Copa flight oversold

By Linda Huetinck
This item appears on page 28 of the August 2014 issue.
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My husband and I took four flights on Copa Airlines (Panama City, Panama; 800/359-2672) in February and March 2014.

For the first flight, from Bogotá to Cartagena, Colombia, we arrived 1½ hours early at the airport, got boarding passes and flew on a half-empty plane.

Flying from Cartagena to San Andrés Island on Feb. 27 was a very different story. Upon our arrival two hours early, the Copa counter agents, without even opening the computer, told us our flight was full. They said we did not have reserved seats and the flight was oversold, so we could not take the flight.

The facts were that we had reserved seats, having paid for the tickets six months earlier, and the night before we even had our hotel check to make sure our reservations were fine. 

Talking to a Copa supervisor did no good. We had three options: (1) stay an extra day in Cartagena at a hotel paid for by Copa, (2) try to go standby on our original flight or (3) fly back to Bogotá and on to San Andrés on Avianca (Bogotá, Colombia; 800/284-2622, www.avianca.com).

Since the flights for options 2 and 3 were at nearly the same time, we took the last option. Copa made the flight arrangements on Avianca and paid for our tickets. In the end, it took most of the day for the expected one-hour 25-minute flight. 

Copa Airlines allows printing of boarding passes 36 hours before departure, so for our last two flights, we had hotel staff print our boarding passes 35 hours ahead and encountered no difficulties.

In compensation, Copa gave us each a 70-dollar coupon for further flights, which we have no plans to use, and a free fast-food chicken sandwich. 

If you fly Copa, be sure to print boarding passes well ahead of going to the airport. A better plan is to fly Avianca.

LINDA HUETINCK

Alhambra, CA

ITN sent a copy of Ms. Huetinck’s email to Copa Airlines (Box 522700, Miami, FL 33152) but received no reply.

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

My husband and I took four flights on Copa Airlines (Panama City, Panama; 800/359-2672) in February and March 2014.

For the first flight, from Bogotá to Cartagena, Colombia, we arrived 1½ hours early at the airport, got boarding passes and flew on a half-empty plane.

Flying from Cartagena to San Andrés Island on Feb. 27 was a very different story. Upon our arrival two hours early, the Copa counter agents, without even opening the computer, told us our flight was full. They said we did not have reserved seats and the flight was oversold, so we could not take the flight.

The facts were that we had reserved seats, having paid for the tickets six months earlier, and the night before we even had our hotel check to make sure our reservations were fine. 

Talking to a Copa supervisor did no good. We had three options: (1) stay an extra day in Cartagena at a hotel paid for by Copa, (2) try to go standby on our original flight or (3) fly back to Bogotá and on to San Andrés on Avianca (Bogotá, Colombia; 800/284-2622, www.avianca.com).

Since the flights for options 2 and 3 were at nearly the same time, we took the last option. Copa made the flight arrangements on Avianca and paid for our tickets. In the end, it took most of the day for the expected one-hour 25-minute flight. 

Copa Airlines allows printing of boarding passes 36 hours before departure, so for our last two flights, we had hotel staff print our boarding passes 35 hours ahead and encountered no difficulties.

In compensation, Copa gave us each a 70-dollar coupon for further flights, which we have no plans to use, and a free fast-food chicken sandwich. 

If you fly Copa, be sure to print boarding passes well ahead of going to the airport. A better plan is to fly Avianca.

LINDA HUETINCK

Alhambra, CA

ITN sent a copy of Ms. Huetinck’s email to Copa Airlines (Box 522700, Miami, FL 33152) but received no reply.