Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Day With Porter

I love flying new airlines. I love flying in general. Jetsetting from one destination to the next, even if the destinations aren't terribly exotic. Air travel, no matter what, is always exotic because, well, you are flying through the air.

Today my friend Jenny and I had the privilege of flying Porter Airlines, a relatively new airline based out of Toronto that serves destinations in the eastern United States and Canada, including such out of the way seasonal destinations as Myrtle Beach.

The firs plus about Porter in Newark where we flew out of is that there was no line to check in. We literally walked right up to the counter and checked in, served by a boy/man who speak English, Spanish, and Portuguese. He seated us together with no problem or hesitation, we were able to check one bag completely free of charge, and after several minutes we were off.

At the gate where Porter was leaving from there was no one in the security line. Again, this is not an exaggeration, and this has also never happened to me. Going through security is generally one of the biggest drags of flying, but since Porter was one of the only airlines to fly out of that gate there was virtually no one around. Several more minutes and we were off again.\

Now, the flight did depart late. And it was also about 15 degrees fahrenheit in the waiting room at the gate. But I realize the temperature part is something out of Porter's control. I was afraid that the late departure would sour me on Porter, but they quickly made up for it in the air.

Though the "brunch" turned out to be just a snack, the vegetable chips we chose were not chips made from various vegetables, but actual single vegetables made into chips. You could tell what each chip used to be: a beet, a yam, a carrot -- then dried out and made into a delectable chip. The drinks were served in actually glasses. Made of glass. And the water bottles had the adorable raccoon porter logo on them and they gave you the whole bottle. If you wanted it, they gave you beer and wine for free. You could have as much of anything as you wanted, and they asked you several times, all the while smiling brightly as they knew they were working for one of the few airlines that actually provided these kinds of services, if you wanted anything more.

But the real delight started when we got to Toronto. We landed at Toronto City Airport, which is on an island or peninsula literally a stones throw (if you have an arm like Jay Buhner) from downtown Toronto. We cruised in low over Lake Ontario and felt like we were buzzing the tops of sailboats as we landed, all along the city a startling backdrop to our right of skyscrapers and the famed CN Tower. One cannot understate the closeness of Toronto City Airport to downtown Toronto, or it's convenience and aesthetic appeal. Imagine if flying into Seattle you landed on 4th Ave South instead flying into SeaTac. That's more or less how convenient the Toronto City Airport is.

In the Toronto airport we were treated to a lounge with more free drinks and snacks and a row of brand new Macs free of charge should we have decided to use the internet. We saw members of the Toronto FC MLS team lazing about the terminal. People were starting to speak French. I was starting to freak out about how great all of it was.

Finally after another short flight we landed in Montreal and tried to find a bus that could take us downtown. When were inquiring about the 747 Express bus a couple came up to us and asked if we wanted their tickets -- they were still good and they had no use for them. So we rode into downtown Montreal for free. This time not courtesy of Porter, but I wouldn't be surprised if Porter hired the couple to give the tickets to us just to make our travel experience that much better. It's Porter, after all.

I think I'm going to name my first born son "Porter".

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