Sheila Gallant-Halloran

Made-to-measure travel; please, go away! :-)

Flying Porter – Chattel, Begone!

In my former life, I was a regular business commuter, and well acquainted with the Otttawa-Toronto flight corridor. In the olden days (yes, I’m that old), a special treat was flying to Toronto on Wardair. Ah. Service with a friendly smile. Assistance with your coat. Champagne and OJ for brekkie. Made the morning financial meetings a little less boring. ūüôā

But then Wardair disappeared, and it was AC (or, at one time, Canadian) to either Pearson or the Billy Bishop Island airport for thrice-weekly visits.

AC Jazz and Tango offered fast, inexpensive, and convenient service with multiple flights throughout the day Рperfect for business commuters. The island airport was  better than flying into Pearson, as you landed in downtown Toronto.  A quick ferry from the island, and then a bus trip to the Royal York, and you avoided the half hour, one-way, $50 cab ride downtown. You could make an 9:00 meeting quite easily on a 7:00 am flight. Perfect.

But… it¬†wasn’t Wardair.

Sure, it was fast, inexpensive (at times), and convenient – but there¬†was always the¬†hint that¬†business commuters were¬†something akin to chattel.¬† (A former colleague of mine had less than kind things to say about Tango. He hated the low-cost feel, and to him, Tango was an acronym that stood for “That’s All, Now Get Off” ….)

I did that business commuting between Ottawa and Toronto for several years. In recent times, though,¬†I chucked it, in favour of working as an independent contractor, and telecommuting. I don’t miss the thrice-weekly visits to Toronto, but have been pleasantly surprised by recent trips, and the opportunity to fly Porter from Ottawa to Toronto.

Billy Bishop airport has changed dramatically in the past couple of years. Gone are the barrack-like buildings that housed the terminal and army-style cafeteria. Gone are the wait lounges with vinyl-covered chairs and banquettes that looked like they were stolen from a 1960s hospital waiting room. Gone are the godawful outdoor queues for the ferry ride (just brutal in February wind and snow).

The buildings have been redone, as have the interior waiting areas. Now, Porter has lounges for their guests, free of charge (for everyone – not just for the super elite passengers)¬†– so you can grab a coffee or a soft drink, and maybe check your email on the computers provided. Onboard flights, you’re even offered a free sandwich for lunch, with a glass of wine.¬† (See a description of their lounges at¬†– here’s their photo of Toronto’s lounge, as my cellphone camera died.)

And you wait inside a building, with a covered walkway to the ferry ride. 

What a treat to not be treated like chattel! It was almost an homage to Wardair, with Porter’s¬†embrace of¬†service.

I’ve flown Porter from Ottawa to Toronto maybe three times this quarter (nowhere near the thrice-weekly visits of old), and their¬†flights¬†have the¬†speed, inexpensive fares, and convenience I remember from my business commuting days … but, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Porter’s efficiency, friendly and gracious service, and the “chattel, begone” feel.

Keep up the great work, Porter!  I love flying with you guys!


November 2, 2010 - Posted by | Lush Life Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

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