This No Frills Airline Now Arrives On-Time More Than Any Other US Carrier

Dec 18, 2018

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Passengers who book a flight with Spirit Airlines might not get the most legroom or free refreshments, but they are pretty much guaranteed to arrive on time, according to new data.

The Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report named Spirit Airlines the No. 1 airline for on-time arrivals for the month of October in the US. This is the first time the budget airline has achieved this milestone.

For the month of October, 89% of Spirit’s flight arrived on-time at the 361 airports surveyed by DOT. Following closely behind was Hawaiian Airlines, with 88.5% of flights arriving on-time and Delta, with 87.1%.

According to a different survey by FlightStats, Spirit took the title again in November, with 82.7% of its flights arriving on-time (with the weighted monthly average dropping about 3 percentage points last month), and the airliner hopes to continue this trend.

“We have looked at every aspect of our operation to improve our reliability and this ranking only highlights those changes,” Spirit said in a statement to TPG. “From adjusting our schedule, aircraft utilization, and crew scheduling, it has been a complete overhaul. This is part of our continued effort to invest in the Guest experience, all while providing the best value in the sky. We are happy with the operational numbers we continue to see, and we feel like we are on the right course.”

This upward trend is a far cry from Spirit’s ranking in 2016, the year in which the ultra-low-cost carrier held the bottom spot for on-time arrivals 11 months in a row — going from a reputation for tardiness to overtaking the rankings entirely.

Generally speaking, ultra-low-cost carriers have good incentive to be timely. After all, saving time is akin to saving money for ULCCs, which turn around their planes at lighting speed in between their jam-packed flight schedules to maximize profits. Plus, new Spirit CEO Bob Fornaro is further incentivizing on-time arrivals with executive and manager bonuses.

Featured image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

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