My last experience with the airline TACA, in Peru, didn’t start off well. Picture four gate agents and three luggage handoff points for a line stretching halfway down the Cusco terminal. It took 65 minutes to get to the front. The flight was delayed anyway, then delayed again waiting for the plane to get there from elsewhere. The 7:55 a.m. flight I’d arrived two hours early for ended up leaving at noon.

The crew tried their best though. They even gave us a sandwich and coffee at the gate to make up for it. Considering I paid $76 for the flight, I didn’t feel much of a right to be indignant.

In the air, it went fine. We got more food and a soda, which already put TACA way ahead of pricier competitor LAN. There was a business class section too, with wider seats, better food, and alcoholic beverages. The bi-lingual flight attendants were pleasant.

I had a simliar experience when I flew TACA in Guatemala, round-trip between Antigua and Flores (Tikal). They’re not perfect and you often have to do a good bit of hopscotching to get from one country in Central America to another since their hub is in El Salvador. But overall they deliver good value and make it easy to upgrade to their business class.

TACA flies three Airbus and one Embraer models that seat between 96 and 194 on their main routes. For more obscure in-country ones you could end up on something smaller. They have call centers in 25 countries and fly to nearly all the capital cities of Central and South America. TACA has flights from eight cities in the U.S. plus Toronto, but unless you’re going to Roatan you’ll probably have to make a connection in San Salvador.

See route maps and current deals at TACA.COM
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