Tag Archives: Aviation

Porter Airlines Flight Review: Embraer E195-E2 Toronto to Vancouver


Porter Airlines has been in the news quite a lot here in Canada in the last few months. At the end of 2022, they took delivery of several brand new Embraer E195-E2 aircraft with the goal of eventually expanding their network from their traditional destinations within the Eastern regions of Canada and the United States (which are served by their existing fleet of Dash-8 turboprop aircraft), to one that stretches all across North America, taking advantage of the Embraer’s longer range and increased capacity, among other things.

Porter Airlines is striving to compete with Canada’s full-service commercial giants, Air Canada and WestJet, offering what can be described as an elevated economy experience. No middle seats, complimentary wine and beer served in glassware, premium snacks, and free wifi all come standard on their new Embraer fleet of jets, with a buy-on-board meal service offered on flights longer than 2.5 hours.

A Porter Airlines Embraer E195-E2 Jet taxiing past the terminal.

Porter Airlines has recieved a lot of praise over the years from consumers, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and try them for myself.

So, when I was looking to book a round-trip itinerary from Toronto to Vancouver in February, that’s exactly what I did. My flights with Porter cost a total of C$293 round trip, a quite reasonable price for a cross country flight on a full-service airline in Canada. I purchased the standard fare, which included a personal item and one carry-on, but did not include seat selection or checked luggage. Neither of these were really an issue for me however as I usually fly with just a single travel backpack, and didn’t mind where my allocated seat would be. Remember, the Embraer E195-E2 doesn’t have any middle seats!


I arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport 2 hours before our scheduled 11:15 a.m. departure. We were originally slotted to leave an hour earlier, but Porter had to push the flight back to meet crew rest requirements. Despite a full flight, boarding was quick and painless. I settled into my assigned window seat near the back of the plane, popped in my music, and enjoyed the view of the ramp as we began to taxi out to the runway. Our total flight time was scheduled for just under 5 hours, and would take us over 5 Canadian provinces and 4 timezones, landing at Vancouver International Airport around 1 p.m. Pacific time.

Once in the air, I took notice of a few things. First, I couldn’t believe how quiet the engines were, almost too quiet. Normally, I feel like I have to yell at my seat neighbour in order for them to hear me, but on the Embraer E2, I could practically whisper and be paranoid the entire flight could listen in to what I was saying. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but it was such a great change not needing powerful noise cancelling headphones, being able to clearly communicate with the cabin crew, and not worrying about the moan of the engines keeping me awake should I want to catch some shut eye.

Exterior shot of the jet, and it’s incredibly quiet engines
The interior of Porter’s Embraer E195-E2 from the rear of the cabin

The second thing I noticed was how clean and fresh the cabin was. Obviously being a new aircraft, this was almost a given, but the design was bright, sleek and comfortable. I found the seats fairly spacious, althought the legroom was a bit tight at 30 inches of pitch. I’m 6 feet tall, so if you’re taller than me, you might want to think about paying for an upgraded seat with extra legroom. The tray table folded down and out, slid forward, and had indents for cups on either side.

A view of the legroom, and seatback pocket
Here’s the tray table’s size when folded in half.
The tray table folded out to maximum size

There are two washrooms on on board, one in the front and one in the back. Both were pretty small, but were kept clean and well stocked for the entire flight.

A view of the lavatory sink and countertop
A view of the toilet and the rest of the washroom

As I mentioned earlier, drinks and snacks are complimentary on Porter Airlines. On this particular trip to Vancouver, the flight attendents came around the cabin several times throughout the flight, offering a selection of beverages including beer and wine, as well as a generous portion of snacks ranging from banana bread to nuts and cookies. As this flight was over 2.5 hours, they also offered a meal service. Although this usually costs extra, this was provided free of charge to the entire cabin on this trip, presumably as a introductory promotion, and to get some contructive feedback.

My beverage and snack of choice. Steam Whistle and banana bread

For my meal, I had a Salmon Poke Bowl, which was delicious. Definitely something I would happliy pay for in the future. Other options included a Soba Noodle Bowl and a Ham and Brie Croissant. It was so refreshing having a complimentary beverage, snack, and meal service on a domestic flight in Canada, something that’s becoming increasingly rare these days, and is one of the selling points that will allow Porter to stand out in a highly competitive aviation market.

Here’s a picture of the Salmon Poke Bowl

Let’s talk about in flight entertainment.

