I don't recall when they were planning on opening it though.
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Old Jan 29, 10, 3:21 pm
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Originally Posted by artyam View Post
Great Review!!! Do you mind sharing if you are Silver, Gold or Plat Elite? Thanks again!
I'm currently plat. But I think when I took those flights I might have been just plain 'ol silver.
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