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Today’s post deals with airfare and airports and is more of a beginner-style post for the casual traveler.  Many of you who are more frequent travelers probably already know this, so you can go ahead and just click away before you yell at me for writing a “clickbait” headline with “obvious” advice 🙂

If you travel with any deal of frequency, you are probably familiar with the situation of showing up to the airport several hours early, only to find out that your flight is going to be delayed.

[Help! I’m wasting DAYS of my life in airports!]

Now if you have any of the premium credit cards that give Priority Pass or any other airport lounge access, the pain is ameliorated a bit since you typically have access to more comfortable seating, free / better wi-fi, and snacks and drinks.  I mean at some airports you can have a free steak dinner every hour or two while you wait!

The #1 trick to tell if your flight is going to be delayed

The #1 trick I use to tell if my flight is going to be delayed is checking where your inbound aircraft is.  I use Flightaware.com for this (not an affiliate link).  Just pull up your flight, and click on the “Where is my aircraft now” link at the top.  Here’s an example of the current flight I am waiting for (in The Club CVG)

My flight is scheduled to board at 9:50 and depart at 10:20.  Yet, as I sit here at 9:38 a.m. at the time of this writing, I can click on the “Where is my plane now?” link, which tells me

My plane left Baltimore on time but is scheduled to arrive in CVG 25 minutes late, at 10:10 a.m.  So if that plane arrives at 10:10, there is no way they’re going to be boarding it for MY flight at 9:50!

How to see past airline trickery

The part that irritates me the most is that most airlines do not actually put any delay notice up until well past the time that it is obvious to just about everyone that the flight is going to be delayed.  Put another way, airlines seem to cling to the belief that just possibly, everything will go right, time will stand still, and they still might put this flight out ontime until the absolute last possible second.

Here’s an example from a recent flight I had on Frontier from Denver to Cincinnati.  The flight was scheduled to leave at 9:35a.m. and here’s a picture that I took of the boarding area at 9:24 a.m.

Note that this is 11 minutes before the flight is scheduled to depart and not only have they not started boarding, THE INCOMING AIRCRAFT IS NOT EVEN HERE!?!?!?  There is ZERO chance that this flight is departing at 9:35, yet Frontier still clings to the this fallacy, misleading passengers

Finally, at 9:33 a.m. (2 minutes before the scheduled departure), they update the sign

For the record, it ended up departing at 10:11 a.m.

I hope this trick will help you but make sure to double check with the airport / gate / other source – I’d hate to rely 100% on this advice and find that they’ve swapped out aircrafts or in some other way rearranged the schedule to have you miss your flight

Readers – have you noticed that airlines don’t like to update their posted times?  Have you used the “where is my plane now?” trick?

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