I booked a flight last week for an employee, and I was careless about checking his departure schedule. My primary focus was on his return, as I'll be flying out on the same day and wanted to share the first leg of the trip to summarize our work during his visit. His departure had a 4:33 am departure SJO-PTY, connecting to a flight departing PTY at 4:02 pm. This left him at PTY for over 9 hours. It was the default schedule checked off by copaair.com during the booking process, and I noticed it instantly when the confirmation page popped up. I called in to fix it, and they said I would have to wait until it was ticketed to fix it. Fair enough. I waited, then got pulled in 50 directions most of the day and called back late in the afternoon to change it. They wanted me to pay an extra $86, even though almost every combination imaginable was available at the same price that day - including the one we wanted. When I asked for a supervisor, I was told that was impossible, as this is company policy. The conversation was in Spanish, and I didn't understand every word of it, but it was clear that the blame was being put on changes in fare class availability. Either the web site or the agent was wrong, as it was still being offered in real time online. I refused to pay the $86, opting instead to write to a Copa Exec with whom I have had some previous positive exchanges. He replied within 10 minutes to tell me he would fix it, and within 30 minutes I had received a phone call from Bogotá (I didn't know they had a call center there) with an apology and confirmation of a no-charge change to the flight I wanted. The response to my escalated complaint was just incredible. I love flying Copa, and I really expected to be facing a decision of either continuing to fly them with a resentment or just abandoning them altogether. Fortunately, I won't have to do either. What I can't understand is that management as clearly focused on keeping customers happy is still failing to empower front line employees to fix the most simple of problems. Not that is should matter (but I live in the real world), I am Presidential Platinum. Seems very risky to me that some by-the-book agent could be so firm on a very minor and reasonable request from someone they have obviously targeted by granting this status which cannot yet be officially earned. Copa does so very many things right. I sure hope that they can fix the things they still do wrong without requiring us to escalate. Most passengers would not even have a connection inside of the company with whom they could communicate, and this could have very easily caused them to lose a valuable customer. I have booked two more round trips since this occurred, and I have several more in the works. In fairness, this is on par with the few negative experiences I have experienced with Avianca. Living in Medellin, and having lived for 8 years in San Jose, CR prior to this, I have learned that Latin American service standards are never going to make a Gringo feel warm and fuzzy. I'm hoping (but not expecting) for this to start changing before I'm too old to notice or care.