FLTAdvisor Tells You If Your Flight is Really On Time

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that they wish airlines would just be more honest with them about delays. Sure, airlines promise to update you every 15 minutes these days (yeah, that happens), but often, the agents aren’t given all the information they need to keep you up to date. That’s why when I received a note from the guys behind FLTAdvisor, I immediately saw some promise in the idea.

FLTAdvisor’s goal is to find out if a flight is really going to be on time, despite what the airline says. The idea is great, but can they pull it off? So far, so good, but keep in mind that you will have to pay for it. (More that later.)

For the most part, customer service agents FLTAdvisor Logoand passengers are constrained by whatever the systems are displaying for actual flight time information, but we all know that’s not the whole story. I can often trace a plane back a couple legs to see that it’s going to be late, but airlines generally suck about letting us know about that for fear that aircraft changes may be made and it won’t be accurate.

FLTAdvisor is full of operations guys that used to work for airlines, and they put together this model to help find delays earlier. Yeah, they trace planes back to see if there are delays already, but they do a lot more than that. They use a lot of assumptions about how quickly airplanes can turn around, which runways are operating that day, etc to come up with an accurate prediction. I spoke with John King at the company, and he said that so far accuracy has been very good. I decided to put it to the test.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t as easy as I had thought. I picked a handful of flights, and somehow they all ended up being on time. (This even includes a flight from JFK to Philly on a bad weather day. Come on!) But then I found one. United flight 1166 from SFO to LAX on Sunday, Feb 15 (I wrote this post a little while ago). Here’s what I received. My first email came in at 230p (you can choose when emails should be sent).

United 1166 San Francisco-Los Angeles:
FltAdvisor analysis indicates your departure from San Francisco may be at 5:42 PM, 12 mins late.
FltAdvisor analysis indicates your aircraft is flying from San Francisco to Santa Ana and is currently 80 mins late.
Your aircraft is routed through Santa Ana and then back to San Francisco.
SFO Weather/Rain may cause additional delays.
United reports your 5:30 PM departure from San Francisco is on-time.
Additional Information:
Current Departure Gate 73
Estimated Arrival in LAX at 6:55 PM
Current Arrival Gate 70B
Scheduled – 735 type aircraft.
The following information is from the FAA’s ATC Command Center.
These are general airport conditions and are not flight-specific.
Real-Time Airport Delays for SFO:
Due to WEATHER / WIND, there is a Traffic Management Program in effect for traffic arriving San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, CA (SFO). This is causing some arriving flights to be delayed an average of 2 hours and 58 minutes.
Delays by Destination:
No destination-specific delays are being reported.

Excellent. My plane was already looking to be in bad shape, so at least I could mentally prepare for the delay. There’s also an option in each email to click for alternate flights. It shows those with the actual expected times of departure for those as well, so that’s a helpful tool if you really need to be somewhere. At 430p, an hour before the original departure time of the flight, the half-hourly updates started pouring in.

  • 430p: my flight would now be 71 minutes late because the plane was stuck in Orange County (United.com said 55 minutes late)
  • 500p and 530p: once the plane had left Orange County, it said the flight would be 90 minutes late
  • 6p: revised downward, probably due to lifting traffic restrictions, saying that it would be only 68 minutes late
  • 630p: pushed it up again and said it would be 80 minutes late, 10 minutes from the time of that email

Ultimately, the plane ended up departing 75 minutes late, so certainly within an acceptable range. The most important thing here is that FLTAdvisor gave me notice that a delay was a good possibility long before United did. Were my flight times very important, I could have switched to an earlier flight (that probably also would have been delayed) before others would even know about it.

Yes, it’s always possible that United could have switched planes at SFO and made the flight go on time, and that’s why you can never rely completely on this service. (They’ll send you an email as soon as they see a move like that happening.) But it’s a great early warning system that helps set expectations.

