You can find out about a flight delay in advance, even before it is announced
We were all those who stood at the gates of the airport, looking alone at the gangway leading into empty space, losing all hope of a timely departure. How to know if your flight will be delayed even before it's announced Travel Leisure.
Unfortunately, travel is inextricably linked with flight delays. However, only a few know that they can actually be predicted. Here's how you can be one of the first to know if your plane is delayed.
Reasons for delays
First, you must know why the planes are delayed. There are two main reasons for runway delays.
“Of course, the most obvious clue is checking the weather,” said airline pilot Patrick Smith of Ask the Pilot. Naturally, if the weather is bad at the point of departure or destination, there is a high probability that your flight will be delayed. “However, there are a lot of variables,” adds Smith. – Some nodes are more latency-prone than others. A few inches of snow in Denver or Detroit is no big deal. Snow in Washington or Dallas, on the other hand, can cause problems.”
US carriers must indicate the reason for their delays with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which publishes a monthly report with this information. In 2022, the weather caused an average of about a quarter of the monthly delays. And while you might expect most of these delays to occur during the winter, July and August had the highest percentage of weather-related delays at 28% and 29%, respectively.
More common, though less predictable, reasons for delays include late arrivals due to a previous delay, maintenance or crew issues, and heavy traffic. Together, they accounted for the majority of all flight delays recorded in 2022.
“Knowing the arrival status of an aircraft is an important key to understanding how this might affect its departure status,” Smith said. “Some airline websites and apps allow you to track the location of the aircraft you are flying.”
In addition to the tracking features offered by certain airlines, you can also use a third party like FlightAware, the world's largest flight tracking platform. If the flight prior to yours is delayed, chances are your flight may be delayed as well.
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Experienced travelers know that the likelihood of one of these delays increases as the day progresses. Since delays can cause a ripple effect in the schedule, you'd better fly in the morning.
How to anticipate flight delays
Browse map real-time information from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on flight delays across the country. The map is color-coded for delay duration, from 15 minutes to 45 minutes or more, so you can see patterns in your origin, destination, and the airport your plane is arriving from.
The information can be a little tricky to decipher as it is usually a bunch of letters and numbers that the average person can't understand. That's where an app like this is useful flighty. Flighty is designed to extract all available data about your flight, decode and interpret it, and alert you to any potential issues that may affect your flight.
“We are trying to tell the truth about your flight as soon as possible,” said Flighty founder and CEO Ryan Jones.
While you can certainly find all the information on your own, you will have to check many sources several times in advance of your departure. Flighty automates this process for you.
“We watch everything that happens to the aircraft for 25 hours and let you know if you need to take care of it,” Jones said.
The app, which has both a free version and a premium version that costs $5,99 a month or $47,99 a year, not only notifies you of delays, but details such as gate changes that sometimes not announced at the airport until the last minute.
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Even if there's nothing you can do to change the fact that your flight is delayed, just knowing what's going on can bring you some comfort. Or, if you're having a major delay and you know it ahead of time, it might even give you an advantage when booking another flight. At the very least, you will know if you still have time for a drink in the lounge before you have to head to the boarding gate.
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