BILLING DISCREPANCY: API kept alive but would not serve data


I have a billing inquiry regarding our account and was directed to this forum. Our website in question could not pull any flight data from the flightxml api from roughly the end of December 2017 until July 16 2018 due to an expired credit card on file. However, I updated the payment method Monday and recieved a bill this week for activity from December through March 1 2018.

Seems awfully questionable that you would keep the API active and responding to requests but would not serve the data, resulting in an error message on the website, and still CHARGE ME for that. At the very least i would have expected someone to INFORM ME that even though the flight data was not actively being displayed, you were still billing my client.

Had I, or my client, been aware that you were charging us the entire time - when the website was not able to display any flight data from Flightaware, we would have had to shut off the api or would have responded differently. Would you please look at this closer and get back to me.

Please get back to me ASAP.


It looks like the initial warning to update billing information and avoid service interruption was sent on Jan 19th 2018 to the email on file with your account. On March 1 2018 the API key was disabled due to non-payment. Until then queries functioned normally and data was sent. After they key was disabled the service returned HTTP 401: Authorization Required responses and no charges were logged.

FlightXML is charged by the “query”, not the result. Even if no results are returned the server had to perform a lookup to determine this. If the query results in an error this is sent in place of the result.


Thanks for a quick reply dogrock,

Yes, we were aware that the credit card on file had expired. However, it was difficult to get the client to update the account with a new credit card. So we went months until we finally updated the payment method on Monday of this week. At which point the flight information data started displaying on the page almost immediately.

However, and this is my key point, I would disagree with your statement about it functioning normally. From early January until Monday of this week we were receiving an ERROR MESSAGE on the page where the flight data information was supposed to be. It was NOT functioning normally, it hasn’t functioned normally since as far back as December possibly. Data was not being sent to the client’s webpage other than said error message. As such neither I nor our client were under the impression that charges were still accumulating in the background since the service was not providing any data to the website. I had contacted FlightAware on several occasions to find out what needed to be done to return this to a functioning level and AT NO TIME did anyone inform us that even while no flight data was being sent/displayed on our website that you were still charging for every time the API was being hit. I’ve been disappointed thus far in your willingness to understand our point of view and work with us on this matter. Hopefully explaining this situation will help.