Fly Porter

Well today I took my first flight on Porter Airlines. I have to say that it was quite an interesting experience. For those who don’t know, Porter Airlines is a new small airlines that primarily flies within Eastern Canada but recently started service to Chicago, New York, and Boston. Now I had heard of Porter through their ad campaign, but it really wasn’t until they started offering that service to Chicago that I started to take notice.

So what was it like? Well as you walk onto the plane, the flight attendant wears a pillbox hat, a little scarf tied around her neck, and a full stewardess uniform from the fifties. On board much is the same as most modern flights except that the orange juice I requested came in a glass. Plus the snack was bigger than I would have expected on a one hour flight (yogurt, a small muffin, and a granola bar).

One of the big advantages of taking Porter to Toronto is that it flies to Toronto City Centre Airport which is on the lakefront in front of downtown. For those from Chicago, it’s the equivalent to the old Meigs Field. It’s a small airport with a small terminal but it appears to be expanding to respond to demand. One of the quirky things about the airport is that it is on an island. Apparently Porter had pushed for a bridge to be built, but local residents opposed to increase traffic at the airport blocked the project. So after you pass through the terminal, you walk up to one of the shortest ferries on the planet. It leaves every 10 minutes and crosses a canal that is less than 100 feet wide. Another nice thing about Porter is that not only are they very very close to downtown, but they also have a free shuttle to take you from the ferry to the center of downtown Toronto. As my client mentioned when I met up with him today “It’s a no-brainer for anyone coming to downtown Toronto. Why take Air Canada all the way out to Pearson and have to take a taxi back?”

When I returned to the airport, there was another interesting deviation from what other modern airlines are doing. In the waiting area, they had free drinks (soft drinks, water, and juice) along with free sugar cookies. Plus they had free internet available at close to a dozen computers in the room. Most of us were placated with the liquids and sweet things. Though I got the impression that some of the older business-folk wanted their stiff drinks and sports channels.

As for the demeanor of the employees, they all seemed cheerful, young, and excited to be working there. I don’t know if they had been doing this sort of thing for very long or if their attitude had to do with being young and naive, but it was still refreshing.

Overall I would say that the little quirks like the uniforms and the free food at the waiting area made the experience kinda fun. Though you have to wonder if these little perks will remain permanent or if they are only to entice people to get people interested in flying with them. Then once they reach a certain profit level, they’ll start raising prices and cutting perks. But in regards to the flights into Toronto, that terminal location next to downtown will always be a big advantage over the other airlines flying into Pearson. I’ve already booked a flight back to Chicago in October, so we’ll see how that goes.


~ by Frank on August 31, 2009.

4 Responses to “Fly Porter”

  1. Sounds like they are doing something right since they keep on expanding.

  2. torn: I took them again last month and the shiny happiness of it kinda wore off. It was for a flight to Chicago with a stopover in Toronto. It was $100 cheaper, but I think they may go up in price instead of their competitors coming down. But I’ll still fly them for Toronto.

    Samy: You are welcome for the free publicity. Unless you come back with a free limo ride for me the next time in TO, I’ll be taking down your unsolicited plug shortly.

  3. Unfortunately this cute little airline (Porter) pays workers poverty wages. Currently their refuellers are on strike and guess who are fueling the planes – workers say untrained staff. Porter also puts safety last and has a history of sloppy health and safety practices, issues that were all discussed at negotiations. Don’t fly Porter until they get their house in order and please visit the Cope website.

    • Thank you, Mary, for this insight. Very saddened to hear it, because Porter is the only Chicago to Montreal airline to offer reasonable airfare. I suspect that they are not doing well since they run sales almost constantly and they have been cutting down and shuffling flights. Very few people I know fly them since they can accumulate points at other airlines that will take them to more exotic destinations.

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