A hotel reimbursement from American Airlines? Get it in writing

When John Thompson lands in Washington D.C., he discovers that he’s missed the last connecting flight home to Boston. A gate agent assures him not to worry. She will be put him on a flight the next morning and he will receive a hotel reimbursement from American Airlines. But will he?
Read more “A hotel reimbursement from American Airlines? Get it in writing”

WOW Air, where’s my compensation for that 14-hour delay?

After a 14-hour delay on WOW Air, Rachael Lopez thinks she’s entitled to some compensation. WOW disagrees. Who’s right? Read more “WOW Air, where’s my compensation for that 14-hour delay?”

How to get an airline to compensate you — even when it doesn’t have to

Sometimes, airlines do the right thing — no questions asked.

Gerrard Hattfield knows what that’s like. The entrepreneur was flying from Durban, South Africa, back to his home in Cape Town when thunderstorms delayed his Mango Airlines departure. After a two-hour wait, an airline representative approached him and did something that surprised him: She asked him if he was comfortable. Read more “How to get an airline to compensate you — even when it doesn’t have to”

New Web site predicts flight delays and cancellations

There are Web sites that predict air fares, like Farecast, and sites that offer a weather prognosis, like Weather.com. But how about air traffic delays? Well, now there’s a new site, Delaycast, that answers the question: “Will my flight be delayed?”

Delaycast uses a mathematical model to predict delays and cancellations, according to one of its founders, Rob Stevens. “In turns out that there are very clear, regular delay patterns that are somewhat predictable at every airport for every airline,” he told me. “And this is independent of weather or other traditional causes of delays – the system is simply overloaded.”

I checked my flight to Albuquerque tomorrow and found that there was a 57 percent chance of a departing on time, with the probability of a 9 minute delay and a 2 percent chance of a cancellation.

Delaycast is not meant to be used as a day-of-travel notification system, according to Stevens. “It is better used for advanced planning of a trip, and supports questions like, ‘Will I make that meeting on time?’” or, ‘Will I make my connection?’”

Instead of relying on 30-day trailing averages for a specific flight, as do some air fare prediction sites, Delaycast leans on an algorithm developed by Stevens and his team. That formula, he says, “is often more accurate for specific airport, airline, date and time selections.”

I think Delaycast is needed in today’s world of ever-present (and rising) airline delays. It would be great to see this application incorporated on one of the major online travel agency sites, to help customers make a more informed purchase.