So, a few months ago I made a short trip from Toronto to Ottawa and I flew there via none other than Porter Airlines. There were a few reasons I chose this airline: (1) The flight times were better than the Air Canada alternative, (2) They flew out of the city centre instead of Pearson which is not easily or conveniently accessible by any public transportation from Hamilton, and (3) I had recalled all of their advertising that emphasized the “Porter experience” and I wanted to see if it lived up to the hype. Did it ever.
Not having a car to take to the airport and park, I took the Go-Train from Burlington to Toronto and was planning on taking a short Uber ride from Union Station to Billy Bishop Airport. To my surprise, I found out that Porter offered a free airport shuttle from Union to the airport (yay for saving a few dollars)! The stop is located just in front of the Starbucks next to the station and it runs, I believe, every 15 minutes.
Since the airport is on Toronto Island, the shuttle stops at the main-land building and then there is the option of taking the ferry or walking across via the brand-new underground tunnel. We chose to walk since it was faster. You can simply walk across the tunnel or walk on the moving walkways which cuts the walking time in half (no matter what, the walk should only take you 2 minutes max).
Once inside the airport, security was a breeze since the airport was so small. The Porter lounge made waiting for the flight less stressful (I hate flying), offering free beverages and snacks. The beverages include water, pop, Tazo tea, and Starbucks coffee and the snacks included trail mix and cookies (not the best selection). With that being said, can you really complain about free things (answer – no). My only qualm with the lounge was that it was surprisingly dirty. Yes, people should clean up after themselves, but there should also be airline personnel or airport maintenance individuals cleaning up what was left behind. It was hard to find a table between lounge chairs that wasn’t covered in dirty cups, food, or garbage. The lounge chairs are comfy, leather armchairs that definitely beat out regular airport chairs.
The plane ride was wonderful. They offer free snacks and beverages (same selection as the airport lounge PLUS red & white wine) and serve them to you in REAL glasses! None of that plastic cup business with Porter. What really stood out though was when the little girl in the row in front of me was scared to be flying and one of the flight attendants went over to her, told her there was nothing to be afraid of, and gave her a keychain and told her to keep it safe until the end of the flight. The little girl was so excited to be “in charge” of the flight attendant’s key-chain that she forgot about how scared she was to fly. Little things like that make the airline experience even more prominent in my mind.
I should point out that when you bring a carry-on suitcase that is intended to fit into the overhead bin, it doesn’t actually go there. All carry-on luggage (except for the personal item that is intended to fit under the seat in front of you) is gate checked before you walk onto the plane and then put underneath the plane. You then pick it up right when you walk off the airplane.
Finally, the Porter lounge in the Ottawa International Airport was definitely a better experience than the one at the Billy Bishop Airport. It was secluded from the rest of the airport and was MUCH cleaner. I would definitely fly with Porter again, it was comfortable, affordable, and the perks are impossible to pass up.
Please note that this post was not sponsored by Porter in any way, I just wanted to share my experience with you all in hopes that I can provide you with information that can help you make a decision with whom to fly with!