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"Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon? We could float among the stars together, you and I." - "Up Up and Away" by Jimmy Webb
On my way to destinations, many airliners, obstacles and service abuses have accompanied me quite frequently. So, you must understand my contentment over some miraculous creative individuals who gave me hope during a recent trip to Toronto.
Oddly, I departed Chicago from Midway Airport (I usually travel through O'Hare). With much delight, the distance to Midway was quite short from downtown-optionally, I could have ridden the Orange Line on Chicago's "L" subway system. Once at the airport, seeing Porter Airline's clean and straightforward logo, I immediately admired the simplistic approach and hoped it was a reflection of the upcoming service.
The ticketing agent greeted me with a surprising smile, and was not overly animated, like many other trendy jetliners. Once in my clean leather seat, I nestled comfortably and anticipated the short flight to Toronto. Not that I drink regularly while flying, but I was happy to discover that Porter provides complimentary wine and beer, along with other unexpected free refreshments and snacks. The service was welcoming and pleasant, and I was inspired to be kind and thoughtful in return. Probably because I am used to domestic service in the States, I was simply amazed.
With 30 minutes to land, I decided to glance at the in-flight magazine. I felt as if I were reading Monocle magazine. It turns out that Tyler Brule helped to brand it as both distinctively efficient and memorable. I only needed the 30 minutes to "glance" at the magazine, but promised myself to read it on my return flight.
Porter Airlines is a regional airline headquartered at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on the Toronto Islands. It operates regularly scheduled flights between Toronto and locations in Canada and the United States using Canadian-built Bombardier Dash-8 Q 400 turboprop aircraft. Porter launched in 2006 with many controversies. The major one: evicting its rival airline Air Canada Jazz, causing opposition by Toronto's mayor and city councilors, local community groups, and nearby residents; however, Porter gained support from business groups and Torontonians at large. With growing support, Porter was able to increase its size.
The last pleasant surprise happened when I departed Toronto. At the airport, the waiting lounge was not only private but also much better equipped than most airlines' member lounges, offering Apple computers, free Wi-Fi service, complimentary refreshments, and selected publications. Porter Airlines got the concept right: travelers wish for efficiency and thoughtful service executed precisely and simply.
Next time you have a chance to fly to or through Toronto, try Porter Airlines: guaranteed no non-sense.