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My current flight has been delayed 9 hours and the plane is nowhere in sight. The airline gives no information besides pushing back the departure date every few hours.

Is there an easy way to determine which flight should be arriving that's delayed so long?

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You might be able to work out where the plane that was supposed to operate your service is, but that won't help if they've decided to swap to another aircraft due to a delay... –  Gagravarr Mar 20 at 11:26
    
Sorry about the situation, and hope your flight will arrive soon :) Did you try the flight number? –  Ayesh K Mar 20 at 11:30

3 Answers 3

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Flightradar24 allows you to track a plane by it's registration number. You should be able to look up the flight number, and if there is an aircraft assigned to that flight, you should be able to track the previous assignments by the tail number.

enter image description here

This is the screenshot for N583NW which is scheduled to go from Detroit to Fort Lauderdale (DL2002) at 13:15, but is 10 minutes delayed.

We can see the flight previous to this was Orlando to Detroit (DL2460), which actually landed ahead of schedule.

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Great tool! Thanks for introducing me to it! –  dayuloli Mar 20 at 16:05

Look up your flight on FlightAware. When you find it, in the table where it says "Status", there should be a link that says "Track inbound flight." Clicking that shows you all of the tracking information for the previous flight on that plane, including a map with its current location if it's in flight. Note that not as much information will be available for flights outside of their primary coverage area, which is the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, the U.K., Australia, and France. Note that this might not help you in the case that the airline has decided to switch to a different aircraft.

FlightAware.com

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This seems a little simpler than the Flightradar24 way, as there is a link right there on the screen! –  Dwev Mar 20 at 21:42

Flight Stats can be helpful, too. If you register you can click through to Event Timeline, where most airlines will post the assigned tail number. You can also see if the tail number changes which is really helpful during protracted delays.

Here is a flight that got redirected today to SJC (San Jose, CA) from SFO (San Francisco, CA), probably because of the pretty stormy weather going on here today. From the timeline, it seems like it was redirected before it left LAX.

http://www.flightstats.com/go/FlightStatus/flightStatusByFlightExtendedDetails.do?id=355542788&airlineCode=AA&flightNumber=209

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