Porter: Fly the Friendliest Skies

I don't believe I have ever fallen in love with an airline. Correction: I KNOW I have never fallen in love with an airline. But Porter, with its delightful little wings, is playing the part of Cupid so very well. Porter is a small Canadian airline whose flagship location can be found at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on Toronto Island, just a two-minute ferry ride from the heart of downtown.
I have only flown with Porter twice, both occasions to New York City, and I consider the experience memorable on several counts: easy, fast, stylish and comfortable. The staff is courteous, friendly and accommodating; the service is impeccable; the speed with which they board the planes is efficient and problem-free. Oh, and did I mention that the fares are generally cheaper than those charged by those huge, impersonal commercial airlines?

For me (being the design whore that I am) it is the style and elegance of the airline that most intrigues me. For an airline that specializes in short-haul traveling, the design is impressive. Porter only flies to twelve cities in North America: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Thunder Bay, St. John's, Mont Tremblant, Halifax, Quebec City, New York, Chicago, Boston and Myrtle Beach. (Porter does plan to expand its service to include Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit and Windsor.) Despite its limited reach and its economical fares, Porter boasts a cachet and style not seen since the Hintonburg.
Because Porter is a small airline, lineups are practically non-existant. The check-in terminal in Toronto (shown above) is a gorgeous space with white slate floors, granite walls and simply-lit desks staffed by friendly and neatly-dressed representatives. Fresh flowers are almost always in evidence at the counter.
The lounge is another lovely space. Passengers are treated to free snacks, coffee, tea and soft drinks. There are Internet portals at each seat and a room where people surf the Net on large-screen monitors. Comfortable leather seats and table lamps provide a warm atmosphere.Stewardesses wear traditional attire (heels, a tailored uniform and a pill-box hat) for an adorable vintage touch. The seats are made of supple white leather and there is always plenty of leg room.This is the very beautifully designed in-flight magazine found on all of Porter's beautiful but compact Bombardier planes. Called Re:Porter (genius), it is printed on recycled paper and is compact enough to sneak into your carry-on. Inside, you'll find travel information about all of the cities that Porter flies to, including shops, restaurants, hotels and interviews with some of the residents and business owners.

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