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Effects of pax armed with FlightRadar24

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Effects of pax armed with FlightRadar24

Old 4th Jul 2022, 21:16
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Effects of pax armed with FlightRadar24

In ye olden days, what the dispatcher or gate agent said was the only source of info that pax had on delays or when "their" aircraft would turn up to take pax to their destination

I'm finding that not only is FR24 free and available to everyone, but increasing number of pax have it on their phones and are very ready to use it. Not just avgeeks and spotters, but large numbers of relatively ordinary people. If there's 150 people waiting to fly home from Mallorca, and one person tells a few people "ignore the screens, information shown is b*ll*x, we actually have a 3 hour delay, not just 1 hour", the gossip mill can sometimes spread this info pretty quickly.

Do handling / gate staff dealing with delayed flights regularly get a "I know better than you" response ? Have airports or airlines been forced to improve their delay reporting because FR24 has meant pax now have a (fairly) reliable but independent source of info ?

I know that in very remote areas, FR24 info is less good (or unavailable), but in areas with many flights, population density is usually high and FR24 coverage is good. I know also that some airlines, eg Easyjet, include, or used to, a mini FR24 in their app.

Note... I'm not asking people to rate the quality of FR24 info... but instead asking about how common it is for enough pax on a delayed flight to have FR24 info that this has an effect, and what the effects of this independent info source has on gate staff and other pax-facing airline/airport staff ?

Last edited by davidjohnson6; 4th Jul 2022 at 21:29.
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Old 4th Jul 2022, 21:48
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I have used it a couple of times talking to the folks at the gate. Horrendous weather at Larnarca that we were due to fly from on BA. We watched the inbound BA flight hold over Paphos and then land there. We spoke to the gate agents (we were in uniform). They spouted the usual "oh they'll be here soon". To which we showed them FR24 "no they won't. They've just landed at Paphos". "oh". Any way, they were not surprised when the call came through that we all had to bus to Paphos and airline from there.
I use it often when airlining to see if the flight will depart on time.
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Old 4th Jul 2022, 22:02
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I have used FR24 regularly to check actual flight status -though Flight Aware is also good - but it's also interesting to look up the departures board at the airport where your flight is originating. In any case, planning your time if your flight is delayed inbound does help with managing the frustration and helping reorganize your arrival plans such as advising your car rental company that you will be late in picking up your car or asking your relatives to delay leaving home to reduce their time and car parking fees when meeting you.
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 06:30
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I suspect the instance of FR24 usage among PPRuNers is probably at least an order of magnitude higher than among the general flying public, so maybe not the best forum to base a generalisation on.
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 07:39
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Well about half my neighbours, who are all regular travelers, have it and they can't tell a 737 from a DC-8

People crave accurate information and as everyone knows the average airline is as honest as a UK MP...............................
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 08:06
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Some years ago I checked in at EGHH for a flight to Turkey. After check in I was then advised that there would be a 5 hour delay and I was quite annoyed because, had I known about that delay before check in, I could easily have gone home for a couple of hours. The delay was caused by them "borrowing" the aircraft to pick up stranded passengers in the Canaries. If I had had FR24 in those days I wonder if I could have negotiated a return home on the basis that I could ensure that I was back at the airport before the aircraft was ready to take us to Turkey..
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 08:30
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I use Aerobrief FS as well. I look up the flight, see if there's any regulation imposed and then I can figure out how long the delay will be for the departure.
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 10:46
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It can be a good thing....like a couple of weeks ago in the departure lounge at FAO awaiting our slightly delayed (around 45mins) EZY flight to LGW, where I was able to advise some more elderly and concerned pax that I could "see" where the inbound was and that it would be here soon.

Lightningmaps was good that day also, as I could see a lot of activity over northern Spain, and sure enough we were treated to a lightshow (which the cabin crew dimmed the lights for - a first for me) about 1hr into the flight home.
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 11:39
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
Well about half my neighbours, who are all regular travelers, have it and they can't tell a 737 from a DC-8
...........................
Yep, same with many of our nearest, dearest and closest. Our eldest daughter, very much a non total aviation person, used it a few weeks ago to actually get a credible handle of timings of a flight when she (correctly) sensed she was being the run around by a certain Orange airline's ground staff.

You've often also got avid flightradar twitchers popping up on all sorts of very much non-aviation social media portals these days to announce that they've spotted another one "gone red"

Have to say on one or two memorable occasions when trying to work during mass disruption Flightradar had a much more accurate idea of where the inbound flight was than sources on the other end of the phone in airline ops... for example,: "No, actually G-XX.... is not where I am right now, standing at gate XXX, it actually appears to be over Lands End........."

