Flight Food Review: Copa Business Class LAX-PTY

Posted in Copa, In the Air, International, Panama

As everyone knows, Panama is the gastronomic center of the world. Okay, okay, maybe it’s not. But the good news is, Copa Airlines still puts out a decent plate of food when you’re flying from LAX to Panama City in Business Class. Is it the best airline meal I’ve ever had? Not by a long shot. It’s serviceable, though, and that’s about all you can ask these days. Let’s start with the menu:

a menu on a plane

When faced with the choice of salmon vs. chicken, I usually opt for salmon. As an oily fish, it works well at altitude and doesn’t dry out but I was feeling the chicken for this flight, so chicken I got.

a bowl of nuts and a glass of water

This is what passes for warm nuts on Copa. Somewhat paltry compared to other carriers, but enough to whet the appetite. The glass of water is served to wet the appetite. I’ll see myself out…

a bowl of salad with corn and sauce

Some would say this salad is overdressed. Some would be right. The baby corn is a nice touch, although it always kind of freaks me out. As far as salads go, this one is solidly average.

a plate of food on a tableThis is the lomo saltado or “roast loin.” It’s better to think of it as a thicker beef carpaccio rather than two cold slices of beef. Overall, I enjoyed it although I couldn’t for the life of me figure out the sauce. Caesar dressing? Something like that. Pretty good!

a plate of food with rice and vegetablesNow, what I was expecting was a grilled chicken breast with veggies. What I got was a chicken breast stuffed with a cheesy tomato mixture. Was I mad? Not exactly. My healthful plans were thrown asunder, but it tasted pretty good so it all came out in the wash. Nice job, chicken. You filled me up.

a plate of food with grapes and meatThe snack was a cold cut plate with cheese and fruit. I think they could have put a little more effort into this, but honestly I wasn’t hungry at this point anyway so the plate qualified as bonus eats.

a plate of food on a table

Copa also served an onion omelette for breakfast that seemed more like a stuffed crepe. I would skip it if I were you.

Overall, the meal on Copa Business Class worked out fine. Solidly middle of the pack. I would love it if they would focus more on Panamanian food, as I love getting a taste of the airline’s home country whilst flying, but I understand the desire to appeal to everyone with one-size-fits-all options. You won’t have the best meal of your life on Copa but you’re not going away hungry either.


  1. For the entrée, I think you made a wise choice, chicken over salmon. As a Northwest boy. I get Wild Caught Pacific salmon, but pay through the nose. No airline serves it, using farmed Atlantic salmon to keep the cost down. Sorry, but I won’t eat it! The other plates appear serviceable. but nothing to write home about. The chicken is the best looking of the lot, so good choice. Also note that the LAX-PTY route was catered in Los Angeles. Copa is not an eater’s airline. A fair and objective report, but they could do a lot better if they were interested.

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