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 and 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.

Continue reading on crankyflier.com

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  • Cranky Flier

    My name is Brett, and I’m an airline dork. I’ve had the bug since I was young. As a kid, I never missed a chance to go to LAX a…

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