Porter offers an all-inclusive economy experience | Bot To News


Canadian all-economy carrier Porter Airlines has long struggled to differentiate itself by offering free beer, wine and premium snacks to appeal to everyone from leisure to business travelers. But as new low-cost carriers enter the market — and as Porter prepares to execute its own expansion plan with longer-range aircraft — the regional carrier is focused on further standing out. On Dec. 6, it announced that travelers now have the option to pay for an “all-inclusive economy experience” called PorterReserve, which adds a host of perks, including improved legroom and fresh meals on longer flights.

Porter currently operates Q400 turboprops on cross-border routes within Canada and the US from downtown Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport – a non-jet facility. During the Covid pandemic, Porter refurbished the Q400s with new, pre-tilted ones Expliseat light narrow seats, and the lion’s share put them at 30 inches instead of the previous pitch of 32 inches. This upgrade project, which also saw the installation of new carpets, LED lights and lavatory improvements, allowed Porter to add four additional seats to each turboprop for a total of 78 seats on board in a standard 2-2 layout.

Before the end of this year, the carrier is expected to take delivery of the first of an order for 50 Embraer E195-E2 aircraft, which will enter service on the new Toronto Pearson to Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal-Trudeau flights beginning in February 2023. Finally, the E2 helped Porter expand from Pearson to American sunspots, the West Coast, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Brad Cicero, who serves as Porter’s director of communications and public affairs, told Runway Girl Network that when the airline takes delivery of the E195-E2 aircraft, it will “continue to offer Billy Bishop’s entire network of regional routes for travelers who value access to downtown Toronto. E195-E2 can’t work at Billy Bishop and we’re not making any changes around that.” Porter will face some competition at Billy Bishop when the new member Connect Airlines launches service to cities in the US Midwest and Northeast with the Q400.

But with new birds in the wings in the form of 132-seat E195-E2 twinjets, Porter has embraced the opportunity to strengthen its value proposition. While the carrier’s traditional economy experience, with a few tweaks, is still available as PorterClassic on both aircraft types, the PorterReserve package deal includes dedicated airport check-in, early boarding, complimentary cocktails (in addition to the usual complimentary beer, wine and premium snacks), two checked bags and the option to change flights without a fee.

A seat with extra legroom is also part of the PorterReserve package, with Porter promising to park PorterReserve passengers in a 36-inch reclining seat in the first four rows of the E2 cabin and a 32-inch reclining seat in the first two rows of the cabin. Q400 (Expliseat’s slim seat design is marketed as offering better overall legroom despite a tighter downward slope.)

Passengers traveling in PorterClassic will have 30 inches of seat pitch regardless of aircraft type.

Rotation

The E2s come from Embraer with “model Z2+” folding seats from Safran Seats, Cicero says. In addition to increased legroom, PorterReserve buyers will enjoy increased pitch (up to 6 inches) on the E2s. Safran Seats and predecessor Zodiac Aerospace have long provided economy seats as certified line equipment on E-Jets.

A third seating option for E2 passengers is called PorterStretch and features 20 seats reclined to a minimum of 34 inches.

Importantly, Porter’s E2s are supplied with Viasat’s Ka-band satellite in-flight internet system, as factory-fitted by the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer. All passengers on E2 aircraft will have access to free web browsing. The cached content library will augment the live connectivity solution on E2s, Cicero confirms.

Porter airlines E195-E2 parked on a hanger on a bright sunny day.

This rendering of the Porter E2 shows the antenna that will allow passengers to surf the web for free. Image: Porter Airlines

On longer flights of more than 2.5 hours, “fresh” meals will be available as part of the PorterReserve package fare and as an in-flight purchase option for other passengers. And in the inclination to growing interest in plant-based foodPorter’s menu is designed to include a vegetarian option as one of the meal boxes, Cicero tells RGN.

“For travelers who need a gluten-free, nut-free or vegan option, there are snacks available to meet those requirements,” she says. “Additional snacks are available for passengers if they do not wish to have a meal box. There will be an upcoming announcement detailing all restaurant partners and menu options.”

Porter says it will offer boxed meal options from “high-quality Canadian brands.” The airline has also committed to providing biodegradable cups and cutlery as well as environmentally friendly packaging. Image: Porter Airlines

It sounds like the PorterReserve is positioned as an *almost* light business product, but there is no separate lounge access in sight, and Cicero told RGN, “The Porter operates a fully economy configuration with superior service and comfort. Lounge access is not planned as it is not something normally associated with budget travel and many who are interested in this service already have options through credit cards or other arrangements.”

Regardless of whether you fly with PorterClassic or PorterReserve, the carrier offers a variety of transportation options. Additionally, there are many upgrade options during the booking process. Porter urges passengers to upgrade to PorterClassic "Basic" ticket to PorterClassic "Standard" ticket with several benefits.Related articles:

All images credited to Porter Airlines



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