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Old 12-28-2002, 05:06 PM   #1
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EZE/PTY/CCS/POS/CCS/PTY/EZE

Hello all!
Here it is my report from my last trip (December 8th - December 21st)
First at all: Flights departing from EZE (Buenos Aires) to CCS or to MIA were all booked, so my company was afraid I would not be able to go to POS (Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago) by the dates the other company was asking us.
But, as I had my Platinum Elite Status (in fact, having the Gold status was enough), I could ask for a seat, on the COPA flight to CCS, altough that flight was full (and overbooked).
It was a "Y" ticket, but I had a seat.
The first flight EZE/PTY was as usual, departing at 12:40 pm. It is a 737-700, so if you are not flying in Bussiness it could be something hard to do, since the flight is a 7 hours one.
Appetizer, and Lunch were OK as usual.
I have a routine with this flight. I have the apptizer, and start to see the movie during the luch. After the dessert, and the movie ends, is time to have a nap. I'll be awake for the second service (some fruit and cheese and meet). Then I know that's time to check some docs in the notebook, before arriving to PTY.
All connecting flights depart from PTY within a 60-90 minutes window, mine was a 70 min wait, so a headed to the President Club.
Some drinks, and a quick e-mail to home to let them know that I was OK and ready to the next flight.
Good for me was to see that the flight to CCS it was in a 737-700 instead of a 737-300 that COPA uses for most of their short connection trips.
A light dinner, a short nap, and we were at CARACAS, after a 2 hours flight.
One thing that was bad with my trip it was that the last flight from CCS to POS departs at 21:30, that is half an hour BEFORE I'm arriving. So I was going to have a night at CARACAS.
I usually stay at Caracas Cumberland (rates about US$ 55), but with all the problems that were taking place by that time, I prefered to stay at airport neighbourhood. Well, I was going to save some mony from the transfer too, since the trip to Caracas is a $30, but I only spent $10 going to an small hotel 10' away from the airport. It costed $30.
Next day, in the morning I went to the airport, to the BWIA counter. Got my boarding pass, and went to the gate. That was an small plane, Bombardier De Havilland Q300 Dash 8, with only 50 seats.
Arriving to POS (1 hour trip) I noticed something from T&T people. As their culture is mainly British, they are used to follow the rules MORE than we, latin people. When the plane arrived, as soon as I heard the turbines were off, and the plane had stopped, I unbuckled my seat-belt and went to see my carry-on luggage. Then I looked to all the other passangers who were looking at me too. I was the only one up. All of them were waiting for the sign to be allowed to unbuckle to belt!
Changed some money at the airport, and after customs I found the guy the company had sent for me...
____________________________
RETURNING FLIGHT

When time to return home arrived, I decided to change the returning trip.
I needed to think about this, because ALL the departing flight FROM POS depart in the morning, leaving me at CCS, or MIA, or SJU late enough for getting a direct connection to EZE.
My first idea was to spend the day at CCS, but with the general break in the 20th day, I prefered to spend the night at PTY.
So, when I arrived to CCS after the BWIA flight (I travelled with a lot of iran's guys) I asked for the CO VIP lounge, as nobody could tell me, and my luggage was OUTSIDE, I was instructed to go trough migration. I had the airport tax paid, so it was OK for me.
BUT, what I wasn't said is that COPA or CO people was not at the counter up to 3 hours later.
I tried to pass trough again, and find the VIP by myself, but I was asked for a form with the airport tax and the departing tax. I show the ticket, which included BOTH codes, but they needed a form. Grrrrr.
Talked to a lot of people, even one of the airport administrator taht passes over there by a chance. But, no way. Finally I got the COPA people at their office, and they told me that I should have called them before customs. They would have made the paper work, and luggage transfer for me. But, now, I needed that form that they were awaiting too, for giving it to the passangers. By this, it was 2 hours after I had arrived, but still 3 hours for the departing time.
I got all the papers, went trough migrations, and headed to the VIP lounge that CO and COPA use in Caracas.
As soon I entered, I was disappointed. I was thinking about something similar to the President Clubs... something quiet, peaceful...
No, a lot of kids. No access to the computers, because kids were playing there, TV with high volume... Nice place to relax uh?
I asked to one of the ladies from the lounge to help me to have 5 minutes to check my e-mail. She did it, and I could read my mails.
She turned down the volume of the Tv too.
Well, finally I could get my plane to PTY, where I was going to STOP for the night.
I had made reservations at the RIANDE Hotel. It is a hotel that is 1 mile from the airport, with a shuttle every 30'. It is cheap, $40 and remember, you are not paying for the transfer, and it is only a 5' trip.
As soon as I arrived to the hotel, I could phone to one of my friends in Panama City, who came to have dinner together.
Next day, at 11:15 I was departing. I neede to pay PTY airport tax, because the exemption is only for 9 hours. It is useful when you are arriving in the morning, and instead of taking the morning connection flight you prefer to stay a few hours (and visit the Canal) before your afternoon connection flight.
Being at the aircraft, the same routine as usual, (apetetizer, luch, movie, nap, 2nd service, paper work)
We arrived 30 minutes ahead as usual, since they have their new machines with Winglets (most the time this is what happens. Don't know why they still insist with the old schedule)
Now time to stay at home.
In two weeks, I'll do the same trip. Or not. I'm thinking about doing a new itinerary, trough SCL (Santiago de Chile).
I'll report that trip too. I'm leaving on January 4th.
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Old 12-28-2002, 10:37 PM   #2
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What were your seat assignments? How was the check-in staff? what is the seat like on Copa?
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Old 12-29-2002, 06:53 PM   #3
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Hi!
Sorry, that info is very omportant, but I failed to post it.

The EZE-PTY was in my favourite one 1A
The check in was quite fast and easy, and yes, the lady from COPA calls me by my name!
Seats in the 737-700 are the same as I used, for example, in a SJU-EWR trip last year. Bussiness has 3 rows in a 2x2 config. Meals are similar too.
Form PTY to CCS I had 2F, but the next seat was empty.
In the BWIA flight from CCS to POS I had 10D (almost at the end), and you can't wait even a coke there.
___

From POS to CCS I got the 1B seat, so I had space enough for my legs
Form CCS to PTY I could get the 1A
In th PTY EZE leg I was anxious, because I couldn't do the upgrade in advance, and needed to wait. As I have a Platinum, never I was denied an upgrade, but sometimes I need to wait to the time to board.
Finally I got the 2E
Talking about the flight attendants, they are usually very kind and solve whatever I need. I love to fly trough COPA.
Other guys from my company use to travel by AA. But they do it in coach, and get un upgrade only from time to time. I'm talking about people with about 100.000 a year. So I prefer to use my One Pass account on these COPA flights, and have unlimited upgrades.
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Old 12-29-2002, 09:56 PM   #4
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I enjoy the bulkheads as well.
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Old 12-29-2002, 10:51 PM   #5
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Great trip report, Ariel!

Travel safely next week.
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Old 12-30-2002, 09:01 PM   #6
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Ariel, are you an elite member with any other airline besides OnePass?
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Old 12-31-2002, 04:47 AM   #7
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No, I do one one or two EZE-MIA-EZE in AA a year. And some other small trips (EZE-SCL (Santiago de Chile)-EZE and EZE-GRU (Saġ Paulo)-EZE.
But not enough to get an Elite status.
My bet was to as many flights as possible in one company, to get AN ELITE STATUS, instead of getting miles in different companies.
I could have got ELITE status in AA insted of CO (and COPA), but I prefered this last one, because it has better services to the cities where we usually nned to travel
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