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Posts: 96
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:20 pm

Porting it to and from Toronto: Porter BOS-YTZ-BOS

Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:15 pm

Background
Despite being 87 years old my grandmother has decided that she wants to travel more before she can no longer travel. Originally, she wanted to do a road trip to Montreal but that quickly morphed into a trip to further afield in Canada. After a long discussion about the pros and cons of different Canadian cities such as Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax, and Toronto. Eventually we settled on Toronto because we could book a none stop flight. We also settled on August 6-10 so that it would minimally effect my work schedule.

Booking
Three airlines operate BOS-Toronto: WS operates DH8D and AC operates a mix of regional jets to YYZ, and PD operates the DH8D to YTZ. After carefully comparing the fares on all three airlines, it came out that PD was cheaper by about $65 per person. Additional perks of choosing PD include arriving right into the city, the beautiful approach/departure into YTZ, and the PD lounge terminal at YTZ.

PD 940

At the Airport
At 9:40 the Preflight Parking shuttle bus dropped us off at BOS terminal E. Once there we proceeded to the PD check in desks at the other end of the terminal. There was no line at the check in desk and once the agent finished with the passenger she was talking to who had lost her passport she quickly checked us in, tagged my mother's and grandmother's bags, and called for my grandmother's wheelchair. After a quick wait the wheelchair arrived and whisked her off to security. Unlike when we traveled with DL to CMH and BDA, both of us were able to accompany her through the wheelchair lane at security. Despite their being almost no line at security the checkpoint was slow moving due to the presence of multiple travelers who were not experienced travelers. Once I got through I went off and began to planespot while my grandmother got herself recombobulated and began to get wheeled to the gate.

Image LA B763 still wearing the old TAM livery

Image HU and JL B788

During my walk around the terminal I also scouted out what food was open in the terminal. Because we were the only flight departing for a couple of hours, nothing was open. Because of this, my mother and I went off to terminal C to try to find something light that we could bring onto the plane for lunch.

Image 3M SF 340

Image B6 E190

Eventually, we found a cafe selling sandwiches that my mother (who has become a very picky eater) would eat. Once done with this quest we rushed back to the gate thinking that we were getting close to boarding. Right as we got back to the gate I got a message that our flight was delayed until 11:40. The gate agent also began doing document verification checks for passengers who had checked in online. Despite the agent clearly stating that this check was only for people who had checked in online, a lot of people who had checked in at the airport went up for verification just to be sent back. The wheelchair agent thought that this was the starting of boarding though, so she had us line up by the gate and took our documents, even though I told her that boarding was not starting.

After getting told by the agent that we would not be boarding soon and that the flight was delayed, the agent returned and had a nice chat with my grandmother about her life and about my grandmother's work resettling refugees. Eventually, the wheelchair agent had to go and her supervisor came and relieved her. After a bit, we were led down to the jetway and told to wait there. After a few minutes of waiting, the experienced flight crew were led back from Customs by an agent and boarded the plane to begin their preflight/preboarding checks.

While waiting on the jetway, a young mother and her daughter were led down to preboard. During this, I overheard that the reason for the delay was an issue with the jetway at BOS. After a few more minutes, we were welcomed aboard the plane and I was instructed to have my suitcase GatePortered because it was too large to fit in the overhead bins.

Onboard
Once onboard I made my way to seat 13A, which gave me a great view of the landing gear and the ability to look out behind the engine. The seat itself was comfortable for the full length of the flight, and it had great leg room.

Image The seat

Once settled in I began to try to planespot but the engine got in my way. Once boarding was completed one of the flight attendants introduced herself to my grandmother, showed her the call button, and let her know that if she needed anything she should call and the flight attendant would help her, which was a very nice touch. Around 11:50 we began to push back as the flight attendants began a dual English/French safety briefing. During this time I alternated off planespotting and practicing my French during the safety briefing. During this briefing they also asked that all passengers remove their headphones, which in my view is a great safety practice.

Image S4, DL, and JL

Image VX/AS

At 12:03 the engines revved up and we began to takeoff.

Image B6 E190 as we climbed out from BOS.

Image Boston Harbor and Islands

Image Hanscom AFB

Shortly after reaching cruising altitude the flight attendants began the service from the start of the aircraft using 2 carts. On offer were an array of beverages (including free beer and wine) in glass cups, mini bottles of water, and upscale Canadian Chips, Walker shortbread cookies, and a nut mix.

