How to Know How Long Your Flight Is *Actually* Delayed

When a flight is delayed, it’s typically for a good reason. Further, according to God Save the Points‘ Gilbert Ott, there are also a few ways of knowing how long you’ll actually be waiting. As Ott notes, airlines always downplay delays because “giving shorter delay estimates helps to get passengers to a place where the airline is in control — airside.” Basically, they want you to have to wait on them, not vice versa.

FlightRadar24 lets you view flight info based on specific aircrafts, so if you enter your flight number then hit “aircraft info,” you can actually see how long that aircraft has before it reaches you (assuming, of course, that it’s flying in from someplace elsewhere). Factor the amount of time it takes for the aircraft to be cleaned between flights and long it takes to board (Ott says 20 to 30 minutes, typically), and you’ll have a loose idea of when you might take off.

It is worth noting, though, that this is merely a tip from a seasoned traveler, not a directive from an airline. In other words: use it at your leisure but not to incite hysteria at your gate. Check out Ott’s full breakdown of FlightRadar24 here.

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