Best Airlines

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Model of Best Airlines DC-9-10 Aircraft

Best Airlines was a small airline that flew to a miscellaneous and changing group of cities in the Mid-Atlantic United States in the mid-1980s. Their headquarters was in the Covington, Kentucky area which is near the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. The May 15, 1983 timetable indicates headquarters in Florence, KY and the January 7, 1985 timetable indicates headquarters in Ft. Mitchell, KY.

The airline operated a small fleet of McDonnell Douglas DC-9-10 jetliners, an aircraft which seats about 75 passengers. Their aircraft were painted in a striking livery. A diagonal cheatline with orange, yellow, and red stripes divided a white top from a blue bottom. The arrangement ran up the middle of the tail with the word "Best" in black letters on the white section.

Flight International Magazine's 1985 "World Aviation Directory" includes a short entry for the airline. It lists Best as a Part 121 carrier established on June 28, 1982. It listed headquarters as 207 Grandview Dr., Ft. Mitchell, KY, 41017. The airline's president is listed as William C. Yung, and its executive vice-president as C. Michael Dacy, and its treasurer as James W. Thelen. The airline is listed as having 100 employees and two aircraft. [1]


The May 15, 1983 timetable[2] indicates that the airline served:

The airline did not operate hub and spoke connecting system via any one airport, and also added and dropped a number of destinations during its existence. Their January 7, 1985 timetable[3] shows them serving the following airports:

Buffalo, Greenboro/Winston-Salem/High Point and Raleigh/Durham had been dropped by this time.

Best also operated from Atlanta, GA (ATL) in 1984 with DC-9 jet service flown nonstop to Alexandria, LA (ESF), Gulfport, MS (GPT) and Roanoke, VA (ROA). Nonstop service was also operated between Alexandria, LA and Gulfport, MS as an extension of the Atlanta service at this time.[4]

The airline appears to have had no more than three or four flights a day, and sometimes as few as one, from the airports it served. In 1985 as in 1983, a hub and spoke connecting system was not operated and there appears to have been no clear pattern concerning their choice of markets.


After the deregulation of the airline industry in the United States in 1978, many new airlines took to the skies, and existing airlines grew, leading to an expansion from 297 million passengers handled in the U.S. in 1980 to 466 million in 1990.[5] But along the way many startup airlines failed, such as People Express, Muse Air, and New York Air.

Best Airlines appears to have been one of the more quixotic of the new entrants. It had no identifiable hub or traffic flow, and it only operated for a few years. But it is an example of the many new airlines, successful in the long term or not, that took to the skies in the years after deregulation.


  1. ^ Flight International, 30 March 1985, p. 59.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^, Best Airlines May 1, 1984 system timetable route map
  5. ^ T.A. Heppenheimer, Turbulent Skies: The History of Commercial Aviation, 256.