Review of Porter Airlines flight Toronto Chicago in Economy

Airline Porter Airlines
Flight PD385
Class Economy
Seat 16D
Flight time 01:24
Take-off 17 Sep 21, 09:00
Arrival at 17 Sep 21, 09:24
PD 17 reviews
JAZ350
By 3064
Published on 17th January 2022

Background


Welcome back to the Canadian skies and welcome to Flight-Report's first Canada - Chicago Midway route posting. Among firsts, it's also a pleasure to post my first flight since the pandemic and  the inaugural restart to Chicago flights since Porter Airline's COVID19 suspension. 

It was no secret that Canada has had one of the strictest travel restrictions during the pandemic. The Canadian aviation industry stood at a standstill for over a year causing airlines such as Porter to completely halt their operation. As of recently, Canada reopened their borders thus allowing travellers to seize the moment and enjoy the luxuries of travel once more.

The boutique airline's route network returned in phases, with Canadian staple destinations restarting on Sept. 8, and U.S. destinations such as Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington following on Sept. 17, 2021.


BOOKING


The convenience of Toronto downtown airport offers the edge over all others as its accessibility is unmatched. With competitive fares and a great connections to major cities, airlines such as Porter appeal to travellers wishing for a quick seamless travel experience.

Booking was relatively easy. At the time Porter offered 2x daily flights into Midway and fares hovered around $200 as far as a month in advance. I found these rather on par with their Toronto- Chicago competitors like Air Canada and American Airlines. 


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pre departure & check in


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Billy Bishop's landslide terminal is in the heart of downtown Toronto and is well connected by TTC and the airport's complementary shuttle service. A 90 minute arrival seems sufficient for transborder travel. 


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The passenger terminal sits across the water and can be reached by an underground tunnel or ferry. 


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The tunnel is a 10 minute walk from the mainland to the island terminal but movable walkways make the journey quicker. 


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At 6AM, the airport began to get busy as US bound travellers flowed in. Check was relatively slow as airline crew checked vaccination and test records of passengers.  The terminal was near full capacity and security wait times increased as more passengers arrived.  


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Once airside, Toronto's harbourfront skyline can be seen from the airports departure lounge. 


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Though Air Canada and Porter are the only scheduled passenger airlines operating at the airport, Toronto City is home to flight schools and small private air operators. C-GLQQ can be seen resting after an overnight from Montreal with some GA aircraft in the background.


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It was a pleasant surprise to see a healthy concession offering at YTZ compared to other airports which have cut back due to COVID19. 


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routing


PD 385's routing took us west along Lake Ontario into the South Western Ontario regions. The flight flew directly over Detroit and channelled the southern Michigan until descent into Chicago 


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inflight


Aircraft: Bombardier DHC-8-400
Registration: C-GKQC
 Age: 10.7 Years
Layout: Y74


My aircraft, having arrived from Ottawa can be seen preparing for departure to Chicago.


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Porter sports the best looking Dash 8 cabin in the skies. Their Dash 8 Q400 aircraft have 68 standard seats and six premium seats to the front of the aircraft. 


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C-GLQX preparing for another transborder crossing to Boston.


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With a 30 minute delay, the aircraft was pushed and started, and made a short taxi to RWY 08.


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Moments later, the Toronto islands were visible before turning to the west towards MDW. 


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The greater Toronto coastline was visible for most of the climb out . Below Oakville and Mississauga are in view.


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Porter serves complimentary premium snacks in-flight, along with beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee and tea, most Canadian sourced. Due to the pandemic, passengers are allowed 10-15 minutes to consume their snacks and beverages without their masks. 


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As their route network comprise of relatively short flights, Porter Airlines doesn't have inflight entertainment or wifi. Window watching kept me entertained for most of the flight.


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As we neared Chicago, Indiana's Lake Michigan shoreline came into view.


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descent & arrival


Chicago's Skyline was visible as we neared final approach. The clear day awarded a spectacular view of the city. 


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Downtown Chicago.


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On Finals of RWY 22L over Bridgeport. 


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 A firm and abrupt landing at Midway is necessary as the runway is only 5500 ft. 


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Ground crew at Midway waited to welcome the inaugural flight. 


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As Toronto Billy Bishop doesn't have US Customs pre-clearnce, passengers clear immigration at Midway. The process is quick as there are not many international flights. 


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Verdict

Porter Airlines

8.0/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering10.0

Toronto - YTZ

9.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Chicago - MDW

7.8/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

Porter's return to the USA was well overdue. The airline was quick to capitalise on the easing of border travel and hopefully they are able to recover after their hiatus.
All in all, although small, the Porter Airlines has revolutionised trans-border and domestic travel by offering a completely different model in comparison to other carriers based in Canada. The boutique airline's hub is nestled in the heart of downtown Toronto Billy Bishop airport is very accessible and offers the general amenities one may expect. An easy enplane and deplane experience is also ideal for the business traveller and also those who wish to avoid the hassle to large hub airports. Service was great and I'd gladly use Porter at any given opportunity.

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6 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 592517 by
    JournoFlyer 69 Comments
    My first (and only) trip to Toronto was in the summer of 2019 and I remember spending the better part of an hour on the lakeshore watching planes take off and land at YTZ. Such a neat place, and the pictures you took are spectacular. Thanks for sharing!
  • Comment 592610 by
    lysflyer 1266 Comments
    Thank you for the report. It has been a pleasant ride with Porter. I really appreciate YTZ, such a charming little city airport.

    LYSflyer
  • Comment 592705 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6709 Comments
    Hi JAZ350, nice to see one of your reports again! Porter remains a better-than-average experience with free snacks and beer/wine even in pandemic times. Ever with the new denser seating configuration, the cabin is still more spacious than average for Economy. And of course, flying from Billy Bishop to MDW, another downtown airport is very convenient!

    Thanks for sharing!
    • Comment 594117 by
      JAZ350 AUTHOR 80 Comments
      Hi KévinDC, thank you, I'm happy to be posting again. I also agree, I was glad to be able to choose from their regular inflight food menu even during the pandemic. YTZ is a true quick getaway airport. Thanks for reading!

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