Of course, something like this isn’t going to be free as I mentioned earlier. It’s either $8 a month ($88 a year) or you can buy packets that give you a certain number of flights to track. For example, 10 flights will cost you $15.

If I were a frequent business traveler, I imagine that would be extremely helpful.


29 Responses to FLTAdvisor Tells You If Your Flight is Really On Time

  1. Oliver says:

    I wonder how long it will take until United decides to not let others make money off of their information. Like they did with Seatcounter and other services that used to show award seat and upgrade availability until they go a letter from United.

  2. CF says:

    Oliver – I’m not sure how United (or anyone else) could prevent these guys from doing this. It’s all publicly available information and they’re just applying their knowledge to use that info for good.

  3. David Thomson says:

    Thats right. You can more or less do it all yourself if you have a load of time on your hands…
    Great share of this site Cranky. Thanks a ton. I look forward to giving it a real test over the next few weeks with these flights I have to travel on between the 03/26 and 04/14…….
    BOG-MIA-JFK
    JFK-LAX
    LAX-LHR
    LHR-JFK-LAX
    LAX-JFK-YYZ
    YYZ-JFK-LAX
    LAX-MIA-BOG

  4. Annie says:

    Another snag is that airlines often change equipment when flights are running way behind. You could see your flight is running 80 minutes late and plan accordingly only to find out they changed equipment 2 hours before scheduled departure and are now leaving on time, without you.

  5. Jon says:

    “FLTAdvisor Tells You If You’re Flight is Really On Time”

    Great story. Poor grammar.

  6. CF says:

    Jon – Damn, and that’s a mistake that I absolutely HATE when others make. Thanks for pointing it out. I’ve fixed the title, but clearly I need a break. . .

  7. The Traveling Optimist says:

    As an old operations hand with five years under my belt I see two big issues with this site:
    a) As a 3rd party service I would not govern my time according to anything other than the information provided by the airlines. If I show up late based on the “assumptions” made by this service I have no recourse with the airlines whatsoever if I miss my flight. I’m subject to next seat availability and possibly a boatload of change fees on top of that.

    b) This site will most likely never include one other critical piece of information which, for security reasons will never be publicly released and that is crew availability.

    The service will improve it’s probability greatly if it were to also track similar aircraft coming in and out of a given point to predict the possibility of swaps and ATC “move-ups.” Right now it seems only to be tracking one aircraft at a time and not trying to observe the larger picture which, as old operations hands should know, determines their options at any given moment of the day.

    In short, what other planes do I have available to me and how much crew time do I have to play with are two big questions this service does not appear to answer.

    As a passenger I offer to my fellow travelers from my experience as an Ops Manager that any “shuttle” or “hourly” service is greatly exposed to “thinning” when it comes to controllable and non-controllable delays at any airline. Best of luck.

  8. The Traveling Optimist says:

    David Thompson – Thru each airline I’ve ever flown or been associated with I can share with you that the operational marching order was the same – “Barring a mechanical, Internationals leave on time.”

    LEAVE on time. Arrivals in to LHR, as you are doubtless aware, is another story. Otherwise, airlines and airport authorities are, for once, on the same page regarding international flights, especially the fuel heavy ones like Australia, Hong Kong and West Coast to Europe. They are exempt from ATC 99% of the time. Weather (non-controllable) and mechanicals (controllable) aside, they go.

  9. A says:

    Or…I could just forget the fee and take early morning flights. For an upcoming trip I booked the earliest flight possible. For a 6am departure the equipment arrives at the night before at 11:50pm. That leaves a good 6 hour cushion for delays. Helps me sleep through the night better and doesn’t cost me a thing.

  10. JimP says:

    Cranky, Thank you for this review. As a long time frequent flyer, I welcome any improvement in the information about my flight. Nothing I have used before has been perfect and especially the info from the airlines. From my experience, yes maybe the airlines Ops Mgr knows something, but that doesn’t mean the airline is going to tell you until at best the last minute. Also, these days most airlines don’t have extra planes around to substitute.