The free on board wifi was an absolute game changer. I was able to stream full HD YouTube videos, Netflix shows, and even Live TV on my phone for the entire duration of the flight. No buffering and no connectivity issues. With outlets provided at every seat, I didn’t have to worry about running out of battery either. Porter also offers a decent selection of movies and shows through their online streaming service, although this isn’t something I personally used on this flight. It’s quite impressive just how well the wifi worked, considering everyone on the plane was no doubt trying it out for themselves. You do have to put up with the occasional advertisment in order to continue using the wifi, but if you are a member of Porter’s frequent flyer program VIPorter, you get the wifi access ad free for the duration of the flight.

Unfortunately, there was cloud cover most of the way to over Vancouver on this flight, so I was glad to have the wifi to cure me of bordom, and to distract me from the disappointment of not being able to see the snowy peaks of the rocky mountains. Here are some views out my window from the brief moments of clear sky I was able to capture:

Taking off from Toronto Pearson Internatinal Airport
Flying over Northern Ontario, near Lake of the Woods
Landing at Vancouver International Airport

Overall, I was incredibly pleased with my experience flying with Porter Airlines on their new Embraer E195-E2 jets from Toronto to Vancouver. The competitive pricing, free wifi, complimentary food and drink, lack of middle seat, a comfortable and quiet cabin, and friendly crew made for a really enjoyable flying experience. I would choose to fly Porter again every single day of the week. I personally think Air Canada and WestJet have a lot to worry about with Porter’s expansion plans, and hopefully as consumers, this increased competition will do nothing but benefit us here in Canada and raise expectations across the board.

Have you flown with Porter, or thinking about giving them a try? What are your thoughts about what they have to offer compared to the other airlines?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Harbour Air Panorama Classic Seaplane Tour | Full Highlights


Happy Saturday everyone!

Last week I shared with you some highlights of the seaplane spotting I did while I was in Vancouver. I mentioned that I had booked myself on a scenic tour with Harbour Air later on during that same trip and today I’d like to share with you my experience taking their Panoramic Classic tour.

The Harbour Air Panorama Classic Tour is a 30 minute seaplane experience that flies along the coast of the Burrard Inlet, navigates snowy peaks and forrested valleys of the North Shore Mountains, and culmanates with a flyover of the stunning Vancouver city skyline.

Here’s my latest video which outlines the entire seaplane experience.


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Vancouver Harbour Seaplane Spotting in Winter


Hey everyone, there’s a new video up over on my Youtube channel. I recently travelled to Vancouver and found myself spending a lot of time down at the Harbour Seaplane Terminal watching the planes go by in my spare time. Here’s some clips from my time down at the docks over the course of my trip.

I actually ended up taking a seaplane tour with Harbour Air a couple days later and filmed the entire experience, so stay tuned for another video sometime soon!

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My Honest Ryanair Flight Review (Why it’s My Favourite Airline)


Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but hear me out.

Obviously flying a traditionally structured full service airline is a far more enjoyable experience and the preferred choice for the majority of travellers, including myself. Compared to Ryanair, flying economy on any other airline feels like your being wined and dined and treated to such luxuries reserved only for the elite of the world.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to love about Ryanair.

Boarding the front of my Ryanair flight to Brussels

To give you some context, I studied abroad at the University of Liverpool for one semester earlier this year. Being Canadian, I’ve always resented how expensive it is to travel in my home country, and how limited the transportation options are, especially with respect to flying. So, I made it my goal to take advantage of being in Europe for as long as I was, for as often as I could. Ryanair was the obvious choice to allow me to do just this, and I flew exclusively with them during my time abroad.

Before I get into my thoughts on Ryanair though, here are the trips I took outside of the United Kingdom during my time across the pond, and their respective costs.

1. Liverpool, U.K. (LPL) —> Copenhagen, Denmark (CPH)

I booked this RETURN flight for a grand total of £16 (C$30). Flight time each way was about 1 hour 50 minutes, and left from Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport and landed at Copenhagen’s International Airport. I spent the weekend exploring Denmark’s capital with some friends back in February and absolutely loved it, but that’s a story for another time.

A view of my Ryanair plane headed for Copenhagen
Crossing the North Sea on the way to Copenhagen

2. Liverpool, U.K. (LPL) —> Dublin, Ireland (DUB)

The quick hop across the Irish sea cost a total of £24 return (C$40) and was without a doubt the shortest flight of my life. The entire process from gate to gate took just over 40 minutes and I was in Ireland before I had decided which of my downloaded podcasts to listen to. Aside from the distance, I’ll touch on why this entire process was so seamless later on.

