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Porter Airlines taking its own route

Oct. 18, 2011 at 3:59 PM

TORONTO, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Porter Airlines Chief Executive Officer Robert Deluce said "slightly more refined" was the image he was after in designing the Canadian airline's service.

The airline, the third-largest in Canada, is bucking the trend in a number of service offerings, which include free snacks, complimentary samples of Canadian beers on flights and gourmet coffee treats -- including lattes and cappuccinos -- in the lounge at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.

While major airlines are adding fees for extra luggage, pillows, snacks and beverages -- Porter is headed the other way. It's flight attendants even wear royal blue dresses with matching pillbox hats. Its 24-plane fleet are all turboprops, the newspaper said.

"It was an attempt to bring about a slightly more refined flying experience. We look to be a more mature airline in many respects," Deluce said.

Smaller airlines, by necessity, have to carve their identities out of unique service offerings, said industry analyst Henry Harteveldt at Atmosphere Research Group.

They are usually not faster on long routes or more convenient, given they offer fewer destination choices.

"These airlines, because they're small, they have to provide tangibly better product than their competitors. It's hard to compete on price, because prices can be matched. But full service is not what you would expect from an airline," Harteveldt said.

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