Porter Airlines - Branding and Experience Design done right!


I’m now flying back and forth once a week for my new teaching gig between Toronto and Ottawa (approx. one hour flight) and am taking Porter Airlines. just wanted to rant on how good this company and design effort is-

This company is an excellent example of branding, design and experience design done right so would just like to call some attention to it.

The branding work was all done by Winkreative (run by Tyler Brulé of Wallpaper* magazine fame). http://www.winkreative.com/

The attention to detail and overall feel is amazing. They really have achieved their tagline of “Flying. Refined”.

Just a few highlights-

  1. The airline is run out of the Toronto City Centre (Island airport). A 2 min shuttle bus from the main downtown subway/train station and 5 min from my house. From there there is a 100ft ferry to the Island airport, with 0 checkin lines and you only have to arrive 30 minutes before a flight.

  2. The lounge is better than most Business Class lounges I’ve seen. Free snacks, wifi, newspapers, espresso machines, fridge with drinks, etc. All nicely decorated in a premium feel with designer chairs, leather sofas, free access computers, etc.

  3. On board, every flight (even the short 1 hour ones I’m taking) have complimentary beverage service (incl. alcoholic drinks) plus a meal box with a sandwich, cheese and crackers or a breakfast box depending on the time of day.

  4. Stewardess (all young and hot, BTW) have great uniforms including a retro pill-box box hat and all nice heels. Service is awesome.

  5. The attention to detail on everything is amazing. All leather seats. The on board magazine is great with good content and a similar layout to Monocle magazine (Tyler Brulé’s new mag after leaving Wallpaper*). Heavy uncoated stock, great design, I’ even willfully pay for a copy. The checkin computers are all 24" iMacs, even though the software they are running is Windows (but you know that the macs just look better from the back view).

  6. Branding is out of sight. They have a little raccoon as a mascot and dress hin up for various ads and applications. The water bottle has him with a snorkel, for example.

good overview here, for those interested-


In the days where most airlines are going for charging for everything and leaving design out of the equation, it’s great to see a company that is championing design. The company is also doing great financially (AFAIK) and building an expansion to the airport now in progress.


PS. The booking of flights is also super easy and cheap. 3 options - Firm, Flex, and Freedom class, with one-way flights about $100 depending on destination.

PPS. The experience on this airline is second to none. Every time I travel I feel like I’m on a private jet (which is their design ethos) and can’t help but smile at the details. A perfect example of how design and business can work together!

I just travelled to New York the other week on Porter and it was by far the best flying experience I have ever had!

I’ve been telling everyone how they have just got it all nailed down. On top of the free WiFi at Toronto Island Airport they have about 10 x 20" iMac’s you can use for… get this…FREE!!! What a novel idea! edit sorry I just realised you mentioned this in your post

I second, third and forth you opinions on Porter Airlines Richard, they are top class and I’ve even been talking about taking a trip with my wife and kids to Boston just so we can fly Porter… how’d ya like that Air “one check in desk open” Canada !!! eh !!! :slight_smile:

ps. Richard’s spot on about the stewardess’, I was actually chuckling to myself on the way back from NY because it was just stupid how gorgeous they were.

pps. I am now all in favour of a bridge to the airport

I have never flown this airline, but it sounds like a great example of how good design creates a great experience. This is something that has been needed in the airline industry for a long time. The closest I have gotten to this was Virgin airlines. My wife is from the UK and we used to fly over to visit here parents for christmas and we would always fly Virgin because they had those extra little things that made you trip that much more enjoyable.

I love the graphic style they are using as well. It has a very Art deco feel to it. It is almost as if it is a retro through back with a modern feel. I think this same style fits with the flight attendants uniforms and it sounds like just their styling in general. It is as if they are reverting back to the feeling of the days when flying was prestigious and only the rich did it.

Great post!!

Porter sounds awesome! I’ve had a similar experience on Sun Country Airlines from Minneapolis to Fort Myers, Florida to visit my parents over the holidays. Get this, in an insanely bad snow storm planes were having trouble landing because of snow on the runway, once the plane came in, they turned it around in 20 minutes! They organized everyone and got every body lined up ahead of time and almost made a game out of it. Every one was smiling when they got to their seat and settled quickly so we could get going. Not only that, but they have FREE FOOD! HAHA! What an idea!

PS O.T. you want to see good looking stewardesses, fly LAN Chile some time… jawdropping.