Home Travel You’ll Never Believe What U.S. Airline Is Beating Out The Big Guys For Being On Time

You’ll Never Believe What U.S. Airline Is Beating Out The Big Guys For Being On Time

by SharonKurheg

Sometimes you look at an airline and are just amazed that a smaller carrier can not only play ball with the big boys, but does it better than them.

Such is the case for this airline that I admittedly love to hate…

I’ve said on more than one occasion that I don’t like Spirit Airlines. I’ve admittedly never flown them, but I’ve just never liked the idea of being nickel-and-dimed for every little thing; I’d rather pay for everything up front and be done with it. However, I know there are plenty of people who swear by Spirit, so it’s definitely a matter of Your Mileage May Vary.


Anyway, we reported a long while back (January 2018) that Spirit was running on time more than two major airlines. Fast forward to now and guess what? As per Forbes, month by month, Spirit and Delta are now running neck and neck, but Spirit’s ahead in overall “on timeness.”

Here are the numbers, so far, for 2019:
January: Spirit was on time 82.9% of the time, of the time, Delta 82.7%
February (most recent data available): Delta was on time 77.9% of the time, Spirit 77.7%
Year-To-Date: Spirit has been on time 80.5% of the time (making them #2), Delta has been 80.4% (making them #3)

The #1 carrier most months nowadays is Hawaiian Airlines (in February 2019, they were on time 81.7% of the time and 84.6% year-to-date) – most likely because they’re rarely affected by weather delays.

It’s not lost on me that both Spirit’s and Delta’s on-time reports were much better last year – Delta was #1, with a 93.7% on-time record and Spirit was #2, with 89.8% (Hawaiian was #3, at 89.3%). I’d be curious about the factors that caused such a decrease in being on time between then and now, but meanwhile, it looks like Spirit is working hard to beat Delta…and in recent months, it’s working about 50% of the time.

You know, maybe…just maybe..I need to look at Spirit a little more closely in terms of it being a viable carrier for me in the future. Oh, who am I kidding? Nah…. (note from Joe: Yeah, I didn’t think that was going to happen)

*** HUGE thank-you to Lisa D. for making us aware of this update!

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Boraxo May 12, 2019 - 4:03 pm

Everyone I know who has flown Spirit has told me they would never fly them again. That tells me all I need to know.

DaninMCI May 12, 2019 - 5:06 pm

Doesn’t surprise me. For all the ways to dislike Spirit they seem to board planes better than most carriers. They aren’t afraid to board a bit early and fast or even depart a few minutes early in my experience. It’s a cattle car experience to be sure. I would imagine if they worked a bit harder on the check in counter experience they could improve on this. Also consider that Spirit is competing in on-time record while maintaining remote routes with little or no backup aircraft and little to no interline agreements to route passengers to other airlines.

Albert May 12, 2019 - 9:31 pm

I am not trying to stick up for Spirit, but how do they “nickle and dime” you any more than any other carrier outside of Southwest assuming you have no status?

You say you want to pay for everything up front, well they let you do that you just need you buy a bag and a seat.


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