  11. David Thomson says:

    The Travelling Optimist: Thanks. Yes, that does more or less apply.. I’m Executive Platinum with AA so I have a general idea… LOL. Thanks for the heads up though! ;-)

  12. CF says:

    Optimist – Since they are limited to what the airlines provide, you’re right, they wouldn’t know crew availability, etc. But they all have extensive ops backgrounds, so they can do as well as anyone else. This is just another layer on top of the sparse info you get from airlines.

    Of course, the airlines can make changes that FLTAdvisor wouldn’t see coming, but it can still give you more info than you currently have, and that’s valuable. Can you take the ultimate output as gospel? No, but it can give you an advantage over others who are trying to get out just like you are.

    A – Yep, you can do that to give you slightly more certainty, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. If that plane arrives late, the crew may have to wait around for it to be legal again. Still, people can’t always fly in the morning – schedules often dictate otherwise.

  13. JK says:

    CF-Interesting, as always. The key word, is “honesty.” I doubt we’ll get much good info about delays when airlines seem so unwilling to confide honestly with its frequent customers why a particular flight has a particular history of on-time departure, and/or on-time arrival. And, it would be so nice if we could call someone with the airline about the facts of the history of that flight.

    Some flights have serious histories with aircraft scheduling problems, others with crew scheduling, some because of the weather at that airport at that particular time of the year, and still others with ATC issues at that hour. Show me the stats for any particular flight [yesterday and the previous couple of weeks] and be honest as to what may have gone wrong. So much of the info shown on airline website is just generalized nonsense and sometimes, an outright lie.

    As to day of the flight, there’s the weather channel, CNN and the others, the traffic reports, what have you. Of course, all our meetings go off exactly as we so painstakenly set them up, and our children always wake up on time so we get to the airport early.

    There’s only so much any of us can do but to the airlines I say, please try to be honest with us about the info you really do know. It shouldn’t be necessary to pay someone to get this

  14. CF says:

    JK – If you want to see the history, FlightStats On Time Rating is a great resource. It gives you historical info for the last two months, so you can really dig in.

  15. The Traveling Optimist says:

    JimP – I agree 100% that more timely information is sorely needed from all airlines. Trouble is, you get the information at the last minute because quite often that’s when they finally decide to do something after weighing all options in front of them. It’s rarely with enough time for the customer to take evasive action but there it is.

    A story – I was in Ops at BWI on summer afternoon. ATC delays to the hub were up to four hours PER departure stretching from 2PM that afternoon until 8PM that evening.

    I looked at my spread, found a flight I could sacrifice, called Ops Center and gave them an option they hadn’t gotten around to yet. Being in an outstation I could think four hours out where they were still working current events.

    My flight was a turn back to the hub and it was already two hours late in TO the hub much less getting to me to turn back around. We cancelled the outbound to me, they “recovered” the flight at the hub and reduced the delay on some one else’s watch.

    My customers hadn’t even shown up at the airport yet. They weren’t happy about the cancellation but were satisfied at knowing up front rather than waiting four hours after check-in only to find out then something I already knew about.

    The point – the other part of the equation the new service can’t predict is the human factor of the Ops agent on watch that day and whether or not the option the customer wants is realistically available to them and in time for that customer to take independent action.

    I agree with Cranky that more information helps, particularly when the scramble for any open seat is at stake. I caution again simply to beware 3rd party information if you’re not already at the airport and looking for options.

