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COPA Airlines opens Latin America to Tampa Bay

I recently had the pleasure of attending a kick off lunch honoring the CEO of COPA Airlines and celebrating the new route of Panama-Tampa.   It was one of those rare moments in the Tampa Bay area where I really felt like I was part of a metro area that worked together on something very important for the good of the region.

Luncheon at the Marriott at TPA (Tampa International Airport) celebrating the new service to/from Panama with COPA Airlines.  COPA CEO Pedro Heilbron is on stage on the left.

Luncheon at the Marriott at TPA (Tampa International Airport) celebrating the new service to/from Panama with COPA Airlines. COPA CEO Pedro Heilbron is on stage on the left.

But that is not what most people will be interested in.  The possibilities that open up with the inaugural service between Panama and Tampa, which starts 16th December 2013, are considerable.  COPA Airlines serves 66 destinations in 29 countries.  Travelers who are not familiar with this airline should become interested.

While the new Tampa service is what got my attention, there is also service to/from Orlando and Miami in the State of Florida and Washington-Dulles, New York-Kennedy and Boston-Logan in the Northeast.

The new TPA service will include four weekly departures at 0702 arriving Panama at 1012 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  The service to TPA from Panama departs at 1834 and arrives TPA at 2153 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

A quick look at some fares departing TPA on 17th December returning the 23rd December showed the following fares (inclusive of taxes and fuel surcharges): Bogota $741; Aruba $467 and Santiago de Chile $1484.  The website is easy to navigate and is available in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

An advertisement at the TPA Baggage Return zone promotes the new TPA - Panama service on COPA Airlines.

An advertisement at the TPA Baggage Return zone promotes the new TPA – Panama service on COPA Airlines.

The airline is also part of the Star Alliance for anyone who tracks points.  This is fairly significant.  Also one destination to note is Havana.  While citizens of the United States don’t have the freedom, for the most part, to travel to Cuba, this certainly opens up another option, particularly for those who don’t care to travel on Cubana and don’t mind a flight overshooting their destination to change aircraft.

There is a section on the website for special promotions and it is quite easy to find seats, or lack thereof, at these promotional rates.   I wasn’t able to find any of the bargains showing out of Miami, however, it could be that it is a sale that started a while ago and everything is sold out.  These prices include the fuel surcharge but not any applicable taxes.

North America

Departing from: Destination Fare Details
Miami Managua US$348.00 Buy Now!
New York Guayaquil US$369.00 Buy Now!
Cancun Havana US$374.00 Buy Now!
Miami San Jose US$378.00 Buy Now!
Orlando San Jose US$388.00 Buy Now!
Miami Montevideo US$435.00 Buy Now!
Miami Medellin US$454.80 Buy Now!
Miami Cali US$454.80 Buy Now!
Miami Bogota US$482.80 Buy Now!

If you are considering a trip to South America or Central America from Florida, the new Tampa service is a nice option.  Regardless of whether you choose TPA, MCO or MIA to depart from there is a lot of non-stop service out of Panama that makes choosing COPA Airlines a good choice.  Some sample destinations include Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Recife, Lima, Quito Medellin, Bogota, Port of Spain, San Jose, San Salvador and Guatemala to name just a few.

Subscribe to their email alert system for sale fares and you might score yourself a cheap trip to South America.  On the flip side, visitors from Latin America now have a new destination in Tampa Bay and hopefully they’ll head to Tampa Bay’s super cool arts district otherwise known as Downtown St. Petersburg with five distinct arts districts generally running along Central Avenue!  Travel well!

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