What is Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA)?

Definition: Estimated time of arrival (ETA) is the time interval at which a certain vehicle will arrive its destination. It is a transportation term that defines the time remaining for certain aircraft, automobile, ship or emergency service to reach the place it is directed to.

What Does Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) Mean?

This term is frequently employed to inform passengers about the remaining period of time when certain transport is supposed to arrive or it is supposed to reach certain destination. It is also employed to inform recipients about the estimated date when they will receive certain cargo or mail delivery. Additionally, emergency services also provide the patient or the receiving health care facility with an estimated time of arrival for them to be properly prepared to attend the situation.

There are a wide range of scenarios where this term can be used and its main purpose is always to communicate the progress of certain item before it reaches its destination. In business environments, this term is very useful for management purposes. An importer is always concerned about the E.T.A of its products, a manager should be concerned about the E.T.A. of its subordinate’s tasks and a consultant should always inform his clients about the E.T.A of the projects he is currently handling.


Wine of America Co. is a company located in Napa Valley that sells wine for tourist through a big shop located in a high traffic area of the town and even though its suppliers are mostly local they often import wines from other places to expand the variety of the products they can offer to its customers. Recently, they imported some wines from Chile, from some well-known brands. These wines were constantly requested by customers and the store owner decided to take the risk of importing some of them.

The shipping company informed the owner that it will take at least 1 month to receive the cargo, since it was shipped by sea. After two weeks have passed, the owner contacted the shipping company again to follow up and they informed him that there was a favorable schedule review and the estimated time of arrival is currently 5 days. The owner is certain that the products will be profitable for the store.

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