FlightAware Sneak Preview: Major Airline Enhancements

Good news!

FlightAware has been working behind the scenes for several months to enhance our flight tracking services by adding many new features that are important to airline travelers. We’re very excited and proud of all the changes and are inviting you to preview and beta test the new version of FlightAware here:


What’s new on the sneak preview site?
We have added arrival and departure times as well as flight status information for many major airlines at non-US airports.

We are starting to display terminals, gate assignments, and baggage claim carousel numbers information at most major airports around the world.

For most airline flights, you can now click on the “Scheduled” or “Actual/Estimated” column headers and view a list of all the times (gate pushback/takeoff/landing/averages/etc) that FlightAware has – up to 14 in many cases.

Instead of displaying “Scheduled / Not Yet Departed” until an airliner is airborne, we will now display “Taxiing (pushed from the gate X minutes ago)” for many airlines. Additionally, for supported flights, the “Status” row distinguishes between “Arrived” and “Landed” now; we will display taxi information upon landing.

Last summer, we began tracking (radar positions on a map) many flights in Western Europe. With these improvements, we are more than doubling the number of flights that we can show real-time positions for. Additionally, we now list aircraft types for European flights where previously we tracked the flight but lacked the equipment details and other flight/route/schedule specifics.

For many airline flights, we’ve reduced the 5-6 minute delay to less than a minute for takeoffs and landings (but not positions).

Last year, British Airways and Virgin began flying under flight identifiers that were not their flight number. For example, BAW11M instead of BAW287. This made the flights very difficult to track because there is no pattern to the renumbering and users tracking BAW287 would get no data. This is now fixed and we no longer use the alphanumeric assignments. You can only track the flight by the carrier and flight number now.

We added the ability to “Track inbound flight” for dozens of airlines (including United, Continental, Delta, Air Canada, ANA, and many more) so that you can track the specific aircraft that’s scheduled to operate your flight if it’s not yet at your origin. We’re adding several more airlines in the next couple months.

On airport activity pages, for both general aviation and airline flights, we’ll now show a much more accurate estimated departure/takeoff time rather than the scheduled/filed departure time.

We now display scheduled flights in the “Activity Log” for 36-48 hours in advance (previously 24).

Dozens of minor changes and improvements, such as: more international time zone support, better international IATA/ICAO support for airline and airport codes, improved airline search functionality, flight data formatting improvements on tracking pages, more streamlined display for mobile devices, supporting (+2) for flights that land two days later, improved duration calculator for airborne flights, and much more.

A few caveats …
On the “sneakpreview.flightaware.com” site, you will not see current squawks, photos, or airport delays. Additionally, logins/logouts are not synced to the main site, neither are profile changes or flight alerts (which will not work on sneakpreview).

Some flights are duplicating and we’re working on that – no need to report the bug.

The data on the sneakpreview site is only valid from May 18th, 2010 to present.

The sneakpreview site is a bit slower than the flightaware.com site because there is a smaller infrastructure behind it. The new improvements will be just as fast as the existing service when fully deployed.

Historical tracks and NEXRAD weather underlays on maps are not available on sneakpreview.

The availability of the sneakpreview site may come and go due to development or release activity.

What do you think?
Please let us know what you think of the new features and document any issues that you find in this thread on the discussion forums. FlightAware is intending to transition the sneakpreview technology to the flightaware.com site in the coming days.