  16. The Traveling Optimist says:

    Extra Aircraft – JimP is correct that “spares” aren’t lying about all over the place waiting to pick up slack. The “swap” scenario refers more often to simply using live aircraft for alternate routes than originally scheduled.
    A quick phone call to Maintenance will determine if an Ops Agent can swap an aircraft for another based on whether or not the alternate aircraft is “healthy” or due for a mandatory check that will require it to stay on the routing for which it is already planned. If it’s “good to go” then the initial delay is mitigated. If not, ya take it in the shorts and try again another day.
    Another option speaks to Dave Thompson’s internationals at LHR. One 777 arrives too late due to ATCs to turn it’s homebound flight on schedule. There’s another on the ground that made it on time but isn’t scheduled until later in the afternoon. Swap! Same aircraft type, stage length not a problem, Heavy Maintenance available at both ends, done. Customers (typically) are none the wiser.
    Did it all the time. Best game of chess ever invented!

  17. Nice site – seems to do similar to what I often do manually, but without the hassle.

    I guess it would work better for flights from outstations where a/c & crew substitutions are less likely, not so good for flights from hubs – at least that is the case for my manual processes.

    Given I can’t rely on this info in making decisions, I’m not sure I’d pay for it.

  18. JK says:

    CF–Certainly should have mentioned FlightStats.com as a source of information. I enjoy looking at that site. But, from the airline, I would like to know more about the “why” of the stats, at least those that might affect me.

    Yesterday, for example, at UA’s web site. “Flight Status” for SFO-IAD and IAD-ORD flights showed that they were pretty much all on time, typically only a minute or so off the scheduled times. Yet, UA on a number of flights for why there may have been even a minute difference between scheduled and actual times, you will see things like “Schedule change due to crew,” and others “due to facilities,” “due to aircraft servicing,” due to Air Traffic Control,” or “due to airport operations.” Why they would think I would need to see a reason for any flight only a minute or so off schedule escapes me. As to reasons shown, I doubt they have much basis in fact.

  19. The Traveling Optimist says:

    Why they would think I would need to see a reason for any flight only a minute or so off schedule escapes me. As to reasons shown, I doubt they have much basis in fact.

    In this litigious society, it’s called full disclosure, even for the most mundane and sensically inane reasons.

    And yes, they are all based in fact whether or not we choose to believe or accept such information as truthful. In this self-same litigious society no airline in its right mind would knowingly or willingly publicize false information about the current state of its operation.

    It may be a sunny day in Denver but a freak snow storm in Detroit may be the cause for a “weather” delay that a gate full of idling customers cannot see.

    “Due to crew” may cause a delay on A’s 6am departure because the crew got in at 2am instead of it’s schedule 9:50PM the night before to allow for the minimum 8 hours “rest” between flights.

    Stats going back two months help but don’t tell the whole story, either. Can anyone remember if the weather on March 1st in Kansas City was the exact same as it was a year ago? Or maybe a year ago it wasn’t the weather but a mechanical. Or last month it was neither but a security breach that shut down the whole terminal?

    Next month on the day you plan to travel it could be the potable water system failing (servicing delay), a “no-go” item for any airplane.

    I pray I’m never late for a funeral. The rest I can live with.

  20. Frank says:

    Nice article and good follow-on discussion.

    I would suspect that as FLT ADVISOR begins to build itself a nice historical database, it will begin to factor in tribal knowledge, such as “in xx% of the time that flt XXX is delayed by more than XX minutes at airport XXX, then an equipment change occurs.” They could then so advise.

    It might even be able to make simlar assumptions on crew cancelations. i.e. at Airpot XXX, if flight XXX is delayed more than XXX minutes, the flight is cancelled XX% of the time.

    Or, the knowledge that at airport XXX, no equipment change ever occurs because there is none to be had at that station.

    they cal also look at individual airports, i.e. Newark, and if thunderstorms roll in, make a general prediction of delays to all flights — even if the individual airlines are holding the line, avoiding any anncounement for fear of losing pax.

    All-in-all, a good idea
    Cheers,

  21. David SF east bay says:

    To me it makes no sense to check with people who have no current info and who are using past data to tell you if a flight will be on time. Check with the airline or your travel agent, they are the ones that have current info and that can protect you if there is a big delay.

