If you think cost cutting masquerading as “health and safety” is limited to the United States, think again. A pair of flights on Copa Airlines and transit in Panama City was a reminder that absurd cost-cutting in the catering department is alive and well in Latin America.
Deplorable Lack Of Meal Service On Copa Airlines
Prior to the pandemic, Copa provided meals in business class on all but the very shortest flights. But these days, there is no meal service on flights under three hours, even on international bread and butter flights like Fort Lauderdale to Panama City.
After takeoff, the flight attendant asked me what I wanted to drink. Coffee please.
She re-appeared with a coffee and water along with a bag of pretzels and cookies.
I figured she would ask me what I wanted for breakfast or perhaps just offer a tray if there wasn’t a choice, but she returned to the galley.
About five minutes later she returned and asked if I wanted a refill on coffee. I said yes and asked if there would be breakfast.
Her smile turned to a frown and she became deeply apologetic:
“I’m so sorry, we don’t serve meals on this flight anymore. Please write Copa and complain.”
The flight was 1,170 miles and just under three hours. Maybe that is why I had the business class cabin all to myself from FLL-PTY. Then again, isn’t that the chicken and egg problem? I felt like a dupe for wasting miles to fly business class.
By the time I reached Panama City I was hungry and had a short layover. I darted to the Copa Club, hoping for at least a sandwich. Nope. Just packaged snacks:
I then had to board my connection to San Salvador, a 722-mile flight. Again, no service onboard beyond a beverage and small packaged snack.
Obviously, I did not starve. But that’s not really the consideration when reviewing business class, is it? The problem was not so much the lack of food on one flight or in the lounge, but the fact that I had nothing but packaged junk food for a total journey of over six hours.
We call this “hygiene theatre” on Live and Let’s Fly. What an insult that I was not offered any food on what turned out to be over six hours of travel on Copa.
For future reference, note that Copa is still not serving meals in business class on flights under three hours. I was served a meal on my 7-hour flight from PTY-LAX.
At least glasses and ceramic cups were deemed “safe” unlike on many of Copa’s North American counterparts….