I’m off to Canada with Porter Airlines today! Never heard of them? This regional airline operates flights between Canada and the United States.
Porter Airlines at Boston Logan
When I woke up, I learned that my flight was delayed from 9:20 am to 9:45 am. I ended up leaving my house at 7:15 am and was checked in and through security by 7:50 am. When I went through the backscatter machine, the agent had me look at the image, which cracked me up. Apparently, it looked like I had something in my left pocket (there was nothing) and a whole bunch of stuff in my head. In my head? Some might question that!
Somewhere between getting through security and sitting at the same seat until 9:30 am, my scarf mysteriously disappeared. I checked with TSA and every store that was open to see if anyone had turned it in, but no one did. Did I leave it in the bathroom or on my chair and someone took it? I only hope someone turned it in. It’s some kind of cruel karmic joke that I continually lose stuff while traveling.
Boarding the Flight
When it came time to board our flight, we only had to show our ticket to the gate agent who was also the agent when I checked in with my bag before security. I will give Porter Airlines an easy A+ for service as all of their employees are extremely helpful and they actually look happy to help passengers. That doesn’t always happen when flying. I went down an escalator, then a gangway, and down one step to board the plane.
Porter Airlines flies Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft, which aren’t puddle jumpers, but they are propeller planes. On takeoff, I felt the bumpiness of the plane more so than what you would feel with a big jet. If you have a fear of flying, you should know this because I don’t and I admit, I was a little nervous, but the plane quickly leveled off and we had a smooth flight for the remainder of the trip.
We soon reached a cruising altitude of 24,000 feet and the Porter Airlines male flight attendant, who was giving all instructions to passengers in both English and French, provided us with our declaration card. You should complete this, detach the perforated part, and put it inside your passport as you will need this upon arrival into Toronto.
Once everyone had a form, the flight attendants then provided passengers with snacks and beverages. Choices include Terra Chips, Blue Diamond Almonds, or cookies for snacks and for drinks there is water, soda, Starbuck’s coffee, wine, or beer. Yes, wine or beer at no additional charge. And yes, I am sticking to my commitment of healthier eating while traveling and so I chose the nuts and water. Go water!
Porter Airlines allows you to choose your seat in advance for an extra fee of $15 or $30 depending on its location. I chose a $15 seat in row 3, but in reality, the plane was so empty I could have sat anywhere. There was someone sitting next to me, but he immediately took the row behind me so I had the row to myself. The seats are similar in size and pitch to JetBlue and but for the bumpy takeoff, I would have called this an uneventful short flight.
When the pilot announced we would be landing at about 11:20 am, I started looking outside and what did I see? Yes — that’s Niagara Falls!
Since there are two sides to the Falls (American and Canadian), this perspective was a brand new one for me.
Landing at Billy Bishop Airport
This was my first time flying into Toronto and the skyline is quite impressive. We made a turn to approach the landing strip and I have to admit, from my perspective (and with absolutely no professional flying experience) I thought that was one crazy looking TINY landing strip. If you ever land at Boston Logan International Airport, you usually have to land over water. This is similar, but it looked like it was the smallest area to land on for a plane. Luckily, the pilot has far more experience than I do and we landed without an issue.
Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto
The doors opened and we were able to deplane and head into the airport to pick up our bags after we went through Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA). You’re then allowed to pick up your luggage. Not to worry as there is only one luggage carousel in this area and the bags come through fairly fast.
Hand your paperwork (hold onto your passport) to the agent and then you can either go upstairs to catch the free ferry to Toronto or take the second escalator up to catch a connecting flight. I went up this escalator, checked my bag in again and went over to the line for security. There are different security lines so make sure you are in the one for your particular destination or you will be on the wrong side of the airport. Billy Bishop Airport is a smaller airport, but it runs efficiently. It’s definitely smaller than Boston Logan or say Keflavik Airport in Iceland but they still get you from point A to point B.
Don’t forget to stop and admire the view of the CN Tower from the airport, especially if you’re only passing through the airport.
Security at this airport is different than in the US. For example, there was only one lane open and the bins are shallow white bins that you will need to put all of your things in. Leave your shoes on unless otherwise instructed. I was able to only take my laptop out, but it could be in the same bin with my other items. I went through the scanner, one agent asked me if the bag she was holding was mine and it was, so she proceeded to open it. What was “suspicious” on the x-ray machine? My box of business cards. She didn’t open it, put it on top of my bag, and moved onto the next person. It was significantly slower than in the US and that can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it.
Porter Airlines Departures Area
From there you take another escalator or a flight of stairs down to the departure area. Porter Airlines has built this to look like a business lounge and I have to say, it is quite nice. Only downside was that it was a busy time to arrive and the lounge was so messy. People just don’t know how to clean up after themselves!
In this area you have access to free beverages (coffee, water, juice, soda) and nuts. If you want something more, they do have a small cafe where you can purchase sandwiches, salads, and other snacks.
You can eat at a table or at one of the many cushy chairs throughout this area. The area is well laid out with dividers allowing for more privacy than what you might expect at your departure gate in the airport. The additional amenities include restrooms, staff on hand to answer your questions, and also a business area. Inside the partitioned business area are several large Mac computers. I was able to sit, work, and also charge my phone. The best part was that I didn’t have to rush to get off because there were clearly enough for everyone who wants access to one.
This makes passing the time before your flight a little less painful and far more comfortable. Even the lighting is different than what you would find when you’re sitting at the gate waiting for your flight. It’s softer and less harsh on the eyes. Although the little child’s shrill screams will still sound the same no matter where you are.
Final Thoughts on Porter Airlines
Overall, my experience with Porter Airlines was a good one. I like the non-stop, fast flights at affordable prices. Would I fly with Porter Airlines again? Absolutely and I hope to someday get back to Toronto again. Next up — Sudbury, Ontario!
Have you ever flown Porter Airlines? What did you think? Share your comments below or on any of the many other posts on the Travel Shop Girl website.