    Why does there always seem to be websites trying to lure you into believing them instead of the actual airline?

  22. Alex says:

    I think its a good idea but its only realistically useful whilst your traveling, during layovers at airports etc. If i was flying into say LHR and connecting on to Europe then I could see how it would be useful to turn on my phone after landing and read an email telling me upto the minute status. I could adjust plan accordingly move meetings, inform taxi companies whilst deplaning and passing through flight connections and immigration.

    So i can see its uses around the airport. However i think the key problem here is essentially a legal one. I’m sure that these guys are great at what they do but I’m only ever going to rely on what the airline tell me because thats what they are legally responsible for. In reality missing a flight and claiming that your “Sorry, my subscription to FltAdvisor told me the flight was delay 2hrs” isn’t going to get me anywhere. No matter how great there product and predictions are I’m not sure they can get round that.

  23. JimP says:

    As a consultant I have to fly a lot and considering the cost of the ticket, the $8 a month doesn’t seem bad ($2 a week, $1 a flight in my case). Especially since they don’t bombard you with ads on their web site. Also from my experience, the airlines don’t always tell you that your flight is going to be delayed for business reasons. They don’t want the passengers to start looking at other earlier flights to the same destination that may be delayed. Also as a frequent flyer the airlines will not usually charge fees to change flights on the same day. Anyway more flight information can help you make better decisions.

  24. I like this given that it isn’t overly granular. I went off previously about Delta letting me know that a flight was now one minute later than it was before. Which in my book doesn’t really matter, a minute is time spent getting off the plane.

    Now, I wonder which airline will be the first one to ditch their internal reporting and go with FLTAdvisor? Given that providing flight arrival isn’t their core expertise (and it shows) I can see them doing this as it would provide their customers better data, and probably cost them less. Theoretically FLTAdvisor could even provide more accurate data for an airline that decides to work with it as they could gain access to the airline’s internal data.

  25. JK says:

    CF–Hope you’re getting paid by the number of comments to your items.

    A half hour ago, looked outside my house watching UA1260 from MCO head north to make a south landing at IAD. I see that just about this time UA flights from SFO, DEN, ORD, and Beijing were just about to land. All save the ORD (flight 722) left on-time or early…the ORD flight left 2 minutes late. All arrived IAD early, even the ORD flight, 6 minutes early. Of course, the ORD flight had to have a “Reason,” “Schedule change due to Airport Operations.” [shown both for ORD and IAD, so I guess both airports must have had problems!] Sure!

    As Optimist said, probably a requirement to avoid litigationwhenever a flight leaves late, regardless of whether it arrives on time. Gottahave a reason. Pick one, whatever, who cares!

    Then there was UA966 from LAX to IAD this morning. Canceled! No reasons given. Then, 924 LAX to IAD left an hour and a half late, due in tonight an hour 18 minutes late. “Reason.” “Schedule change due to Customer Relations.” [I trust “customer relations” is code for something…, UA wouldn’t want the rest of us to know.] FightStats sure has lot of data on this showing many, many changes made, but nothing as to why. So, where are we? Maybe if I offered to pay UA for more info?

  26. CF says:

    Great discussion here today. Thanks to everyone for chiming in. (And sadly, JK, I don’t get paid by the comment. I barely get any money at all from this site.)

    Global Traveller – That’s exactly it. Many of us can try to piece this together manually, but often, frequent fliers don’t have the time for that. They also don’t have the ability to connect the dots unless they’re on the more savvy side. Continental actually makes it much easier by telling you where you inbound aircraft is coming from in their flight status application, but most others make it tougher.

