FlightCaster, a new San Francisco-based service, uses a patent-pending algorithm, that it says can predict more than 95 percent of delays to flight arrivals up to six hours in advance.
FlightCaster’s calculation involves comparing statistics from the past 10 years of flights with the most recent data relevant to a particular flight from the US National Weather Service, the FAA Air Traffic Control and FlightStats.com. FlightCaster will then display, as a percentage, the relative probabilities that a plane will be on time, delayed by less than an hour or delayed by more than an hour. Only a flight number is needed to use it, and the system—rather than trying to pin down a single estimated time of arrival—helps passengers make a personal decision about whether to travel to the airport, based on their own priorities.
Launched last month, FlightCaster is available for free online, or as an iPhone/Blackberry app (USD 9.99). The service currently only operates in the US, but international expansion is in the works. Also expect to see richer information about alternative travel options in future versions.