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Porter Airlines: Montreal-Toronto City Center

Posted by Dave / January 2, 2007

PorterPlane.jpgOn December 11th, Porter Airlines commenced their Toronto - Montreal route, they're second destination since starting service to Ottawa in the fall. The route links Montreal's Trudeau International Airport with Toronto's City Center Airport, allowing travelers to not only avoid using the busy Pearson Airport in Toronto, but also the expensive taxi ride from that airport to downtown Toronto. Over the holiday period, this Poutiner took advantage of this new route.

On the Montreal end of things, you unfortunately still have to deal with the headaches of a large airport. However, the fact that Porter only currently has 4 flights a day (bumping up to 10 per weekday in January when their 4th aircraft is delivered) means that you have no long check-in lines to deal wtih. Other than that, it's headaches as usual at the airport. It isn't until you board the plane that you realize you're experiencing a new (or long lost) way of flying.

The aircraft are brand new, so the cleanliness is appreciated. You're greeted by flight attendants who look very fashionable, but still act like they like their job. Being greeted with a genuine smile when boarding a plane is a nice change. Next, when you get to your seat, you see that you have more leg room that you know what to do with. At least, that's how it felt for me having only traveled in Economy Class before.

Great Porter fact number 3: They bought Bombardier Q400 aircraft. Since most of you are not as Aviation Enthused as I am, I'll let you in on a secret.....the Q stands for "Quiet". In order to fly into Toronto City Center Airport, Porter has to use Turbo Prop (propeller) aircraft. However, what Bombardier has done with the Q400 (and the Q200 and 300) is incorporate noise suppression technology that cancels out a lot of the noise and vibration. To put it simply, microphones pick up the vibration and noise of the engine and a computer generates counter noise viration so that you can't hear the noise as much, making this plane actually quieter than a jet. Add to this the fact that you get free lunch, wine, beer and soft drinks/water on the flight....and BAM....Fantastic!

Map of Airport and City

Porter's terminal at City Center Airport is a pleasure to travel through. You get from the terminal to the ferry to the taxi stand all without going outdoors with a new gate system set up for the ferry. On the Toronto end of the ferry you can either pick up a taxi or take Porter's free shuttle to the corner of York and Front streets, right across from Union Station. When waiting for your flight in the terminal, you have free wireless internet access, computers already set up for your use and free coffee, drinks and snacks.

The only complaint I would have on Porter is the size of the baggage claim area. Our flight was about 75% full, and we were pretty packed in. If more flights are added as planned to New York, Chicago and Boston, they'll really need to expand the area more. But for the moment, it's not a major issue.

Will I fly Porter again? 100% yes. Cheaper than the train a lot of the time and better/faster service. If you have to get to either Toronto or the rest of Southern Ontario (the free shuttle bringing you to Union Station makes a connection to the train a breeze) I would highly recommend this airline.



Ian / January 6, 2007 at 06:39 pm

I'm one of the contributors for the TO version of this blog. I thought this was a really interesting article. Did you know Porter airlines is under heavy fire from a lot of Torontonians (including our recently re-elected mayor) because it's occupying valuable land on our redeveloping waterfront? I personally wouldn't mind seeing Porter disappear from our fair city, but it was interesting to read a positive article about it!
Dave / January 8, 2007 at 09:45 am
I had wanted to include a lot of that in the article, but it was already getting a bit long, and also figured it was more "Toronto News". A few facts that I find quite amusing.

1) CommunityAir (the group against the airport) keep saying how "Toronto has spoken, they voted in a mayor that's against the airport". However, the two other candidates were pro-airport. So that means more Torontonians voted Pro Airport.

2) There are reports that CommunityAir is actually run by Condo Developers. So their only really interested in building more condos. Money money me me.

3) Wasn't there a study that showed the Gardiner Expressway caused more noise than the airport?

I understand that some people are against the airport, that's fine. It's more the fact that you'd most likely never see a park where the airport now sits. It would most probably become more condos.

All this being said, I'm not living in Toronto, so I should probably leave it to you guys to figure out.
Wrenkin / January 10, 2007 at 09:36 pm
1. In the most recent election there were more than 3 Candidates, and Miller still got 59% of the vote. The next most popular candidate got 32%, and the 'third' candidate you speak of, who only got attention because he was a past president of the Liberal Party, got a whopping 1.4%. Were you talking about the previous election, when the bridge first became an issue? Because that wasn't exactly a three-person race either.

2. That doesn't imply that all people who oppose the airport are interested in more condo development. Indeed, since some are opposed due to their desire to see the city more connected to its waterfront, and since waterfront condos are often blamed for further disrupting that connection, I don't see how that's an unreasonable or improbable belief.

3. There are also people who want to 'do something' about the Gardiner, where 'do something' is alternately defined as burying it, replacing it with a really wide surface street, or just making it disappear, magically. The point is they can both be ridiculous.

Lastly, the whole idea of getting rid of the airport is that it sits inappropriately on an island, with no bridge, already composed mostly of parkland, and none of which (with the possible exception of the yacht clubs) is private property. It is unlikely that that it would be a prime site for condo development, especially when there are whole swaths of port land with, you know, roads already in place that the city is trying to give away nearby. Maybe had they remembered to submit the Expo bid they might have built something with an eye towards future conversion, but I'm not gonna hold my breath waiting for the hoarding to go up
Tony Young / February 2, 2007 at 04:46 pm
I am a travel agent. And I must say, the comments I have been hearing back from my clients who have had the chance to fly Porter, have been 100% satisfied. From the service to the aircraft to being able to fly into downtown Toronto.

It is about time flying to Toronto has been made humane. The idea of bringing back "the way we use to fly" is really appealing to us all. Airlines such as AC and Westjet have taken much of the service away or lack a professional look for friendliness. Porter has managed to give the passenger both. A professional looking, friendly, flight attendant.

Hats off to Porter, I see this little airline growing at a rapid pace and showing the big guys how it really should be done.
Janey / July 11, 2007 at 07:01 pm
Slightly off-topic:
I object to the friendly service provided by Westjet being compared to that of Air Canada.
As you can see, at the moment I am a WestJet fan.
My first flight with Porter Airlines is tomorrow - to Montreal.
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