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"Turning Flight Information Into Travel Intelligence"

by Jack Penning

Posted on August 31, 2006 at 5:16 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:45 PM

Flightstats Logo.gif

That's the motto of the new, Portland-based website, It takes the departure and arrival information for every single flight, every single day, and builds a comprehensive database showing which airlines, airports, and specific flights are most prone to delays.

Sure, the site does simple Flight Tracking and notification. But it also summarizes information never before available to the general traveler. In some cases, Flightstats has better information on airline operations than the airline executives themselves.

Perhaps, the most useful feature is Flightstats' Flight Rating. This search engine allows you to search any route, or any specific flight, to see how often it's late... and by how much. Before you book a ticket on another website, you can stop here to see how likely you are to be delayed on your chosen itinerary. If it doesn't look good, you can then switch to flights that are less frequently delayed.

Just for fun, I used the feature for flights between Portland and Las Vegas. It shows the best flight for on-time departure is Southwest 574. It's on-time 95% of the time. It's average delay is just 6-minutes... and it's longest delay in the last 60-days was 56-minutes. The same page also shows me the worst flight between PDX and Las Vegas is Alaska 608. It was on-time just 54% of the time. It's average delay was 38-minutes... with a long-delay of 315-minutes! Valuable information if you're booking a trip.

Flightstats also has current airport delays... but it doesn't just stop there. The site goes on to tell you exactly which flights might be affected.

If you're worried about the time you'll spend in line at security, Flightstats has Average Security Wait Times for any airport... based on the time of the day... and the day of the week. Here's the page for PDX.

Flightstats will prove itself to be a very valuable travel tool... put together by a team of just 11 people... working out of an office just a foul-ball away from PGE Park in Southwest Portland.