Don’t use Google to check flight status

My mom was in the town for the past few days. She got a call last night saying her flight was cancelled. I jumped on Google and searched for her flight. It said:

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And at the exact same moment, the United website said it was cancelled:

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I called United and had her rebooked on another flight out of LGA. I asked the guy for the flight number and looked it up in Google to see the details. It said:

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“Wait, that’s not where she’s going,” I told the guy. On the United website, the correct info showed up:

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Ok, I know this information isn’t owned by Google, it comes from flightstats.com. But by enabling these quick searches, Google is implying that this date is accurate. The information is actually completely wrong and could really mess you up your travel. Beware. Double check the info with the source, not some middle man.

8 comments

  1. We are looking into what went wrong with that particular flight. FlightStats has multiple data source we use to determine the status of the flight. In this case we received errors from 2 different data sources so we were not able to pick up the cancellation. We are looking into what caused the errors. In some cases, we report data sooner and more accurately than the airline. But we are not perfect, so as always its best to check multiple sources.

  2. Using multiple sources is always good advice. In general, for flight status I tend to go straight to the horses mouth and check the airline’s site.

  3. @Alvaro: i’m definitely not saying Google is breaking any laws or doing anything malicious (and in fact, as i said, the incorrect data actually came from flightstats.com, not google). My point is more that while Google is the most convenient way to get flight status, it’s not always accurate. So you really should check with the source.<div><br></div><div>If Google gave me bad info when I checked the weather, or movie times, or any of the other nifty things they do from the single search box, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. But incorrect flight info is actually pretty bad and could&nbsp;seriously&nbsp;mess up your travels.<div><br></div><div>Besides, isn’t Google search still in beta? That means I can’t hold them accountable…<br><div><div></div></div></div></div>

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