Last week I took a trip to Toronto with a friend and decided to share some of our experiences. In this first blog posting I want to share our experience with a somewhat new discount airline in Canada called Porter Airlines which is now in their 7th year of operation. Toronto is served by two airports. The main airport is Toronto Pearson International Airport which is about a one hour drive from downtown Toronto. The other smaller airport (Billy Bishop Airport) which is currently restricted to short haul flights, is located on an island right in downtown Toronto by the harbor and is used by Porter Airlines and Air Canada.
Porter Airlines is definitely not the typical airline. Their website describes the Porter Travel Experience as "simple, hassle-free and dignified, reflecting the days when flying was fun, exciting and part of a journey to look forward to". Their flight attendants wear retro uniforms complete with a hat and scarf. They fly all Canadian built Bombardier Q400 planes which hold 70 passengers (2x2 seat configuration) with leather seats and lots of legroom.
In addition to some Canadian Cities Porter also flies directly to Toronto from the following US destinations: Boston, Burlington VT, Chicago, Newark, NJ, Washington Dulles, and Myrtle Beach, SC. On our trip we had a 9am flight out of Washington Dulles which I had booked for $280 round trip per ticket. On comparison flights to other airlines at Toronto Pearson airport exceeded $550 round trip. On the day prior to our flight Porter sent me an e-mail which contained a pdf version of our boarding passes. We arrived at Dulles at 6:50am and waited 10 minutes for Porter to open up. There was a sign at the Porter Dulles counter that they do only staff the counter 2 hours prior to a flight.
Once onboard the flight and airborne one of the flight attendants came around with a basket of snacks which included Terra chips, cookies, and almonds. We were also given a choice of beverages all of which were complimentary including beer, wine, water, and soft drinks. Porter also provided real glasses for our beverages.
After getting through Canadian Customs and picking up our bags from baggage claim we took a short 5 minute ferry ride from the Billy Bishop Airport to the mainland. Ground transportation options included rental cars, taxis, or a complimentary Porter Shuttle Bus which takes you to the Union Station area of downtown. We took a cab from the airport to the Marriott Eaton Centre which cost about $16 CAD.
I was very happy with the service we received from Porter airlines. On the way back home we got to enjoy the Porter lounge at the Billy Bishop Airport which is open to all Porter customers. The lounge has large leather seats, a business center with iMac Computers, a Refrigerator stocked with your choice of free drinks, in addtion to free snacks, coffee, newspapers, and wifi.
Also noteworthy is Porter's plans to expand. They are currently seeking permission from the city of Toronto to expand the runway of the Billy Bishop Airport and add the Bombardier CS100 jet plane to their fleet. If approved then Porter will be able to offer flights to Toronto from other US destinations such as Orlando, Miami, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
On my next Blog Posting I plan to share more about things to see and do in Toronto...stay tuned!
Sign Advertising Porter Flights to DC @ Billy Bishop Airport
Free Drinks & Snacks in the Lounge!