    JK – Very good point. If you want to know what is actually causing the delay, then you’d need to get the airline to give you info, but even they don’t have it often. The delay system is set up poorly in that someone has to take the fall for the delay. So there are delay codes that blame different groups, and there is no detail on what happens. A group just gets blamed when the delay is assigned a code. That’s what you see on united.com, and you probably can’t get it any better unless the agent has a free form place to write what happened. It would be nice if they would make that publicly available, but instead you get stuck with “customer relations,” which could mean almost anything. It also may not tell us the full story because there could have been many angles at work here.

    David SF east bay – This isn’t simply using historical data. This is using real time data and applying some logic to it. The airlines have this info, but as Optimist says, they’re probably too worried about it changing so they don’t want to release it. This site will just give you all that info that they dig up for you after they’ve applied some logic. It’s just another tool to use.

    Alex – I think the key here is how you look at the product. Can it give you a leg up and maybe allow you to make alternate plans before others take all the seats on earlier flights? Yeah. Can you trust it to always be right and show up when it tells you? No way. It just gives you an extra level of transparency about what’s happening, and for me, piece of mind goes a long way. (Just a note – I don’t fly a ton, so I don’t subscribe. If I had a very important trip coming up, I would look at individual pricing plans just for the extra info.)

    Nicholas – I doubt we’ll see any airline go with this – they have much of this info but they don’t want to release it for the legal reasons that have been brought up. They only want to tell passengers information that is highly unlikely to change. This info is more likely to change as aircraft swaps and other things occur, so they probably will continue to shy away from sharing so much info.

  27. The Traveling Optimist says:

    Protect the Revenue –

    JimP is correct in that there is a lot of this going on but in also in some subtle ways rather than simply not disclosing alternate service on a competitor.

    Airlines are required by Rule 240, in general, to protect their customers on alternate service up to and including other airlines if the customer is delayed more than 2 hours domestically and I believe 4 hours internationally.

    Someone who gets huffy because he or she was “inconvenienced” by 30-45 minutes does not qualify for that mandatory obligation. Further, the fare rules of most discounted tickets automatically mean other airlines will not accept the revenue (it’s not worth the electronic paper it’s written on for them to bother in most cases).

    So, one of two things generally need to exist before huffing off to the competition: Have a “flexible” unrestricted or full fare ticket that they will gladly accept and/or be inconvenienced by more than 2 hours. Free FFY tickets are always out of the question short of a bilateral agreement between airline alliance carriers. Otherwise, you’re more than welcome to try the other guys, but you may end up out of pocket more than you are already and the chances of reimbursement/compensation for your unilateral choice from your first carrier is slim to none.

  28. The Traveling Optimist says:

    PS to Cranky – GREAT dialogue churner on this one, guy. Keep it up!

  29. John King says:

    This is a really good discussion. All of us “airline nerds” at fltadvisor have been tuned in and wanted to add a few comments.

    First for The Traveling Optimist: We pretty much agree with everything you brought up and we do appreciate and understand your thoughts. Most of us at fltadvisor have long backgrounds in airline operations and in airline information technology. For instance I have been the CIO at three airlines – one of the really big ones and two startups. We will never have as good an understanding of what is happening with an airline’s aircraft as the airline does inside its operations control center (OCC). We probably will never have access to crew delay information and we sure don’t know what the pilot or line mechanic is entering in the maintenance log for each aircraft. We do pick up on those delay situations as soon as the airline reports them but we have no way of predicting them.

    Background info:

    Most of us at fltadvisor are very frequent flyers typically averaging three segments per week. We have a consulting company that as one of its service lines provides advice to airlines on technology and operating efficiency. We are “Platinum”on several carriers. We initially built fltadvisor just for ourselves. We were doing the upline analysis by hand (time consuming) and because we were frustrated that the airlines weren’t telling us what was happening on our flights until it was too late for us to look at taking a different flight. Having worked in airlines we know that even when the airline OCC knows an aircraft is running late, the airline customer service people restrict that information and when (or if) it is passed on to the customer. All for good (sort of) reasons. The first is they don’t want inaccurate information to go out. What if they told their passengers three hours ahead of time that their flight would be late and then their OCC found a way to bring it back on time? (Note: This actually happens anyway – twice this year the airline has called me to let me know my 5PM flight was going to leave at 6PM. I showed up at 5PM and watched it back away from the gate at 5PM – on time). The second reason is that when passengers change flights it creates extra work for the customer service people.

