There aren’t a lot of options for flying in Canada. You’ve got Air Canada (the big one), then WestJet, and finally Porter. I mainly fly Air Canada within Canada, because it goes to my home-town (instead of going to St. John’s, which is an 8 hour drive away).
I’d never flown with Porter before this trip, but most of my friends who have love it. It’s a Toronto-based airline, so it’s usually taken by people flying to/from Toronto. There are definitely some pluses to flying with Porter, but there are also some not-so-pluses.
- It’s a wee little plane, so if you have a travel suitcase on the large size it gets air-checked. Not that big of a deal, but you should make sure everything you need for the flight is out of your bag. Also, be clear about where you’re flying if your plane is making multiple stops.
- Multiple stops means that you fly from Halifax to Ottawa, land, wait 30 minutes, then take off and fly from Ottawa to Toronto. If you’re not good with landing/taking off it can be annoying – although the 30 minutes wait isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
- You can’t use electronics or have headphones on during take off or landing, which can get annoying during a multiple-stop flight. Once you’re in the air you’re fine, but it doesn’t seem like you’re up for very long. Non-electronic distractions (books, writing, drawing, knitting, etc) should be stock-piled – especially if you get bored easily.
- They land really close to Toronto. You’re basically a ferry ride away from the city. It only took a $12 taxi to get to my friend’s place (usually the cost of a shuttle), although I could have also taken a streetcar for $3.
- Instead of the sesame-stick things or pretzels that other airlines offer, Porter gives you a choice in your snack: Root vegetable chips, almonds, or cookies. It’s free, and those root chips are very tasty.
- They offer free drinks, including coffee, tea, wine and beer. (Just remember to drink responsibly, especially if you’re on a small airplane).
- If you make multiple stops they feed you multiple times. On my flights I had a snack & drink on one leg, and a small meal & drink on the other. Considering that my flight was only about 3 hours long, that’s a decent amount of food to get. The meal wasn’t very notable, but had a small sandwich, small cup of pasta and a piece of chocolate.
Another plus/not-so-plus is that they automatically check you in the day before your flight. If you have a good phone or access to a computer/printer then it’s a real time saver. I have an older phone that was having issues with my email, so I had to log into my email on my friend’s computer, forward the email to my other account, then access that account on my phone, and download the file. If I had a better phone it would have been cake.
In all, flying can be annoying, but it’s the little things that make it easier. Like tasty root-vegetable chips.