FiveThirtyEight analyzed six million flights to deduce which airlines, routes, and airports are most likely to get you to your final destination on time. The site, run by statistician Nate Silver and his team of fellow number lovers, took delay data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to bring travelers the best option for their next trip.
According to Silver, the new tool “can tell you which airlines perform the best on which routes and which airports you should avoid if you can” – an incredibly useful tool when you realize that 6 million flights within the US alone required an extra 80 million minutes in delays.
How exactly does the program work? The rankings take into account a number of factors beyond what the government offers, including average flight time, typical time, time added, and target time as well.
Not everyone finds the innovative new program totally workable. Frank Catalano, a columnist with GeekWire, says that “delay averages are just that – averages” meaning that the program doesn’t necessarily inform passengers in a totally meaningful way. Bad airline management or bad weather may skew results in a way that isn’t necessarily indicative of the truth.
That being said, FiveThirtyEight is a fascinating experiment in data analysis which can be a great supplement or a look into a new route or airline before a trip. Catalano also adds that the program can be useful “if I was… getting conflicting advice, it could be a good additional reality check – even for the pathologically frequent flier.”
Check out the new program on fivethirtyeight.com and maybe you’ll cut down on the delays during your next trip.
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