Forbes has released their edited version of the U.S.A.’s top on-time airlines. These airlines are based on the same data released by DOT every month, but Forbes has limited the airlines they include to those that depart from at least 20 of the nation’s top 31 airports.

Airlines like Hawaiian and Alaska Air, perennial on-time champs are not included in this list because they don’t affect that many travelers. Other airlines that you may not recognize, that are on this list are airlines like SkyWest adn ExpressJet. That’s because they normally fly under the moniker of a larger airline with a code-share agreement.

Travelers may think when they clamber aboard a Continental Express, or United Express, or Delta Express, or American Connection flight that you are getting aboard a subsidiary of a major airline. They are not. These airlines are regional airlines that fly under fake colors of mainline carriers; all with the approval of the DOT.

USAirways and United Airlines, once in the toilet based on customer service rankings, have surged to the top-5 when it comes to on-time. This was done with a strong focus within the company to make on-time departures a priority. The biggest surprise in this list is the absence of American Airlines. It is no where to be seen in the Top 10.

Without further ado, here is Forbes’ listing of the Top 10 On-Time U.S. Airlines for 2009

1. Southwest
2. SkyWest
3. United
4. US Airways
5. Northwest (now part of Delta)
6. Continental
7. ExpressJet
8. Delta
9. Frontier
10. JetBlue