Skip to content

Want an On-Time Arrival? Book With a Regional Airline

Sept. 26, 2018
2 min read
Want an On-Time Arrival? Book With a Regional Airline
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Sign up for our daily newsletter

If you are looking to increase your odds of arriving at your destination on time, you might want to consider booking with a regional airline instead of a mainline carrier.

That is what new data from the US Department of Transportation shows. The preliminary DOT report, released Tuesday, included regional carriers for the first time. And a handful of these small but mighty airlines showed up their major carrier counterparts when it came to on-time arrivals.

Specifically in July, four US regional carriers — SkyWest, Endeavor Air, ExpressJet and Republic Airlines — all had better on-time percentages than massive industry players American, United, JetBlue and Southwest. (However, the actual flights of those regional players are in the colors and under the flight numbers of the majors, such as American, United and Delta.)

In fact, SkyWest, which is the largest, was ranked fourth overall among US carriers for on-time flights. Its flights are on-time 80.4% of the time. Endeavor followed in the fifth overall spot, with a 77.5% on-time rate. ExpressJet closely trailed at No. 6, with its flight on time 77.2% of the time, and Republic scooped up the No. 7 slot with an on-time rate of 75.2%.

American and JetBlue were the lowest-ranking of the major airlines, with JetBlue barely edging out ultra-low-cost Allegiant, with 67.2% and 67% on-time rates, respectively.

Regional carriers, dubbed "branded codeshare partners" by DOT, are a huge swath of the commercial aviation industry. They transport roughly a quarter of all US airline passengers every year. And in 2018, more than half of domestic flights were taken on regional carriers.

Here is the full on-time arrivals ranking, based on DOT's preliminary data for July:

  1. Hawaiian: 92.6% on time
  2. Delta: 83.4% on time
  3. Alaska: 82.9%
  4. SkyWest: 80.4%
  5. Endeavor: 77.5%
  6. ExpressJet: 77.2%
  7. Republic: 75.6%
  8. United: 75.1%
  9. Mesa: 74.7%
  10. Southwest: 74.5%
  11. Envoy: 74.3%
  12. PSA: 74.0%
  13. Spirit: 73.6%
  14. American: 70.0%
  15. JetBlue: 67.2%
  16. Allegiant: 67.0%
  17. Frontier: 59.7%

H/T: Bloomberg

Featured image by A United Express ERJ-145 regional jet. Photo by United Airlines.