Flight delays and even more so cancellations are a pain in the #$%## for any traveller. We all heard anecdotal stories of airports or airlines that are said to be more likely to occur delays or cancellations. But is that good enough for us to make a call on who to fly with and where to stop over? Maybe. A better way though is to look into some actual numbers.
FlightStats.com is the perfect site for anyone who would likes to do a bit of homework before they fly. According to their website FlightStats’ five hundred plus independent developer network generates over three million data queries per day, which powers major sites like USA Today and Accuweather, top selling mobile apps like FlightTrack and Kayak, digital signage solutions like Marriott Courtyard’s GoBoards, email/SMS alerts by Alaska Airlines and in-terminal displays at over 30 airports. Millions more access FlightStats through data sharing agreements with Google and Bing.
Whilst providing all sorts of detailed stats about an airport, airline or even a single flight, FlightStats summarizes its statistics in a nice way on its “global trends site“. There you can check the delay and cancellation data over a 30 day range or just look at what’s happening today, anywhere in the world. Looking at the 30-day United Stats stats right now for example, is telling me that during this time period flying with American Airlines from Chicago’s O’Hare (IATA: ORD) to Dallas/Ft. Worth (IATA: DFW) wasn’t a great idea if you planned to be on time or even get there at all.
Be mindful though when looking at these stats as they are not giving you any details about the total aircraft handled in the given time period. The above example could as well just show up on the top as American Airlines probably operates the most flights and Dallas/Ft. Worth as well as Chicago’s O’Hare airports are among the largest in the country. No wonder the total number of delays and cancellations therefore is high for them. Nevertheless the FlightStats tools are a good indicator for any traveller who wants to dig a bit deeper as sometimes it does pay off to do your homework and avoid the notorious bottlenecks altogether.