Canada’s Porter surprises; mulls in-flight connectivity

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.

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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.

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10 Responses to Canada’s Porter surprises; mulls in-flight connectivity

  1. Ludwig von Hapsburg XII "Stinky" May 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm #

    Nice…uhhhhh…inflight magazine stowage area.


  2. Yossarian May 16, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    MMmmmmm, yeah that’s definately PG-13 stuff.

    What are you doing next Saturday, RWG? ;-)

  3. Mary Kirby May 16, 2009 at 11:35 am #

    Surely that gets a “G” rating in this day and age :)

  4. Anonymous May 17, 2009 at 11:48 am #

    I see that the cup of the orange juice is made of glass. Would that be for promotional purposes on press day?

  5. Portomaniac May 17, 2009 at 2:36 pm #

    Cups made of glass are standard on Porter. They don’t do plastic. Being fed while aboard is also standard (sometimes really good sandwiches, sometimes what RWG had), beer and wine are complimentary. And served in glass glasses. Not plastic.

    And RWG, you left out the mini cruise you get to take when on your way to or from the airport — world’s shortest ferry ride, about 400 feet.

  6. Mary Kirby May 17, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    Hey now, I had to save something for the video blog! Nothing like trying to shoot your own video – arm outstretched, camera in hand – on the shortest ferry ride in the world :)

  7. Mary Kirby May 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    The glass is for real. Porter is awesome! Talk about making a bold customer service statement. And I cannot underscore enough just how cool the FA’s were. I was literally in a trance watching one of the gals do the belt buckle move. It felt like time stood still as she slid the belt into the buckle and showed us the exits. Totally committed. Awesome stuff.

  8. Portomaniac May 17, 2009 at 10:17 pm #

    The interior of Porter’s Q400s were designed to hold slightly less than the maximum number of seats (I believe a fully-loaded version of this model of the Q400 has 78 seats, while Porter’s hold 70). This would explain the extra legroom — but you probably already knew that. The idea, with the leather seats and extra legroom, was to replicate as closely as possible the feeling of riding in a German-built sedan — quiet, smooth, solid, comfortable.
    It appears they’ve succeeded.

  9. Mary Kirby May 18, 2009 at 7:44 am #

    I didn’t realize the aim was to replicate a German-built sedan. They did indeed succeed (70 seat config really makes a big difference).

  10. Portomaniac June 5, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    You’re ahead of the curve! Porter’s only just officially annouced the Spectrum seating. Well done, RG!