Earlier this year, we released our Historical Flight Status APIs to customers. This service offers the same rich details available from our regular Flight Status APIs, but for flights that have become too old to store, they “age out” from our Flight Status APIs. Historical Flight Status APIs give you access to historical flight information, including scheduled, estimated and actual departure/arrival times, equipment type, delay calculations, terminal, gate and baggage carousel.
Our historical data set is constantly updated as flights age out of the real-time data set, generally seven days after completion of a flight. The data that is stored represents the final updated status that we have for a given flight record. Today, we backfilled the data in our Historical Flight Status APIs to include flights back to 2006.
Making historical data as accurate and reliable as possible
Products, services and analysis based on flight status can only be as good as the data they’re sourced from. Investing in poor quality data will result in a second-rate product or inaccurate insights. That is why we take the verification of our data and reliability of our sources seriously.
There is no gold standard against which to measure data quality and there is no way to have perfectly accurate information. Luckily, we handle a high sampling rate, and we multisource data in order to ensure what we deliver is as accurate as possible. Of course, the further back you in time you go, the more challenging it becomes to provide a complete picture of what happened. Completing our historical backfill required us to cross-check data sources, weigh the trustworthiness of our sources, and apply our industry understanding to fill in the gaps.
After our work to ensure the highest quality flight status data, our Historical Flight Status APIs can support the following types of queries back to 2006:
- Historical Flight Status by Flight. This service returns a single historical flight status record starting with the creation of the flight status record and continuing through the final update.
- Historical Flight Status by Airport. This service returns all flights in or out of the specified airport for a given date and time period.
- Historical Flight Status by Route. This service returns up to five flights for a given airport-to-airport route, on a given date.
How can you use historical flight status data?
The best thing about a historical flight status API is that you can pull the data you need at any time and use it to fit your needs. In some cases, you might just need a record of historical data to answer key questions, and in other cases, you might want to manipulate and analyze the data to produce valuable insights.
You can use our APIs to answer questions such as:
- Was the flight on time?
- How long was the delay?
- Was it canceled?
- What were the departure or arrival gates and terminals?
- What type of plane was used on this flight?
Whether you work for an airline, an online travel agency, or some other service provider, there are a variety of use cases where historical information really comes in handy. Here are just a few examples of what you can accomplish:
1. Rely on a trusted source for verification
There are two key instances when getting flight status information from a trusted third party can prevent a lot of headaches: when a traveler makes a claim for a refund from an airline or when someone is conducting on-time performance tracking. In the case of a traveler making a claim, we don’t provide historical data to the traveler. Instead, we provide the historical data to airlines or insurance companies.
In any case, when an airline makes a statement about their own operations, they’re often met with skepticism. With all due respect to airlines, many people are distrusting by nature and often doubt that airlines will report accurate information. Pulling historical data from a third party helps remove that skepticism because we have no interest in the situation at hand. Both airlines and their customers can trust that we will report an accurate, reliable record of flight status information. This is especially useful to airlines that want to make on-time performance guarantees to their corporate customers or tout their impressive on-time performance records in marketing materials.
2. Ensure the quality of your application service
If you’re delivering flight status information, it always helps to see what data you had and when. You can use Historical Flight Status APIs to verify and ensure your service quality or troubleshoot your software. Sometimes it’s smart to have a historical record of the flight status updates you send out to see if there was an impact on service due to lack of coverage or faulty technology.
Additionally, you can keep a log of old flights in your applications that will repopulate if a customer switches or upgrades their app. Not only will you have access to the information you deliver, but also your users will have a record of the flights they checked the status for.
3. Conduct competitive analysis
One of the reasons we are able to promise a certain degree of data quality is the legitimacy of our sources for flight status data. We have access to a great deal of direct data feeds from airlines, which ensures that the information we provide is in line with what those airlines report about their own operations. It also allows our customers to compare airline performance and reassures that they’re accessing an accurate depiction of those airlines.
If you work for an airline, this means you can have a view into the historical performance of your competitors. You’ll be able to gauge your performance against them and then make strategic decisions about your business. This level of insight would certainly help you gain an edge over the competition.
4. Power and test your predictive analytics
Historical data is important because it drives business intelligence and companies can use the data to power their own analytics solutions. This is especially useful in an industry like aviation where there are high fixed costs and high operating costs. Innovative use of historical data combined with analytics can reveal crucial insights necessary for identifying emerging trends, making strategic business decisions and ultimately boosting customer satisfaction.
If you decide to develop your own predictive algorithm, then you’re going to need a reliable way of testing your predictions. With access to Historical Flight Status APIs, you can apply your algorithm to a historical record to see if you would have made an accurate prediction. There is a lot you can learn and verify from historical data.
Get started right now
Of course, there are many ways to use historical data, perhaps ways we haven’t even thought of. We decided to provide a historical view of flight status to empower you with the data you need to create your own innovations and find solutions to your biggest problems. If you’re ready to start using Historical Flight Status APIs to support your business and answer critical questions, visit our developer center to get started. If you have additional questions, please contact a FlightStats sales representative.