Most Websites Can't Track Your Flight
When you see this, only one website can get you accurate, updated info.
Tracking your flight online is hardly news, but the Wall Street Journal recently took the time to test out all those services. Sadly, what they found wasn't any more impressive than the latest on-time numbers we've been crying over.
For significantly delayed flights--or those that push back from the gate but get stuck on the taxiway--most online services don't cut it. The Journal found a tough flight to track (AirTran 1699, that took off very late on Wednesday) and plugged it into some sites to see what happened:
FlightView.com...was less than helpful: It listed the flight's status as "Call Airline"...FlyteComm.com knew something wasn't quite right: It listed the flight's current altitude as zero and its current speed as zero, but still showed it arriving on-time. FlightArrivals.com correctly figured out that the plane had not yet departed...FlightAware.com and FlightExplorer.com couldn't find the flight.
So where should we turn for answers?
The most useful source of more information was at FlightStats.com, which collects data from airlines, airports and the Federal Aviation Administration and sends frequent updates.
We'd have to agree because we adore FlightStats both for on-the-road info and planning purposes. One of our fave things about it is historical data, which helps when picking flights. If it's down to one or two flights from our origin to destination--and they're about the same price--we'll almost always take the one with the higher percentage of on-time arrivals.