This being the third day of service, I am interested to see how much "in the groove" they are, as well as what the loads are. This being a weekend flight, I do not have much in the way of expectations on either the service or the loads.
I live downtown, but not near the waterfront, making me the exact type of person who would use this service.
The day before I leave I check in online -- not the easiest thing to do. On my Mac, the online check-in does not work correctly, but I forced it to work.
So Saturday morning I am looking at my boarding pass, it says "Boarding 11:30" but the flight leaves at 11:30!? I am glad I knew this; otherwise I may have missed my flight! I start walking to the Shuttle Service on York Street. I get there, and other than some stickers on the window, there is nothing here to say where the shuttle stops, how often it runs, nothing!
Door to waiting room.
Is this where I am to wait? No signs telling me otherwise.
Twenty minutes later the shuttle arrives. Well it actually doesn't arrive; it is parked way down the street. I walk over to it and get on. It leaves for the airport at 11 o'clock. 10 minutes later it arrives at the new ferry terminal, while I wait with 4 other passengers for the ferry to make its run over to the mainland. 10 minutes later it makes its way over. I am wondering now if I will ever make my flight.
Self-service check-in machine at YTZ ferry terminal.
Ferry. Hope it doesn't crash this time.
I make it through security and onboard with 3 minutes to spare -- the others on the ferry still needed to check in. Eventually they too board and we are off.
Flight 1: YTZ > YOW -- PD251
Aircraft: DHC-8-400Q C-GLQB
Departure gate: Porter Terminal
Dep: 17 min late
Arr: on-time (4 min. late)
Photo © S.A.Kelly
It was a rainy and cold day in both Toronto and Ottawa -- just nice to stay in and watch the world through a window.
Take off was quick given the light loads, as we turned left over Lake Ontario towards Ottawa.
As we reached cruising altitute, a drink and food service began. Given the 15 passengers on-board, this was a very quick service . But, it was also not bad, with free alcholol and a sandwich box.
The sandwich was a bit dry . It appeared that other people got a more submarine style sandwich, it all depended which cart you were served out of (there were two F/As on board).
The airplane itself felt very open and airy, with a muted putty colour for the seats, with blue and white accents.
The flight was rather comfortable, except for some light turbulence in departing YTZ and on arrival. The NVR systems on the plane are excellent. It was quieter than my ride in Row 3 of an ERJ-145 not two weeks ago.
Soon enough we were approaching YOW. Winds were 20-35 out of the East, making it a bit 'fun' to land.
We landed rather roughly at YOW. My guess is we caught a gust just before touchdown, and a firm landing is better than no landing at all *grins*.
*passing the competition*
A quick taxi to the main terminal, and we were off the aircraft by jetway. This being especially appreciated given the awful weather in YOW at the time.
My thoughts on Porter generally and this service specifically.
They have a good in-flight product. The plane was very comfortable, with good legroom and nice seats. Food and a drink was nice, but needs to have some Quality Control on the food (it was dry).
The "City Terminal" at Union Station was a joke. No signage, no schedules, nothing. I had to phone them twice to find out what exactly was going on here. Combine this with the mis-printed boarding pass and I could have easily missed my flight .
The ferry complex, while nice, is still a pain. Get there. Wait. Wait. You loose at least 10 minutes waiting to go 100 feet.
Their online checkin system appears not to have been tested poperly. It did not work at all on my Mac, and printed an incorrect boarding pass.
I would consider flying PD again if they got their shuttle service together and flew to more destinations. But the moment I can get to YYZ on a train that takes say 22 minutes, I will go back up there. I can get through security at YYZ just as fast as YTZ, there are more services, there are more destinations, and I get *A points.
Later today I will post my experiences on AC back to Pearson.