How to Check If a Flight Will Arrive on Time
Anyone who has ever picked friends or family members up from the airport knows just how difficult it can be to perfectly time the pick-up. Security officers in the arrival lanes shuttle cars along that idle for more than a couple minutes and estimating how much time it will take passengers to get from baggage claim to curbside pick-up is tricky. Factor in potential flight delays, and it becomes an even more difficult task. Thankfully, there are a few ways to check if a flight is on time – which is helpful for those picking up passengers as well as for those traveling.
Watch flight trackers online
The easiest way to check on a flight status is to monitor it online. To do so, first gather pertinent information: Flight number, airline and departure date. Websites such as Flightview.com, Flightarrivals.com and Flightstats.com will track flights from several airlines.
Or, one can go directly to the airline’s website and use their flight tracker for up-to-date information on whether flights are delayed or on time. At Delta, for example, a flight tracker search can be done by either plugging in a flight number or the route, which includes the departure and arrival cities.
Individuals can also sign up for flight notifications from airlines as this has become a common service offered by major airlines. As an example, United will send text message or e-mails about flight statuses. Flight status updates will promptly notify individuals when a flight is delayed more than 20 minutes or there is a change in the status of the flight. These status updates do go to the e-mail address associated with the reservation. Additionally, flight reminders allow travelers to be notified on an hourly basis of the flight’s departure and arrival time. Of course it’s a good idea for travelers to communicate with those who are picking them up if delays occur as the frequent text message or e-mail updates are likely going directly to travelers.
Another option for those who are doing a passenger pick-up is to go inside to the airport and track flights on the monitors that are oftentimes near baggage claim. Again, it’s helpful to know the airline and the flight number.
Tracking flight delays
For those who want some more general information about flight delays, the Federal Aviation Administration has a map that monitors weather-related delays affecting airports throughout the country. The “Flight Delay Information – Air Traffic Control System Command Center” has five levels of delays. A green dot indicates delays are 15 minutes or less and a black dot denotes an airport is closed. A red dot, for example, translates to heavy delays, with taxi delays greater than 45 minutes and arrivals experiencing airborne holding delays more than 45 minutes.