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Last July when I flew Porter to NYC for work, I had to stay an extra night in NJ because my departing flight was delayed for too long due to thunderstorms (and the early curfew at YTZ). Out of that trip I ended up with $150 in vouchers/credits which were expiring soon. So I used them on my most recent trip down for work (although somehow, only the $50 voucher worked).

Coincidentally, on the day I was going to depart NYC, I received an email saying that my 20:10 flight had been cancelled, again due to weather (thunderstorms/lightning) and that I had been moved to a flight on the next day. I didn’t really want to do that because Jovian is still pretty young and I wanted to get home. So I looked at my options for changing my flight.

Through Porter’s web portal, I wasn’t able to change to the 19:30 flight so I tried to call into their call centre to try my luck. It turned out that that flight had been cancelled too! The agent suggested that I try and switch to the flight before that, departing at 18:15. That was way to early for me because I couldn’t get to the airport by then! But then he told me that that flight was already more than an hour delayed (this was around noon).

Meanwhile I had looked at other options. I could book a flight out of another airport for around the same time. But in the end, I figured that if there was a weather delay affecting EWR, it would affect JFK or LGA as well. So I might as well try my luck with Porter (at least the 18:15 flight had a known delay). I went back onto the web portal to change my flight and…the web portal didn’t let me (always showed an error).

So I called into the call center again. After another 30 min wait, I was able to change onto that flight. And I thought all was good!

A little bit later in the afternoon, I checked my flights again and found out that the 18:15 flight had been delayed to past 10PM! I knew this was bad because it was luckly that that flight wouldn’t fly into YTZ due to curfew. I looked at the flight before that, scheduled for 16:00 and it was delayed until 20:35! I could definitely make it to the airport before then so I switched to that one. I was kind of worried that the flight would leave earlier than expected though (does that ever happen)?

In the end, I made the right choice. That flight left “on time”, after the 4h35m delay and I was able to make it home that night. The 18:15 flight ended up being completely cancelled and a co-worker who was flying out of another airport to upstate NY ended up staying an extra night.

I’ve flown Porter Airlines a few times now, from Toronto Island airport to nearby destinations. In theory, it sounds like a great alternative to Air Canada and Pearson International Airport, but in practice there are always tradeoffs:

  • You get real glass for your on board drink, and you can also get complimentary beer or wine!
  • There’s free drinks and snacks at the Porter lounge, even in airports other than YTZ
  • The check-in and security is fast at YTZ
  • The check-in system is online so you don’t have to carry around a paper boarding pass (although you do need a mobile device)
  • The points program is very easy to understand

But, here’s what’s not so great:

  • The planes are small and all propeller planes, so the flight is noisy no matter where you sit
  • No personal on-board entertainment system – not a big deal for the short flights though
  • It sounds convenient to be able to get to YTZ by transit, but you actually end up waiting a lot. Waiting for TTC, then waiting for the free shuttle, then waiting for the ferry to cross to YTZ. It sucks if you’re pressed for time

By the way, YTZ also has Air Canada flights, but for whatever reason they only fly to Montreal! AC might as well not fly out of YTZ.