FlightAware MiseryMap: How to track flight delays and cancellations

Flight cancellations and delays are such a frustratingly nettlesome problem at the moment, to the…

Flight cancellations and delays are such a frustratingly nettlesome problem at the moment, to the point that it feels tantamount to playing the slots whenever you buy a commercial airline ticket these days. You paid the money for the flight in advance, of course. This means the airline knows who all is booked on the flight that they need to staff. In fact, they usually know that months in advance. Yet fliers keep dealing with the same thing, over and over again:

Somehow, a drizzle in Nebraska apparently means your flight from Detroit to La Guardia gets delayed by 37 hours.

Indeed, hundreds more US flights were canceled on Monday, August 8, with no end to the madness in sight. Long story short: If you’re flying anytime soon? You really need to get familiar with one particular website if you haven’t already. It’s the FlightAware MiseryMap, and we’ll tell you all about it below.

FlightAware MiseryMap

FlightAware is the site that offers a comprehensive view of just how messed up air travel is in the US these days, breaking down where flight delays and cancellations are happening. As well as how many there are of each.

For example, as of the time of this writing on the afternoon of Monday, August 8? FlightAware shows that there have been almost 2,000 canceled flights today. Of those, 561 were flights within, into, or out of the US.

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As far as delays, so far today there have been 3,159 of those for flights within, into, or out of the US. You can also use the site to filter the data down to the individual airport level, using the airport’s 3-letter code. That can give you an even better sense of where the bottlenecks and breakdowns are happening.

FlightAware’s “MiseryMap.” Image source: FlightAware

Meanwhile, FlightAware also maintains a visualization of all this data that’s useful if you’re trying to understand what’s going on here. It’s the MiseryMap, which you can see above.

It shows you, among other things, where on-time flights are happening around the country. And also where there is attendant “misery” (in the form of cancellations and delays).

Flight cancellations today

Monday’s pileup of more cancellations and delays, by the way, comes on the heels of a weekend that amounted to another miserable stretch for fliers.

flight Delays And Cancellations
A canceled flight is seen on a departures board at Newark Liberty International Airport. Image source: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

On Saturday alone, there were 657 flight cancellations and 7,267 delays within, into or out of the United States. American and United both canceled 4% of their flights for the day, while Delta canceled 2%.

“I now need to over-hire just to keep the number (of employees) I need,” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes told the BBC. Seemingly pinning all this, in other words, on a staffing problem. “With COVID, we lost a lot of experienced people … [and] your attrition is much higher — you’re hiring people but then they’re leaving more quickly, so you then have to adjust your hiring plan.”

No wonder this industry makes you pay up on the front end for service that you may or may not receive, right?

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