Notifications on Arrival - actualarrivaltime value not right



We use FlightXML API to track certain charter flights which by their nature don’t have fixed routes but can be tracked fine on your consumer site. For our preliminary work with notifications via API we’ve noticed that typically for our specific charter flights, the arrival event postback typically has the actualarrivaltime set to the same value as actualdeparturetime. In the long_desc string the arrival time seems to show as the original filed arrival time. Arrival events for more regularly scheduled flights (for instance SWA flights) seem to post back with the arrival time displayed on the consumer site. On the consumer site and via API the correct actualarrivaltime can be obtained for our flights as well (presumably a few minutes later than when notification as posted). What’s the deal - is it a timing thing? Can you delay sending the arrival notification until the API has a reasonable value in it based on actualdeparturetime? What is with mixing of UTC and GMT descriptor in long_desc?


{“long_desc”:“Era Alaska #8040 arrived at Anchorage Intl (PANC) at 20:51 UTC from PAOT/OTZ (Ralph Wien Memorial)”,“short_desc”:“ERR8040 arrived at PANC from PAOT/OTZ”,“summary”:“ERR8040 arrived at PANC from PAOT/OTZ”,“eventcode”:“arrival”,“alert_id”:5861478,“flight”:{“ident”:“ERR8040”,“aircrafttype”:“DH8A”,“origin”:“PAOT”,“destination”:“PANC”,“filed_ete”:“02:36:00”,“route”:“OTZ J117 GAL TAGER6”,“faFlightID”:“ERR8040-1390999423-106-0”,“filed_altitude”:230,“filed_airspeed_kts”:250,“filed_time”:1390999417,“filed_departuretime”:1391020200,“estimatedarrivaltime”:1391028679,“actualarrivaltime”:1391020680,“actualdeparturetime”:1391020680,“estimated_blockin_time”:0,“filed_blockin_time”:0,“actual_blockin_time”:0,“estimated_blockout_time”:0,“filed_blockout_time”:0,“actual_blockout_time”:0,“filed_arrivaltime”:1391029560}}

{“long_desc”:“Era Alaska #8040 arrived at Ralph Wien Memorial (PAOT/OTZ) at 17:25 GMT from PANC (Anchorage Intl)”,“short_desc”:“ERR8040 arrived at PAOT/OTZ from PANC”,“summary”:“ERR8040 arrived at PAOT/OTZ from PANC”,“eventcode”:“arrival”,“alert_id”:5861478,“flight”:{“ident”:“ERR8040”,“aircrafttype”:“DH8A”,“origin”:“PANC”,“destination”:“PAOT”,“filed_ete”:“01:45:00”,“route”:“TED J133 GAL J117 OTZ”,“faFlightID”:“ERR8040-1390999387-77-0”,“filed_altitude”:240,“filed_airspeed_kts”:250,“filed_time”:1390999364,“filed_departuretime”:1391010300,“estimatedarrivaltime”:1391016308,“actualarrivaltime”:1391010360,“actualdeparturetime”:1391010360,“estimated_blockin_time”:0,“filed_blockin_time”:0,“actual_blockin_time”:0,“estimated_blockout_time”:0,“filed_blockout_time”:0,“actual_blockout_time”:0,“filed_arrivaltime”:1391016600}}

{“long_desc”:“Era Alaska #8040 arrived at Anchorage Intl (PANC) at 22:35 GMT from PAOT/OTZ (Ralph Wien Memorial)”,“short_desc”:“ERR8040 arrived at PANC from PAOT/OTZ”,“summary”:“ERR8040 arrived at PANC from PAOT/OTZ”,“eventcode”:“arrival”,“alert_id”:5861478,“flight”:{“ident”:“ERR8040”,“aircrafttype”:“DH8A”,“origin”:“PAOT”,“destination”:“PANC”,“filed_ete”:“02:23:00”,“route”:“OTZ J117 GAL TAGER6”,“faFlightID”:“ERR8040-1390926008-213-0”,“filed_altitude”:230,“filed_airspeed_kts”:250,“filed_time”:1390925991,“filed_departuretime”:1390941900,“estimatedarrivaltime”:1390948539,“actualarrivaltime”:1390939920,“actualdeparturetime”:1390939920,“estimated_blockin_time”:0,“filed_blockin_time”:0,“actual_blockin_time”:0,“estimated_blockout_time”:0,“filed_blockout_time”:0,“actual_blockout_time”:0,“filed_arrivaltime”:1390950480}}


We’ve deployed a change that might reduce the number of pushed notifications that you get where the actualarrivaltime=actualdeparturetime. Normally, that condition indicates that we lack insufficient tracking data to accurately classify the flight as having definitely arrived (the public website labels this condition as “result unknown”). However, for at least some of those Era Alaska flights we had previously declared them as “result unknown” but an actual arrival time is later received.

I’m not yet clear why the timezone was changing between GMT and UTC for some of those airports. That could just be a side-effect of the other issue that you pointed out with the timezones being missing for many Alaskan airports, and may be improved now.


Note - we are still getting many arrival alerts with actualarrivaltime equal to actualdeparturetime. We tend to bundle up these as emails and re-distribute when they come in. We probably need to change our message to not post the actualarrivaltime if it the same as the actualdeparturetime.

The funny thing is - if we wait a few minutes or more (truthfully we’re uncertain about how long to wait) after the arrival alert comes in we can find a valid arrival time populated via the Flight XML interface and retrieving by the FlightID (or using the FlightAware UI). However by that time the emails are already out the door. Seems to be a timing issue - i.e the arrival alert goes out slightly before the system catches up with final data population. I’d attribute this to remote Alaskan airports, but many of these arrivals are at PANC which is not. The FlightAware UI does not seem to ever be in a transitory state - it either has actualarrivaltime as estimatedarrivaltime or Null or the actualarrivaltime.

