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All Things Travel: Porter Airlines Adds Another Toronto-Boston Flight

By Bob Weiss, CBSBoston.com Travel Contributor
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BOSTON (CBS) – Take the opportunity and take care of your customers. That has meant success for Porter Airlines.

The carrier just added its seventh daily flight between its headquarters city Toronto and Logan Airport.

A trip to Canada and an interview with Porter’s President, Robert DeLuce, shows how a successful airline should be run.

First of all, their headquarters is attached to the Toronto City Airport. Its management team is never far from the action. It all starts with its airport location. About six years ago, Air Canada decided to consolidate its operations at the larger international airport about 35 minutes from downtown.

bobweiss All Things Travel: Porter Airlines Adds Another Toronto Boston Flight

Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

Along comes upstart Porter that starts flying from the in-town airport that is closer to the city. And when we say closer, we mean a couple of hundred yards away by ferry.

The ferry travels back and forth every 15 minutes and business travelers like the convenience, Porter’s competitive prices and its frequent flight schedule in Canada.

The first thing that you notice on the flight is that your juice drink departing Boston is served in a real glass with the logo. The afternoon return trip features a box snack of a surprisingly good chicken sandwich and potato salad.

Porter flies the Bombardier-6400 aircraft on all its flights, holding about a hundred passengers and serviced by two flight attendants. The planes have leather seats. This is a Canadian airline using a Canadian-built aircraft.

“It is an efficient aircraft,” said DeLuce. “We can be profitable at a 50 percent breakeven point, compared to 75 to 80 percent of the legacy carriers. It’s all about speed, convenience and service, along with matching prices.”

Another major plus for Porter is the free bus service from the downtown dock to Union Station and the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in the heart of Toronto’s financial area. Business travelers consider this service a major convenience.

The real heart of its operation may be its Toronto departure area. From the beginning, Porter has designed this area more like an office than an airport waiting area. It has rugs on the floor, dividers and pods for computer-working travelers and free snacks.

DeLuce is very optimistic that the new Brand USA promotion campaign starting this summer will attract more leisure travelers from Canada to Boston. He expects to add more northeast U.S. destinations to Porter’s route system to take advantage of this opportunity.

The airline is in the final stages of planning “Porter Escapes”, a new leisure air and hotel package that will begin in late summer.

Every Porter print ad and poster contains its smiling raccoon mascot.

What other airline has such a friendly symbol?

 Bob Weiss reports on business travel on Mondays at 5:55 a.m. on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

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