The Liverpool skyline and River Mersey shortly after takeoff
Final approach into Dublin Airport (one of the windiest landings I’ve experienced)

3. Liverpool, U.K. (LPL) —> Brussels, Belgium (CRL)

OK, so if you’re really good at memorizing airport codes, you’ll have noticed that CRL isn’t actually in Brussels. In fact, it’s about an hour’s drive away in the city of Charleroi, and far closer to France than it is to the nation’s capital. If this was any other airline, I’d be less than enthused, but Ryanair sold this return ticket for a mere £16 (C$27).

Thanks to the decline of the British Pound against the Canadian Dollar since my flight to Denmark, this meant Ryanair brought me on a 1 hour and 20 minute flight to Belgium and back for less than what Air Canada charged me to select my seat to London Heathrow back in January. Being dropped off an hour outside Brussels was a little inconvenient, and meant we had to catch a bus. I didn’t really mind this however because the bus was pretty inexpensive, and I got the chance to see some of the Belgian countryside.

Pushback at Liverpool John Lennon Airport
Final approach to Brussels South Charleroi Airport


  • Fights taken: 6
  • Time in the air: 7 hours 40 minutes
  • Distance travelled: 3,700 km
  • Countries visited: 3
  • Total cost: £56 (C$97.00)

Obviously there are some sacrifices that need to be made when you fly Ryanair, especially at the ultra low prices I did. You don’t get to choose your seat, there’s no meal or drink service onboard, and you’re only allowed to bring a personal item onto the plane. Seeing as all my trips were short haul flights, and a total 3-4 days away maximum, none of this was an issue for me. I was able to stuff plenty enough clothes and toiletries inside my small backpack, and even had enough space to bring back small souveniers. Attach a water bottle to the side of the bag and you even have a container to bring water onto the plane aswell.

Just make sure you remember to empty it before going through security in Dublin or an Irish guard might make you chug the whole bottle in front of the entire terminal in an impromptu drinking competition. (Hilarious, but indeed not my finest moment)

If you can get past all of this, as I mentioned earlier, you’ll find that Ryanair has a lot to love.

For starters, they generally fly at off-peak times, meaning that the airports are quieter, security is smoother, and taxiing is far faster. With no large luggage, you don’t have to scramble to get to the airport early to check your bags, or wait for them at the carousel at your destination. Getting onto your flight is far less painless and very quick aswell because Ryanair does dual boarding, meaning everyone enters the plane from both the front and rear doorsat the same time, depending on where your seat is located within the aircraft.

Every airline should do this!

My alloted personal item

All of this combined means that not a single one of my flights with Ryanair was delayed or late. Always on time, and even sometimes early. Remember, for a fraction of the cost of a traditional airline. They even play a cool jingle on the plane to announce the accomplishment!

If you’re worried about getting stuck in a randomly allocated middle seat, well yeah, that’s going to happen. I mean you paid $15 for the ticket, what did you expect? In all seriousness, I only had to sit in the middle seat twice. Your odds are pretty good at getting either a window or an aisle seat, and there are usually enough open spots you can move around to find something you like anyways. You likely won’t be able to sit next to your friends or family, but I found this was a really unique opportunity to chat with all sorts of new people from around the world.

The Leg room is adequate (I’m 6 ft tall) and the seat width isn’t that bad either. Again, you paid 3 rocks and a flake of dust to be taken across the continent, how much complaining can you really do? You might even get lucky like I was and end up being moved to an emergency row to enjoy the extra leg room, or be asked to move to the first row of the plane for balacing reasons. There’s no inflight entertainment, which is to be expected, and an issue that is easily solved by downloading movies, music and TV shows onto your phone.

In the middle seat Flying to Denmark
Waiting to board my flight back to Liverpool at Dublin Airport.

I’m back in Canada now, and I legitimately miss Ryanair. It’s not one giant nightmare like the internet and other travellers might have you believe. There’s a good chance you might be pleasently suprised. Sure there are compromises, but Ryanair is a what you see is what you get kind of airline that allowed me the freedom to explore more of Europe at an incredibly low price. It gave me the ability to use more of my money to enjoy the actual destination rather than burning it all just to get there. When it comes down to it, as an exchange student trying to maximize my budget, Ryanair gave me everything I asked for and more, and that’s not something you can say about every airline.

For this reason, and many more, Ryanair has become one of my favourite, if not my favourite airlines.

Thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming content! If you’re looking to connect, make sure to follow me on YouTube, Redbubble, InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

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