    We don’t have those constraints at fltadvisor so we actually do give warnings well ahead of the airlines most of the time. Given all that – we are still just providing an additional (but sorely missing) data point for the real airline travelers out there. Most of our customers are people who travel a lot and who want some advance information on when their flights might be running late. They want to get to meetings on time, avoid unnecessary hotel nights, and want to get back home at a reasonable time at the end of the week – just like we do. They want to know how much time they will really have to make connections (we can track multiple legs and predict the connection time). They want to know what the alternate flights are and how they are really running (not just their scheduled times).

    Now just some general comments on what we do:

    Most of the time we can determine where an aircraft is coming from well before it gets to the flight segment a fltadvisor customer is flying. Then we can see what the airline is reporting on that aircraft long before it flies their segment. We know if it’s running on time or behind schedule many hours before it flies the customer’s segment. We can do this over the whole world – not just in the USA.

    We then look at the routing for that aircraft and which segments it is flying and which airports it is coming through. We analyze weather impact, congestion at airports (including taxi times which we get from out, off, on, in (OOOI) messages from the airlines). We analyze how much time a late aircraft can make through faster turns at the gates or by using the padding that airlines include in their scheduled flight times vs. the actual flight times. We also have to understand where an airline might decide to substitute another aircraft to keep a flight on time. Generally this could happen in an airline’s hubs or when there has been a cancellation earlier in the day and we know there is a spare aircraft sitting there.

    All of that is just part of the equation. We also staff a 7/24 OCC of our own – with experienced airline people (combined over 60 years of direct experience). These people have an advanced global dashboard created by fltadvisor that tracks all of our customer’s flights. We can analyze specific situations affecting flights and can add or subtract time to the computer generated analysis before the final tracking messages are sent out to our customers. Our OCC staff can also add information to the tracking messages of all those people whose aircraft are specifically impacted by some special situation. For instance if the wind is blowing to hard in the wrong direction at LaGuardia airport in New York, we know they will be restricted to using only one of the two runways. So we add time to all the aircraft flying through LaGuardia to account for the extra delays we expect. We would do the same if we saw a severe thunderstorm going over Dallas at 2 PM this afternoon. We would add time to those aircraft traversing Dallas during that period if we thought it necessary.

    We don’t want a cluttered display so we don’t sell advertising. We do have to pay for our 7/24 OCC staff so we do charge for the service. Most of the people who use us only use their PC to create their account. From that point on they tend to use their cell phones to receive tracking messages. The tracking messages can be sent to any e-mail account worldwide. People with Blackberries with push e-mail tend to send to that address. Most others send an SMS message to their cell phone e-mail address and then click the link in that SMS message when it arrives to get the detailed analysis (it pops up in their cell phone browser). Most people set up the myflights@fltadvisor.com email address at their airline or other booking site so that as they book new flights or change flights, fltadvisor gets a copy of their itinerary and sets up tracking automatically.

    Bottom line – the main purpose of fltadvisor is to provide early warning of delay or connection risk. When you get that early warning you can start using other information – from weather.com, from the government (FAA, Eurocontrol), and specifically from the airline itself to finalize your decision. Don’t be surprised though when you call the airline. When you say that you are considering changing your flight because your assigned aircraft is running behind schedule, the customer service person in reservations or at the airport probably will not have that information in their customer service computer yet. Luckily for many frequent fliers we can usually make changes several hours ahead of time on day of travel without incurring those dreaded change fees.

    Sorry to ramble on so but I though you might be interested in the full story about fltadvisor and we actually can and cannot do. Good flying to you all!

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