While I passed on the beverage, I did have one of the excellent Walker shortbread cookies.

Image beverages in glasses in economy

Image Walkers shortbread

For the duration of the flight I alternated looking out the window and catching up on family gossip. When my grandmother went to use the toilet she found out that it was clogged and not flushing.

At 13:10 the pilots came on the intercom and announced that we were beginning our descent into YTZ.

Image Descending over the Toronto islands

At about 13:25 we executed a smooth but firm landing onto the short runway. After using up almost the entire runway, we began the quick taxi to gate 11 at the PD terminal

Image PD FBO with assorted general aviation aircraft

At 13:31 (17 minutes late) we pulled into gate 11. Once off, my grandmother was met by 2 young wheelchair attendants and she proceeded to the bathroom while I joined the line to pick up my bag from GatePorter. After a short wait, the bags were dropped off, and I joined my mother and grandmother in the immigration hall. After a quick but thorough immigration check from CBSA we were in the baggage claim, where our bags were waiting for us on the carousel.

Once we got our bags, my grandmother was wheeled down the tunnel linking YTZ to the mainland, and a cab was hailed for us to take us to the hotel.

Overall Weighted Score
Image
4.4/5

PD 941

At the Airport
Despite being able to show up at YTZ only an hour before the flight, we decided to get to the airport about 2 hours early due to city traffic and my grandmother's wheelchair. Once the taxi dropped us off at the airport, my grandmother started ragging at me for being frugal for wanting her to take the ferry over to YTZ instead of making her cross the tunnel on foot? After getting that resolved we entered the boarding area for the ferry and began the short wait to board the ferry to the airport. Once onboard it took about 2 minutes to reach the terminal.

Image View from the ferry

Once across, we followed the signs to the PD transborder check in desks. Their was no line for check in, and once at the desk the agent told us that there was no customs facility at YTZ, asked us a few questions about our bags, and then checked us and our bags in. Once done with that I told him about my grandmother's wheelchair request, and he proceeded to grab a wheelchair and began to wheel her to the transborder security checkpoint.

There was no line at security and once they were done confiscating my mother's water bottle and checking my grandmother, we were through and guided down to the PD terminal lounge.

Image View of Toronto from the exit to the security checkpoint

Once in the terminal I began to planespot while my grandmother charged her phone.

Image PD DH8D

Image PD DH8D pushing back

Image PD uses these inflatables as part of their jetways.

PD's terminal has a mini lounge set up inside each of the 2 boarding areas. The lounge is provisioned with cookies, soft drinks, bottled water, coffee, tea, and even a make your own cappuccino/latte machine.

Image

During our wait, the flight was repeatedly delayed first to 11:40 and then 11:50. At 11:30, a new wheelchair agent came and wheeled my grandmother through the maze to reach gate 8A for boarding. Once at the gate I dropped off my bag on the rack for GatePortered and proceeded to wait for boarding to begin. From the staff at the gate, I overheard that we were delayed due to the aircraft being too hot to board. One of the other passengers who was preboarding was getting upset at the delay and flagged down a staffer and asked why we were delayed. The staffer told her that the flight attendants were carrying out their security checks. The passenger began getting all upset at the staffer about how no one had told them why they were being delayed. The staffer simply responded to all that with "This is for your safety" before walking off.

Shortly after that interaction we were allowed to board the plane and I proceeded to seat 16A.

Onboard

ImageBetter view of the legroom on this DH8D

Once I settled into my seat I noticed this beauty and then began to plane spot.

Image I guess even premium airlines are held together by duct tape

Image C-GLQK, my aircraft for the inbound BOS-YTZ

Image medevac chopper taking off

At 12:16, 55 minutes after our scheduled departure time we began to push back as the flight attendants began their manual safety demonstration.

Image AC DH8D taking off for YUL.

At 12:26 we entered the active runway began a powerful takeoff. As we climbed out of YTZ I captured some images of the beautiful departure from YTZ.

Image

Image

As soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off I got up and went to the bathroom. While the bathroom was clean the sink was none functional- making PD 2/2 with nonfunctional bathrooms. In the short period of time that it took for me to use the bathroom the flight attendants had begun the service, and I was told by one of the flight attendants that I would have to wait. Once a second passenger was also waiting to get back to his seat, the flight attendants wheeled the cart back and I was able to get to my seat.