Yesterdays arrival JSON:
{“long_desc”:“Ravn Alaska #8040 arrived at Ralph Wien Memorial (PAOT/OTZ) at 10:50 AKST from PANC (Anchorage Intl)”,“short_desc”:“RVF8040 arrived at PAOT/OTZ from PANC”,“summary”:“RVF8040 arrived at PAOT/OTZ from PANC”,“eventcode”:“arrival”,“alert_id”:7931070,“flight”:{“ident”:“RVF8040”,“aircrafttype”:“DH8A”,“origin”:“PANC”,“destination”:“PAOT”,“filed_ete”:“02:12:00”,“route”:“TED J111 MCG J117 OTZ”,“faFlightID”:“RVF8040-1421067179-198-0”,“filed_altitude”:240,“filed_airspeed_kts”:250,“filed_time”:1421067167,“filed_departuretime”:1421082000,“estimatedarrivaltime”:1421092229,“actualarrivaltime”:1421085060,“actualdeparturetime”:1421085060,“estimated_blockin_time”:0,“filed_blockin_time”:0,“actual_blockin_time”:0,“estimated_blockout_time”:0,“filed_blockout_time”:0,“actual_blockout_time”:0,“filed_arrivaltime”:1421089920}}

Other flights since March 2014 (30 out of 83 total had arrival time set the same as departure time):
RVF8040-1421067179-198-0 RVF8040 1/12/2015 5:51:00 PM PANC PAOT
RVF8043-1415371686-50-0 RVF8043 11/7/2014 8:48:00 PM PAOT PANC
RVF8040-1415371527-389-0 RVF8040 11/7/2014 4:02:00 PM PANC PAOT
RVF8041-1415303158-386-0 RVF8041 11/6/2014 8:15:00 PM PPIZ PANC
RVF8041-1415106551-124-0 RVF8041 11/4/2014 7:58:00 PM PABR PANC
RVF8040-1415017319-136-0 RVF8040 11/3/2014 7:11:00 PM PABR PANC
RVF8040-1415017277-328-0 RVF8040 11/3/2014 4:03:00 PM PANC PABR
RVF8040-1412608437-246-0 RVF8040 10/6/2014 3:39:00 PM PANC PABR
RVF8040-1407383169-259-0 RVF8040 8/7/2014 5:12:00 AM PAWI PANC
RVF8040-1407373321-116-0 RVF8040 8/7/2014 1:08:00 AM PANC PABR
RVF8040-1407160497-57-0 RVF8040 8/4/2014 3:26:00 PM PANC PAOT
RVF8040-1405000509-172-0 RVF8040 7/10/2014 8:26:00 PM PAOT PANC
PEN8051-1404254241-178-0 PEN8051 7/1/2014 10:38:55 PM PAWI PABR
PEN8050-1404224152-151-0 PEN8050 7/1/2014 5:07:00 PM PANC PABR
PEN8050-1404139267-157-0 PEN8050 6/30/2014 4:20:00 PM PANC PABR
PEN8050-1403051982-238-0 PEN8050 6/18/2014 1:26:00 AM PAUN PAWI
PEN8050-1402962555-302-0 PEN8050 6/17/2014 2:55:03 AM PAWI PANC
ERR8041-1397133327-84-0 ERR8041 4/10/2014 6:08:12 PM PAGM PAOM
ERR8040-1397133306-165-0 ERR8040 4/10/2014 4:39:00 PM PAOM PAGM
ERR8040-1397133267-43-0 ERR8040 4/10/2014 1:58:00 PM PANC PAOM
ERR8041-1397046570-70-0 ERR8041 4/9/2014 6:24:00 PM PAGM PAOM
ERR8040-1397063382-170-0 ERR8040 4/9/2014 5:10:00 PM PAOM PAGM
ERR8040-1397046490-156-2 ERR8040 4/9/2014 2:18:43 PM PANC PAOM
ERR8040-1396879200-33-0 ERR8040 4/7/2014 9:34:00 PM PAOT PANC
ERR8040-1396897101-499-0 ERR8040 4/7/2014 4:11:00 PM PANC PADE
ERR8040-1396704457-849-0 ERR8040 4/5/2014 5:48:00 PM PAPO PANC
ERR8040-1396618707-352-0 ERR8040 4/4/2014 6:02:00 PM PAPO PANC
ERR8040-1396618630-87-0 ERR8040 4/4/2014 2:11:00 PM PANC PAOT
ERR8040-1396438733-97-1 ERR8040 4/2/2014 7:50:00 PM PABR PAWI
ERR8040-1396438655-91-0 ERR8040 4/2/2014 2:26:00 PM PANC PAFA


The significance of flights with actualarrivaltime==actualdeparturetime is actually a special case of flights that we have detected a departure, but have not received enough criteria to trigger an arrival but enough time has passed beyond its expected arrival time and we are not receiving position information for it anymore.

Our website handles such flights by displaying the “Status” as “Flight result unknown”.

What is likely happening is that we give up waiting for confirmation that the flight has arrived, and trigger the “Flight result unknown” arrival condition. However, a few minutes later the airline finally delivers us information saying that it actually did arrive and updates the flight with the correct arrival time.


OK - roger that. Confirmed by observing the FlightAware UI that appears to confirm this. We can try working a solution on our end. Suggest not sending out an actualarrivaltime on arrival alert if it is not known when sending the alert.