Copa to Medellin from SJU: 5 Hours Instead of 30


Copa to Medellin is part of the Coupe du Monde Trip Report.

En route to Doha for the World Cup (see Booked! Qatar Qsuites Round 3 for the World Cup), I had to stop by Medellin to pick up the Urban Turbans (see Detour before Doha). The issue was logistics. Do you know where Puerto Rico is on a map? It’s nowhere near the mainland, yet for most flights to the Caribbean or Latin America, I have to fly 3 hours to Miami, wait an eternity at the airport, then fly all the way back to where I started (see Just Got Home & Now I’m Leaving Again).

The better alternative is to fly Latin carriers like Avianca or Copa which arrive in less than half the time. The problem is that those flights tend to be expensive and points options, if available, are either steep or come with fuel surcharges, negating the value of the redemption.

I found a flight on Copa which left San Juan at 6AM, had a one hour stopover in Panama City, and landed in Medellin at 10:40AM. Although it was in coach, it was smooth and efficient. I am a little irritated that I burned 25k United points given better redemption options (see Revealed: An Insane Use of The United ‘Free’ One way (Part 1) & (Part 2)), but was happy not to pay the retail price of $500.

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