Flight Review: Porter Airlines’ Embraer E195-E2 service from Toronto (YYZ) to Las Vegas

Over the last year and a half, Canada’s Porter Airlines has been rapidly expanding its services, debuting a wide variety of new routes on the brand new Embraer E195-E2 aircraft. They started flying those jets (the first in North America to do so) in February of last year.

Up until that debut, the airline had exclusively flown propeller planes (their fleet of De Havilland Dash 8-400s) out of its Toronto Island hub, with limited destinations on the East Coast of Canada and the US.

As I’d mentioned in reviews of the service over the years, they were an exceptional airline, with no middle seats and one of the most convenient airport hubs in the world. And for a minute there, they were the only domestic Canadian carrier to offer beer, wine and snacks to all of its economy passengers. Recently, Air Canada finally matched them on that one – proof yet again that rich competition is a good thing for passengers.

Since Toronto Island’s airport isn’t able to have jet planes land, their expansion plans meant the airline would be moving many of their new longer haul Embraer services to Canada’s busiest airport, Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (YYZ). One of the more recent routes to debut from that airport was Las Vegas, which launched on 5th March 2024. Last week I got to test out the route – as well as the new Embraer aircraft – for the first time. So how did it stack up? Read on for the full flight review.

Carrier: Porter Airlines
Aircraft: Embrarer 195-E2
Route: Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to Las Vegas (LAS)
Flight Number: PD 653
Seat: 7C (2-2 Layout)
Flight Duration: 4 hours 45 mins
On Time? Late by 25 Minutes

Flying from YYZ

With a 1:30 p.m departure from Terminal 3, this flight avoids the early morning Pearson madness. Even though you have to pass US customs at this airport, it didn’t take more than half an hour to pick up our tickets, and go through security and customs. The only queue we faced was checking in at the Porter desks, which was requisite as they don’t permit online check in for anyone without a US or Canada passport.

Terminal 3 has a number of food, drink and duty free options, so after enjoying some lunch, the flight started boarding slightly behind schedule, due to a late arrival of the aircraft.

Boarding & Seating

Boarding was by row, from the back of the plane to the front (because Porter do the things that make the most sense!). The only exception is the first four rows, dubbed “PorterReserve”, who are essentially the business class of the aircraft and board first. While the seats are effectively the same as the rest of the aircraft, the seats offer up to six extra inches of legroom and four extra inches of recline, compared to the seats up the back. Meals and “premium” beverage options are also inclusive for these seats.

I was in a “PorterClassic Stretch” row, which you’ll find on rows 5-7 and exit rows 13 & 14. These seats have up to two extra inches of recline and four extra inches of legroom than the “PorterClassic” seats that take up the rest of the plane. In all, 132 seats are on the aircraft, with every row in a 2-2 layout. Meaning there are no middle seats!

In Flight Service

Service was fantastic, with the first food and beverage service about 45 minutes after take off. There was an impressive selection of free snacks – with banana bread, fava beans, shortbread cookies or almonds as your options. And they didn’t mind if you asked for a couple of items. I enjoyed chocolate chip banana bread, almonds and a Beau’s Lug Tread beer, served with a glass. This is the service that everyone in the PorterClassic seats receives, “Stretch” or no stretch, and it’s an excellent one.

As it’s an almost 5 hour flight, they do another service about an hour and a half before landing, though they were happy to take orders in between as well.

While these snacks and drinks were free, there was an additional snack menu starting from $3.99, with larger meals between $11.99 and 12.99, with different selections to and from Toronto. I didn’t order anything on this leg, but on the flight back I had a cold noodle dish which was delicious.

The “premium” drinks available to PorterReserve customers for free, are available to everyone else for $7.99 and include margaritas, old fashioneds and espresso martini premix cocktails. The cafe booklet on the back of the seat provides further details, and sits alongside a card explaining the inflight wi-fi, which is free for all passengers.

Connecting to the Wi-Fi was easy, and fast for almost the entire trip – we were streaming off Apple TV and Netflix for most of it, which was quite impressive. They also have a large selection of film and TV options to choose from, should you not want to be online. An up front commercial will be all you need to enjoy the Wi-Fi, as long as you’re VIPporter member. Otherwise there are ads every 30 minutes.

At Your Seat

Your pull out table had two drink spots on it, so you always had a place to put whatever drink you desired. You’ll find the in flight magazine Re:Porter in the seat back pocket, and two international plugs under the seat in front of you.

The newer design of the plane also meant there was plenty of room in the overhead bins for carry ons of all sizes. Unlike on their Dash aircraft, no one was having to leave their luggage at the door.

More flights incoming!

The only risk of taking this flight versus some of its competitors is that, currently, there is limited service on each route. In the case of the Toronto to Las Vegas route, they currently have one daily flight – departing Toronto at 1.30pm, and departing Las Vegas for the return leg at 4.20pm.

But the expansion of Porter Airlines shows no signs of slowing down, with the airline’s Embraer E195-E2 order having grown to 75 through 2025. They’re even opening a new terminal at Montreal’s second airport next year (Montreal Metropolitan Airport, formerly known as Montreal Saint-Hubert), which will launch at least 10 new routes for the airline.

And from August 29th, Porter will be doubling its Las Vegas service. This will see a second daily flight between the destinations, with the new flight leaving Toronto and 8.40pm and returning for a red eye at 11.55pm.

Final Verdict

From a limited route regional airline from Toronto’s City Airport, to one that caters to the entire continent, Porter’s growth has been rapid, and will be continuing in the years to come.

While Air Canada did meet Porter’s service recently, adding free beer and wine to their offerings within US and Canada, Porter remain a step above the competition. The quality and comfort of their economy offering is unmatched.

The in flight staff were excellent, the free food, beverage and wi-fi all exceptional, and the lack of any middle seats will be welcome for all who travel.

There’s no question after this flight that Porter offer not just the best economy service in Canada, but one of the best in the world. Consider them the next time you’re travelling between the US and Canada, you may never want to fly the competition again.


The author travelled as a guest of Las Vegas Tourism. Photos in cabin by the author. 

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.