Over this past year we’ve flown with Porter more than any other airline. They’ve taken us to Boston, Chicago and Washington DC (blog posts on those later trips to come). On all of those trips we have enjoyed flying Porter, despite an overnight delay for Stewart. In an age when airlines charge for every little thing it’s been nice to experience one that has a bit more of a traditional and customer focussed approach.
Porter are based at the tiny Billy Bishop Airport on the Toronto Islands, which ranks as Canada’s 9th busiest airport. From there, they fly to over 20 destinations within Canada and the USA, including four major American cities – Boston, Chicago, Washington DC and New York. Can you tell where we plan to visit next? So here are six reasons why we think they are great:
Being located on the Toronto Islands means the airport is quick and easy to get to from downtown. You can reach it by either taking the ferry, which takes a matter of minutes, or by taking a quick stroll along the newly opened tunnel. They even have a free shuttle bus that runs between the airport and Union Station.
2. Free cookies!
Who doesn’t love free food? It’s not just free cookies either, there are a range of drinks and snacks on offer. You’ll find this complementary snack area in the departure lounge at Billy Bishop, ready to keep you satisfied whilst waiting for your plane to arrive. As you can imagine, Stewart’s bag ends up stuffed with enough cookies and ginger ale to last us the first couple of days.
3. Fantastic views of Toronto
Another bonus of boarding a plane in the heart of Toronto is the views. During take off and landing you’re treated to fantastic views of the skyline and get a real appreciation of just how big Lake Ontario is.
You can see what the view of Toronto is like on takeoff in our video below, or if reading by email, click here.
4. Friendly staff
I’ve found the airline staff at Porter to be amongst the friendliest and most helpful of air stewards we’ve come across. On my flight home from Washington DC one of the stewardesses pointed out Niagara Falls to us all, much to the annoyance of everyone sitting on the wrong side of the plane eg me!
5. Gate porter
The planes Porter flies are pretty small and so too of course, are the overhead bins. Despite this, they still have a very generous cabin baggage allowance. To combat this problem they have a service called GatePorter. This allows you to leave your carry-on at the plane door so it can be whisked away to join the rest of the bags in the hold. Your bag will then be waiting for you at the door as you get off the plane.
We haven’t needed to used this service but its real advantage comes when it speeds up boarding time. You no longer get stuck behind those
idiots lovely people with their huge bags desperately trying to lift them up and cram them into tiny gaps. It also means more space for us.
6. Real glasses
If the drinks and snacks at the lounge weren’t enough for you then you can tuck into a complementary treat on the plane too. My favourite part is that the cold drinks are served in real glasses. Not only is it a nicer drinking experience but it saves an awful lot of waste. One million plastic cups are used by US airlines in just six hours so I dread to think how many are wasted worldwide!
Finally, their mascot is a raccoon and everyone loves Raccoons! Well, maybe just me.