Porter Airlines, a “boutique” full-service airline based out of Toronto’s Billy Bishop City Airport, is introducing basic economy fares.
Porter and basic economy seem like water and oil to me. That’s a good thing. Porter is the airline that has gate-lounges with drinks and snacks for all passengers. It is the airline that doesn’t nickel and dime, offering, complimentary snacks and alcohol onboard. Heck, drinks are even served in real glasses!
But Porter is now offering an “entry-level fare category” on several routes. These basic economy fares come with the following restrictions:
- Itinerary changes and cancellations are not permitted; no refunds or credits are issued
- Online check-in is permitted; boarding passes must be retrieved at the airport check-in counter
- One personal item, such as a small purse or briefcase, is permitted onboard; all other bags must be checked for a fee
- All service options, such as checked luggage and advance seat selection, are available for additional fees
So no cancellations/refunds and only one personal item. But complimentary access to the gate lounges will remain. Snacks/drinks onboard will also remain free.
With the addition of basic economy, Porter now offers four fare classes:
- Freedom – All optional services included: refundable, changeable, and cancelable
- Flexible – Offers affordable flexibility with some optional services included
- Standard (formerly Firm) – Discounted fare with all optional services available for a fee
- Basic – Lowest fare for definite travel plans with some optional services available for a fee
Basic economy fares will initially be rolled out on the following four routes to/from YTZ:
- Sault Ste Marie
I cannot blame Porter for jumping on the basic economy bandwagon. Don’t expect to save much money, though. The lowest-priced tickets now will likely be rebranded in the “Basic” fare class. Don’t except fares to become even cheaper if you buy Basic (that’s the twisted genius of basic economy). The Porter flight experience will remain the same. That’s what makes Porter so unique in North America, so I view this news with indifference.