Porter Airlines is a gem. There is no other way to describe it. I finally had a chance to check out the Canadian operator's service last week and I was amazed at its gleaming Toronto City Centre Airport (TCCA) terminal, which boasts a complementary café service, free Wi-Fi and the type of seating you'd expect to see in a first-class-only premium lounge.
Porter currently flies 12 70-seat Q400s but it continues to expand and will have a total 18 of the type by year-end. The carrier even revealed to me that it is open to the Q400X, Bombardier's propped 90-seat stretched version of the turboprop, pending more knowledge of the type's performance characteristics.
So what do you get when you fly Porter? Try extra-comfortable leather seats (the carrier recently upgraded from the baseline "925" seat to snazzy new Spectrum seats), LOTS of legroom, a proper snack-box even on short-hop flights and a lot of love from the beautifully-tailored flight attendants. Check out the pics below and then read on.
So what might travellers get in the future? Well, it makes little sense for Porter to offer installed in-flight entertainment to passengers due the short duration of most of its flights (it does offer a nice in-flight magazine, which is published quarterly).
However, and this is the part I love, Porter is considering offering in-flight connectivity to passengers "especially for data", reveals a Porter spokesman. "We're thinking about how it might be practical for our business model."
He says the Aircell solution - currently offered in the USA - "might work to a large extent to our network but we're probably a ways away from doing something like that".
Well, good on ya, Porter. If you do push forward with connectivity, you'd be the first regional to do so.