Once at my seat I settled in and pulled out the leftovers from this baby:

Image Poutine pizza with caramelized onions and duck.

Once the flight attendants reached my seat I passed on a beverage again and had the excellent Walker's shortbread cookies.

For the rest of the flight I looked out the window at the scenery. Shortly before we began our approach the female First Officer came on the intercom and made a brief announcement. At 13:24 the flight attendants began preparing the cabin for arrival as we descended into BOS. As we began descending through the clouds we hit some severe turbulence, with some chop continuing throughout the rest of our descent.

Image BOS cruise port.

At 13:39 we executed a soft, but bumpy landing into BOS. Once we exited the active we began to taxi to the gate.

Image EI A333 with AA taking off in the background.

At 13:43 we pulled into BOS gate E2, 48 minutes late. After a quick disembarkation, I was in the gate waiting for my bag to be brought up. Once it was brought up and my grandmother had met up with her wheelchair we began the trek to the FIS at BOS.

Image C-GLQJ my ride from YTZ.

Despite my telling the wheelchair agent that we had completed a mobile passport declaration, he still took us down the wheelchair lane which was not configured to handle it. Nonetheless the officer took it in good spirit and quickly processed us into the US, noting that we had arrived right in between waves of European and Middle Eastern arrivals. Once through the bags were already on the carousel and we were quickly outside and on the Preflight shuttle.

Overall Weighted Score
Image
4.3/5

Summary
PD offers the best leg room and meal option I have encountered on a flight of this length. They do need to improve their on time rate, and aircraft maintenance (especially of the toilets). I would definitely recommend them for flights to and from Toronto.

Past trip reports and log book
My logbook, offering a comparison of this flight to all other flights that I have taken.

2018
Southwest to Milwaukee and Back (with a surprise)
Air France, CSA Czech Air, and Alitalia to Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest

2016
From my Archives: Summer '16 rescheduled and delayed with Iberia, Vueling, and British Airways

2015
From my Archives Summer '15 Shuttle America: Do they actually meet Delta's Standards?

2014
From my Archives: Summer '14 Returning from Israel One of the Only Ways Available El Al
From my Archives: Summer '14 Outward bound to Poland and Israel with LH
From my Archives: Winter '14 From Sunny Spain to Snowy Boston, KLM and Delta to Boston
WN, LX, AZ, BA, LH, KL, DL, OK, S5, US, UA, VY, IB, AF, LY, F9, CO, YX x2, PD, AC, AA, OO, PT, QK

A319, A320, A321, A332, A333, A343, B712, B733, B737, B738, B753, B744, B764, B772, B789, CRJ9, DH8D, E145, E190
 
User avatar
teme82
Posts: 1326
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2007 6:38 am

Re: Porting it to and from Toronto: Porter BOS-YTZ-BOS

Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:11 pm

Nice TR. One think tho the Jet Blue plane is A320 not E190 ;)
Flying high and low
 
PI4EVER
Posts: 817
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 10:29 pm

Re: Porting it to and from Toronto: Porter BOS-YTZ-BOS

Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:03 pm

Very thorough and well written report on Porter's service. They do offer a great service compared to mainline legacy airlines and in your case at a lower fare. Good to see they continue to operate successfully and have not lost customers with a "prop" aversion.
Thanks for a great TR on a successful niche airline.
Note the doors on the B6 aircraft. It is an A321.
watch what you want. you may get it.
 
ConnectAir
Topic Author
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:20 pm

Re: Porting it to and from Toronto: Porter BOS-YTZ-BOS

Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:12 pm

teme82 wrote:
Nice TR. One think tho the Jet Blue plane is A320 not E190 ;)

I think I focused too much on the wingtips when I made that identification instead of looking at the whole plane. That is something that I do need to work on.

Thanks for a great TR on a successful niche airline.

You're welcome. PD seems to do a great job and I am excited to see how their new YQT base does.
WN, LX, AZ, BA, LH, KL, DL, OK, S5, US, UA, VY, IB, AF, LY, F9, CO, YX x2, PD, AC, AA, OO, PT, QK

A319, A320, A321, A332, A333, A343, B712, B733, B737, B738, B753, B744, B764, B772, B789, CRJ9, DH8D, E145, E190

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