TORONTO — Porter Airlines has ramped up its service into Orlando-Melbourne, Florida to include new flights out of Windsor and Ottawa, plus returning flights from the carrier’s hub at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport with extra capacity for March Break. “Porter was our first international airline. They trust us now … we’ve proven ourselves,” says Lori Booker, Communications Director for Orlando-Melbourne International Airport.
Orlando Melbourne International Airport is Porter Airlines’ southernmost destination and that really starts to resonate with Canadian vacationers at this time of year, when the snows start to fly. When Porter passengers fly into MLB, “they can be on the beach in a matter of minutes”, says Booker.
Booker was in Toronto recently to update Ontario industry partners about the popular Florida gateway. Orlando Melbourne International Airport is the closest full-service airport to the beaches, Port Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center, with a handy location near major north-south arteries including Interstate 95 and U.S. Highway 1. It’s also a short drive from the Beachline Expressway (State Road 528) serving the Orlando area.
Porter Airlines announced yesterday that its 2017-2018 seasonal service to sunny Orlando-Melbourne is in full swing, with the new nonstop flights from Ottawa and Windsor running Dec. 16 – March 31. The airline’s seasonal service from Toronto operates through April 7 with direct flights from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
Service from Toronto includes twice weekly flights during peak periods, plus three times weekly for March Break.
Limited-time one-way, all-inclusive base fares available to book by Dec. 20 start at $240 out of Ottawa, $234 out of Windsor and $272 from Toronto.
Porter started service into MLB in 2015, with flights out of Toronto. The program ramped up in 2016 with a mid-week flight option out of Toronto, a boon for cruise passengers, and this year offers not just Toronto but Windsor and Ottawa too. Porter has shown a real commitment to the airport, which is about an hour’s drive from Orlando, says Booker.
Booker herself is a real fan of Porter. “I travel a lot and flying with Porter was a real eye-opener for me. My first flight with Porter was so enjoyable, when they told me to put up my tray for landing I thought, ‘not yet!’ Porter is such a trusted product and we work hard to mimic their culture.”
Orlando Melbourne International Airport is getting a upgrade, she adds, with renovations to the terminal fully underway. The project started earlier this year. “It’s happening in phases. The bones of the building are good. It’s just getting a facelift.”
Not that Porter travellers arriving at MLB necessarily notice the upgrades right away: “Porter passengers come dressed for the beach,” says Booker with a laugh.
She adds: “Some people see Porter as a business airline. But passengers are saying, wait, I can take my family and have the Porter experience with them for a holiday.”
And there’s plenty to do right on the airport’s doorstep, says Booker, from the laid-back and beautiful beaches, to downtown Melbourne, to Florida’s Space Coast. “People are looking for the kind of Florida getaway they had as kids. We’re recapturing the old style Florida vacation.”
Meanwhile MLB’s website, at theorlandoairport.com, features big images of Walt Disney World Resort and other Orlando attractions, just over an hour’s drive away.
Robert Deluce, President and CEO of Porter Airlines, notes that Porter is the only Canadian airline flying to Orlando-Melbourne. The airport is is 20 minutes from Port Canaveral (the world’s second largest cruise port) and 30 minutes from Kennedy Space Center.
Porter Escapes offers a range of packages including flights, hotels and attractions in Orlando-Melbourne and the surrounding area. Florida Everglades and the Orlando Explorer Pass are some of the attractions available to complete the package.
“There is significant demand from Canadians to visit Florida throughout the winter months,” says Deluce. “Having nonstop Porter flights from three cities makes the overall trip faster and easier for more people this season.”