I decided to give this new airline a whirl for a day trip to the Nation's capital. I ended up on Porter flight 255 from Toronto City Center to Ottawa and flight 264 back.
To make things easier i printed my own boarding passes, something I'd never before tried.
And because I was lazy, i took a cab to the TCCA Ferry terminal. The Ferry was just arriving as i got there, leaving very little time to wait. The ride across took all of 3 minutes, the new ferry certainly is fast, though the accommodation's are somewhat spartan.
On the island side, after a short problem at security (my bag seems to have some metal mesh in the bottom, ill take another one in future), i relaxed in the very nice Porter lounge. This place is better than some so called premium class lounges ive been in. Free internet access, free soda, coffee, tea, water and snacks, and great seating. The view was kind of boring however. Besides a couple Cessna's buzzing around doing flight training the only other interesting thing was the arrival of a King Air 350 with Air Ambulance markings. Soon after it arrived... so did Porter flight 254.
YTZ to YOW
Porter Airlines flight 255
C-GQLC, Bombardier Q400
Planned Departure: 14:30
Actual: 14:35 (5 mins late)
Departure Runway: 26
Load: 11 passengers (16% LF), 4 crew
Planned Arrival: 15:25
Actual: 15:15 (10 mins early)
Arrival Runway: 07
Flighttime: 40 minutes
Boarding was a breeze. On board, the interior puts other Dash 8s ive been on to shame. The new overhead bins are very sleak and Porter's slimline seats are very nice. Nicer still is the leg room, 34", my 6'3" frame fit with room to spare. It was 14:20 by this time and 11 passengers were all on board. Porter says it can make money with 30% loads or 21 passengers, per flight, it better start attracting more customers is all i can say.
The door was shut at 14:35, 5 minutes late but the engines were already starting, and we were pushed back rather quickly. Both engines running we made a very hard turn to the right and taxied out to runway 26. Looking out i saw one of the Air Ambulance "Bandage" helicopter fleet in the runway rotors turning. We lined up and waited about 3 minutes.
Takeoff was impressive. Ive never felt a Dash 8 really push me into my seat before, this one certainly did. We were off before the halfway point of the runway climbing into a sunny break in the overcast. We made a slow lefthand turn to the east before climbing into the overcast. The noise level was more than acceptable.
Cabin service started about 5 minutes after takeoff. Porter offered snacks and drinks on this mid afternoon flight. Porter has a good selection of cookies, nuts and bars to choose from, and a fine selections of drinks. I asked for water and was presented with one of the somewhat unique 500ml bottles they have.
Soon after the cabin service was finished we noticably started the decent into Ottawa. The Captain came on and annouced we would be arriving about 10 minutes early.
I shot video of the arrival:
Landing itself was hard, we were obviously coming in was a crosswind. We twisted hard left was soon as the mains touched and rolled out. We quickly taxied to Gate 18. Unfortunately we were taxiing too fast to shoot any pics. But i did observe: A two tone blue on white BBJ, a US registered MU-2, An Alphajet, An AC JEtz 319 and a Government of Canada Dash 8-100 (red), along with the more usual Purolator 727, First Air 732 and 727 cabin trainer and a couple Jazz Dash 8s at the old Terminal.
Ok so... now that im in Ottawa... ummm... yea... Started reviewing my photos of the flight and vids. When i went to review the departure video, my camera nicely said *MEDIA FORMAT ERROR, REFORMAT MEDIA*. Ive tried to recover the file, no joy, which is why its missing above. I decided not to tempt fate any further and so the above is the end of the image/video.
Nothing much to see anyways. The usual gaggle of Air Canada Airbeese, punctuated by the 767-300 arriving and then departing to LHR. Zoom showed up with a single 767-300. CRJs from United, US and Delta. Jazz and a few CRJs and Dash 8s. A single First Air 737, though i think it was actually the same one i saw at the maintenance base. And Westjet of course, 73G, 73G, 736... snore...
YOW to YTZ
Porter Airlines flight 264
C-GQLB, Bombardier Q400
Planned Departure: 20:30
Actual: 20:30 (on time)
Departure Runway: 32
Load: 12 passengers (18% LF), 4 crew
Planned Arrival: 21:30
Actual: 21:10 (20 mins early)
Arrival Runway: 26
Flighttime: 40 minutes
No pics as stated above. I was happy to see Porter's 1st Q400 arriving at YOW for my flight, this meant i would be flying on the entire fleet.
Again boarding was quick and easy, boarding through the jetway is a nice touch at YOW. This time id chosen a seat at the front of the cabin to get a feel for the NVS system on the Q400. The door was shut 5 mins early and we taxiied out to runway 32 this time.
Takeoff again was powerful (so powerful my bag slid out from under the seat in front), we were off the ground before we crossed runway 07/25, about 2000' down the runway. We made a slow climbing turn to the left, giving a nice view of the city before we climbed into the grey overcast.
Once again cabin service started quickly. This time i was happy to divest the cart of a free beer
About 20 minutes into the flight the captain came on and said we would be decending into TCCA in a minute, arriving 20 minutes early. Impressive. The decent was smooth until we hit the clouds again.
I was hoping for a runway 26 arrival. The reason is it is supposed to be one of the most beautiful approaches at night. I got what i was hoping for. Dropping out of the clouds i had a beautiful view of Scarborough and on to Downtown. Slipping lower and lower of the lake is somewhat disconcerting, but we arrived fairly smoothly on Runway 26 at TCCA.
Now Porter says the Q400 has no problem with the taxiways at TCCA. I'm not so sure. Exiting to runway 33/15, we basically had to stop and make a pinwheel turn onto taxiway B. This tells me the taxiways are just barely wide enough to accomidate the aircraft. Though granted taxiway B is one of the narrowest on the airport.
We again parked at gate 2 and quickly deplaned. Walking back through the nearly deserted terminal (Porter 264 is the last flight) the Porter receptionist told us the Ferry was just docking and to hurry up to the ferry boarding area. Ummmm ok, got up there, the bleepin ferry was on the other side of the channel. We waited about 5 minutes and it did its little cruise across to us.
Same deal back home, hopped a Beck's and 10 minutes later i was talking to the night concierge and getting my mail. 9:35pm... absolutely amazing.
Checkin: 5/5 web checkin, no problems.
Waiting Area: 5/5 Porter did a great job with the renovating of the TCCA terminal
Ground Staff: 4.5/5, very nice, but the Ottawa staff were somewhat too cheery...
Cabincrew: 5/5, all 4 were excellent. The uniforms are very nice also.
Cabin comfort: 5/5 for a turboprop i dont think there is a match in airline service.
Ontime: 5/5 both flights arrived early
Air Canada, be afraid, be very afraid...