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Old 5th Jul 2022, 14:28
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Wiggy
What did BA Flight Ops say to that or is it not printable 🙂 I also use Flight radar to check inbound flights and use the lightening maps both for work when surveying externally and for possible flight issues as southern Germany does pick up some quite large storm systems though tornadoes are rare thank goodness.

Cheers
Mr Mac
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 16:35
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Just returned from a trip where I used it and saw several other people using the same app so yes it is becoming a travel tool amongst regular flyers that is more reliable than departure boards in many cases. We just spent 30 hours travelling over 4 flights and could see that it was impossible to meet what the board said, flightradra24 was much more accurate. By the way if anyone sees a red suitcase and a green suitcase on their travels please could I have them back, thanks to Air Canada for losing them, How about inventing a tracker that goes in the bag alongside the flightradar24 app.
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 17:01
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I had a situation once when the wife and I were flying back from from Spain, as has already been said, there was one chap who pulled out his phone to use FR24 "The flight is running 2 hours late, ignore that message up there, we wont be leaving on time!" So about him and 10-15 others went off to the bar to pass the time.

Amusingly, the company we were flying with were having an aircraft swap. Our flight left on time and even landed early back in the UK.

OMAA

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Old 5th Jul 2022, 17:06
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My brother, not interested in aircraft other than for transport, uses one or another of these. I have certainly used it many times to check when to leave for the airport to collect folks, as well as when travelling myself. I have never spoken to gate staff about what I have read as the circumstance has not arisen. It may do so. One of my most frequent uses is to track family or friends who are travelling and reassure folks at either end of progress and safe arrival.

I agree that the departure/arrival boards of airports can be useful but they are often behind the times.

ps The best part of these services is being able to see which aircraft is allocated to your service - then see where it is on it's previous sector. This is particularly useful at the end of the day and you are going to be its last sector! In Europe it is not unusual to see that the machine has not yet even pushed back on it's way to you. Time to make phonecalls to those who are expecting you.

Last edited by PAXboy; 6th Jul 2022 at 01:54.
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 19:38
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It can be useful

A little before Covid I used to commute frequently via a well known UK regional airline. On a few occasions I was able to see that the last flight home was going to be very late, especially when it diverted to another airport on the way to us. At least I was able to phone my lift at the destination and ask them to delay by an hour! Clearly there is a chance that another aircraft will be used, but the chance of this happening with little delay (from experience) is limited.
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 22:14
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Also interesting is if you open Google maps and hold your phone to the window for a few seconds the gps will grab your position. If you have previously downloaded the maps for your route you will have a good picture of where you are.
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Old 5th Jul 2022, 22:58
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Originally Posted by GROUNDHOG View Post
Just returned from a trip where I used it and saw several other people using the same app so yes it is becoming a travel tool amongst regular flyers that is more reliable than departure boards in many cases. We just spent 30 hours travelling over 4 flights and could see that it was impossible to meet what the board said, flightradra24 was much more accurate. By the way if anyone sees a red suitcase and a green suitcase on their travels please could I have them back, thanks to Air Canada for losing them, How about inventing a tracker that goes in the bag alongside the flightradar24 app.
That's the Apple Airtag system. As long as someone with an iPhone is nearby, the location of that phone and rough distance to the Airtag will get sent to you. Not enough to say exactly where it is, but plenty to tell if it's near an airport and which one. They can be detected from inside most luggage. The Airtags are not expensive, but the cost of an iPhone to run the app to receive updates might be; but if a friend has one, perhaps they will help.
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Old 6th Jul 2022, 00:28
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As a retired pilot I use FR24 every flight as a PAX. Check the inbound flight when waiting at the terminal sometimes right to the gate (which can be more up to date than the gate on the Departure Board. And if the plane has inflight wifi I run it to monitor the flight progress and guess TOD, runway in use, etc.
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Old 6th Jul 2022, 02:59
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Last time I flew to the Scillies the weather was bad and the gate staff at Lands End were watching it to see what was happening, we were early, it was very quiet and I watched it with them.

”Nope, he’s gone around again, ok, that’s 3 I think, yep.. look, he’s on his way back..”

They knew what was happening before their phone rang!

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Old 6th Jul 2022, 06:34
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Originally Posted by Flyhighfirst View Post
Also interesting is if you open Google maps and hold your phone to the window for a few seconds the gps will grab your position. If you have previously downloaded the maps for your route you will have a good picture of where you are.
I've heard report that the 787's windows make that difficult, if not impossible - can anyone confirm ?
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Old 6th Jul 2022, 09:16
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I use FR24 to check on the progress of the inbound and thus possible delays outbound. However, bear in mind that if you are at one of the airline's home bases, or an airport where that airline has multiple flights in and out around the same time, OPS may well be planning an a/c swap which FR24 won't know about far in advance. It's always better to check in on time and stay relatively close to the gate in the event of last minute changes.
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