I try to avoid regional carriers since I don’t like small planes, they don’t pay their employees as much, and they just aren’t comfortable. Now I can add another reason—especially over the holidays—as a new report shows that one of the biggest culprits behind holiday delays and cancellations are regional airlines serving smaller cities:
“The research found cancellation rates of flights from regional airlines are three times higher than larger airlines.
Using the last five years of air travel data provided by the United States Department of Transportation, the report found that weather was the biggest cause of cancellations. With airlines choosing to cancel regional flights first in order to impact fewer passengers, travelers living in smaller cities are more often dealing with the holiday travel headaches.”
A dozen years ago, I dealt with one of those headaches myself on Christmas Eve. I was flying LAX-PIT-ERI and there was snow in the area (not a lot) and so they canceled my PIT-ERI flight. I waited in the PIT airport for eight hours as there were rolling delays before they finally bussed passengers to ERI. A long day of travel!
I know it’s impossible for some travelers to avoid regional carriers (there aren’t always options like larger airports nearby). But for travelers that do have options—like those from Erie, PA, which has three larger airports (Buffalo, Cleveland and Pittsburgh) within 135 miles—it might be wiser to drive the 100+ miles instead of risking having your flight canceled. For a list of alternate airports, check out this webpage I made that has the actual driving distances of “alternate” airports.
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