Budget Airlines With the Best On-Time Record

Source: Marcus Millo / Getty Images

Two of the most important factors when booking a flight is the price and the airline’s reputation, specifically its track record for on time departures and arrivals. Ideally, a traveller does not have to choose one over the other. After all, who likes to spend more time than necessary at airports?

To achieve the goal of finding a discounted plane ticket many people turn to low-cost carriers — and the industry is booming. The share of budget airlines flights, out of total flights, rose from 19% in 2007 to 30% in 2016, according to the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation. The share of flights with traditional airlines, meanwhile, decreased from 59% in 2007 to 53% in 2016.

Research and advisory company Allied Analytics estimated the low-cost carrier market value at almost $118 billion in 2016 and is projected to nearly double in size by 2023, reaching nearly $208 billion. Many countries nowadays have low-cost airlines that offer international flights as well as domestic. So if you’re traveling, make sure to check any offers from budget airlines at both your point of origin and destinations.

If you happened to be in the United States, you may want to consider Spirit Airlines. It improved its on-time record and moved five spots globally over 2017, finishing ninth best among global low-cost carriers, and the best among all American budget airlines, according to OAG, an air travel intelligence company based in the United Kingdom.

Overall, airlines in Latin America did especially well in terms of punctuality, according to John Grant, senior analyst with OAG. European airlines, on the other hand, fared poorly. “The air traffic control strikes were very damaging to on-time performance [of European airlines],” he explained. This is why Ryanair, the continent’s biggest budget airline, did not even make the top 20 of the low-cost carriers with the best on-time record.

To identify the budget airlines with the best on-time record, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed OAG’s annual report on airlines and airports’ performance. The information is based based on 58 million flight records using full-year data from 2018. In order to be considered, all airlines’ schedules database must contain flight status data for at least 80% of all flights. Flights are considered on time if they depart or arrive within 15 minutes of estimated scheduled time. Cancellations were counted as being late. Data for cargo and charter flights were excluded.

Information of the country of origin of each airline and its frequent international destinations was gathered from the carriers’ sites.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.