How Late IS My Flight?
In an era where, despite the fact there are more domestic home ports, the majority of cruisers still fly to their domestic or international port of embarkation, flight connections become ever more important. Especially as our airports are more congested and some flights are routinely delayed by up to an hour or more. So how do you know if your connection is giving you enough time, or will your flight arrive before your ship leaves?
Of course, I always recommend flying in the day before your cruise. Not only does it mean your first day onboard the ship is more relaxed, you also dramatically increase your odds that you'll be onboard when your ship sails serenely out of port. I also recommend either making your own air arrangements or paying for custom air (deviation) if you purchase cruise line air. But it may not always be possible to add another day to your vacation. So you have to protect yourself.
FlightStats.com to the rescue! This amazing site is a wealth of information. For example, you can check flights you're considering for their overall on-time record, average amount of time they've been late, and most concerning, the latest they've ever been in arriving and frequency of cancellations. When you're trying to figure out flight connections, and whether or not you should choose an earlier first leg or later second leg, this tool is absolutely invaluable. I've changed my mind on flight combinations several times because of the data found here.
You can also track flights in real time - great when you're waiting to pick someone up at the airport. There's a weather overlay showing where there might be trouble elsewhere in the country which could affect your flight. There's even a mobile link so you can access the site from your web-enabled mobile phone or receive text alerts on your phone about your upcoming flights.
I'm not alone in my praise for this site. It's the darling of many travel columnists who use it for the definitive data on delays (regardless of what the FAA or the airlines are saying about flight tardiness improving). I like this tool so much, and feel it's so valuable, I've added their "widget" to the right sidebar on this blog page so you can come use it any time you want!