Have you heard about Copa Airlines? It's Panama's fast-growing airline that's greatly expanding its American footprint. From the top on-time departures to free booze, here are four reasons to fly with Copa.
1. The on-time record is solid. No one enjoys being stranded at the airport or, worse, on the tarmac. Good thing, then, that Copa Airlines can be credited with a nearly 90 percent on-time performance record. FlightStats recognized its on-time performance as the best in Latin America in 2014. In addition, the airline has earned “No. 1 on-time airline in Latin America” by London-based OAG’s Top 20 Punctuality League, as well as second place among airlines worldwide. We can attest to this. When flying Copa from New Orleans to Panama City, there was a roadside closure that prevented access to the airport. The result? Everyone was late, but somehow the crew managed to get the flight off on time.
2. Complimentary in-flight meals and drinks. Put your wallet away. Even on quick trips, Copa offers passengers full meals and complimentary beverages -- including beer and wine. To make the flight time pass more quickly, a 12-channel, multi-language entertainment system with gratis headphones is also on offer.
3. Loads of destinations. Copa now flies to 73 destinations in 31 countries in North, Central, and South America, as well as the Caribbean. In 2014, the company added nonstop service between Panama and Montreal, Canada; Fort Lauderdale, FL; and Georgetown, Guyana -- all while adding more lights to a number of existing destinations. In 2015, Copa added flights from its hub in Panama City, Panama, to: David, Panama; New Orleans, LA; Villahermosa and Puebla, Mexico; San Francisco, CA; and Belize.
4. Free stopovers. Copa Airlines and the Panama Tourism Authority offer a joint promotion that allows Copa passengers connecting in Panama City to stop over for a few days at no additional charge. This means that passengers essentially get to visit two destinations with purchase of one airline ticket. Pro-tip: You must request the stopover option at the time of booking, before completing ticket purchase. The promotion doesn’t apply retroactively for tickets already purchased or after travel has begun.