SkyWest Airlines is a specialized regional carrier that is headquartered in St. George, UT. According to most FAA sources, SkyWest Airlines is a major airline. However, they operate on a regional airline and belong to the RAA (Regional Airline Association). SkyWest operates to 180 cities in various states and provinces, as well as five cities in Mexico and the Bahamas. SkyWest Airlines has partnerships with the following commercial carriers: Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways Express, Delta, and American Airlines. In 2013, SkyWest carried nearly 30 million passengers.

 

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skywest
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5.0

The Good

SkyWest is a regional airline that operates flights on behalf of the major airlines they partner with. Because of this, they do not perform any reservation or ticketing functions. Instead the major airlines they partner with sells the tickets and the connecting flights may be a SkyWest plane. Their partnering airlines selling the tickets are:

• United Airlines (as United Express)
• Delta Air Lines (as Delta Connection)
• American Airlines (as American Eagle)
• Alaska Airlines (as Alaska Airlines operated by SkyWest Airlines)

This means that all ticket prices will be what those airlines generally charge. SkyWest does not compete with the other airline prices and instead allows them to set the price and is not involved in the ticketing process.

Similarly to the ticket prices, SkyWest does not have their own baggage policy but follows the baggage requirements of their partnering airlines. For flights with Delta that use SkyWest to connect, they follow Delta baggage prices. This is true for all of their partnering airlines. In addition to the restrictions of these airlines, SkyWest has their own restrictions in baggage. They do not accept:

• Kayaks
• Windsurf equipment
• Hang gliders
• Extra-large or giant pet kennels

These items are prohibited on SkyWest flights due to equipment size or other operational constraints. They also do not allow any items classified as a pressurized gas/liquid, oil-based paints, explosives, poisons, magnetic materials, flammable items, or corrosive, etc.

The boarding process on SkyWest Airlines is the boarding process of whichever partnering airline the flight is connecting with. Seats are assigned, and the check-in and boarding process depends on the major airline of the flight. If the tickets are purchased through American Airlines, then it is the check-in and boarding process of American Airlines that will take place on that SkyWest flight.

SkyWest flies 1,700 daily flights to hundreds of locations each day. They have great on-time performance when compared to the top airlines. Their on-time percentage for their daily flights is 85% on time, late is 6%, very late is 2%, and excessively late is 5%. This is a similar performance to many of the top airlines that SkyWest partners with. This shows that when taking a connecting flight of SkyWest while on a major airline flight, the on-time performance will be consistent with that that is expected of that major airline. When looking at the most active routes of SkyWest, they did not receive as high of ratings as some of the top airlines. They had many flights with scores of 2-3 stars instead of the 4-5 stars seen by some airlines. Their top flights include:

• Yuma to Phoenix (4.1 stars, 90% on time)
• Los Angeles to San Diego (3.1 stars, 84% on time)
• Milwaukee to Chicago (2.9 stars, 84% on time)

Their active routes are short connecting flights, which is mainly what SkyWest flies. Passengers want these short flights to not arrive late for their next flight. Based on these numbers it seems that SkyWest does fairly well at keeping their passengers on time.

The first flight of SkyWest took place in 1972. For the past 43 years they have been a regional airline partnering with major airlines in their connecting flights. Compared to those larger airline partners, SkyWest is a newer company. Many of the larger airlines have been around for over 80 years, almost double SkyWest. They have 347 aircrafts in operation and in 2014 carried 27.9 million passengers. SkyWest has a Safety First motto and state that they have some of the most thoroughly trained and experience pilots in the industry. They are known for their “industry-leading workforce, exceptional leadership team, and continued solid operational and economic performance”. SkyWest is headquartered in St. George, Utah and flies to many destinations across the United States. Their mission is to be the airline of choice, the employer of choice, and the investment of choice. They do this by partnering with some of the top airlines available such as United, Delta, and American Airlines.

The Bad

SkyWest partners with a number of different airlines to serve as their connecting flights. Through these airlines, SkyWest flies to 205 cities. This includes 44 states, Washington D.C., 6 Canadian Provinces, and 11 Mexican cities and the Bahamas. The number of destinations for each airline that SkyWest partners with are as follows:

• United: 163
• Delta: 128
• American: 25
• Alaska: 19
• Shared: 102

Because SkyWest partners with these larger airlines, they are able to reach a large number of destinations domestically. They don’t have hardly any international flights however which makes them a small airline compared to other top airline and their destinations. While their partnered airlines travel across the world, SkyWest only assists with connecting flights domestically. They are large for how many cities they fly to in the United States, but small when compared with international destinations.

SkyWest had very little information about their in-flight services available on their website. They do have the standard complimentary snacks and beverages as well as available beverages that are not complimentary. Beyond this, not much is known about the in-flight services. However, because they specialize in short connecting flights, not much entertainment or food will most likely be offered by the airline, or needed by the passenger.

The Bottom Line

Overall, we do not recommend SkyWest. Their lack of transparency was the biggest red flag. We also found many poor customer reviews during our research. We suggest shopping around when you purchase your ticket, as you might get stuck on a CRJ 200 flight, which are not always the best for comfort.

Travel Insurance

We found that SkyWest does not have an arrangement with individual carriers to agree upon a travel insurance provider. Most of the carriers that contract with SkyWest provide travel insurance through Allianz. When we looked at a quote for Alaskan Airlines, we found that a quote with Allianz cost around $90, while Delta was slightly cheaper. Here is what a quote from Allianz provides:

  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption: Up to Total Trip Cost, Max of $10,000.
  • Emergency Medical Transportation: $50,000
  • Emergency Medical/Dental: $10,000
  • Baggage Coverage: $500
  • Baggage Delay: $100
  • Travel Delay: $150
  • 24-Hour Hotline: Yes
  • Existing Medical Conditions Coverage: Yes

Baggage Guarantee

Generally, according to our phone-in, customers are given $3400 worth of liability from the airline for their bags. Depending upon the carrier, this amount can be upgraded to as high as $5000.

Boarding

SkyWest offers assigned seating. Customers can select their seats when they are purchasing their tickets with their main carrier. Also, flights with SkyWest are loaded from rear to front.

WiFi

SkyWest, through some of their carriers, provides GoGo Internet. Depending upon the plane, customers will have access to Wi-Fi for $5.00 per hour or $16 per day.

Snack and Drink Selection and Quality

There are free complimentary beverages, alcohol that costs $6-$9 depending upon the beverage and snacks available for purchase.

Seating

SkyWest has many different planes. The CRJ900 has anywhere from 31″ to 37″ of seat pitch available, depending upon the class of seats purchased. Since these are connecting flights, most of the planes in the fleet do not have TVs on each chair.

Refund Policy

The carriers with SkyWest provide flight replacements or refunds for canceled flights due to mechanical problems or weather. Travel insurance can also help supplement your ticket refund in the instance of a delay or cancellation.

Rewards Programs

SkyWest connections are covered as part of your original ticket that you purchase with your carrier and are part of your existing reward package.

Time in Business

SkyWest was incorporate in 1985.

Company Contact Info

Phone: (435) 634-3000

444 S River Rd, St George, UT 84790-2085

 

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