My Dad’s Delayed On-Time Silver Airways Flight

Have you ever seen an airline’s flight status page show completely wrong information? Well, I encountered this yesterday in a way that I had never seen before.

My dad’s Silver Airways flight showed a four hour delay

Yesterday I booked my dad a ticket on Silver Airways (which I have already reviewed) from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa for same day travel. The fare was reasonable and the schedule suited him, so I booked the ticket for him and then immediately sent him the mobile boarding pass.

The flight was supposed to leave at 4:30pm and arrive at 5:45pm, but when I sent him the mobile boarding pass, he correctly noted that the flight showed a 9:42pm arrival. Eh?

Silver Airways mobile boarding pass

It’s strange. I went to the Silver Airways flight status page, to see what was going on. Well, now everything made sense – the flight was over four hours late. and was now due to leave at 8:34 p.m. instead of 4:30 p.m. Rats!

Silver Airways Flight Status

I also checked ExpertFlyer and noticed that the “comments” section for the flight hinted at a similar delay, showing an 8:34pm departure and a 9:43pm arrival.

Flight Status ExpertFlyer

I told him the bad news, although luckily he hadn’t left for the airport yet. While Silver Airways and ExpertFlyer agree, something seemed a bit odd here, however:

  • I was following the Silver Airways planes coming and going to Fort Lauderdale, and all were more or less on time.
  • I found it strange that the flight status page shows the status in the past tense (“departure with delay” and “arrival with delay”), even though the flight had not yet departed
  • Other flight tracking sources, like Google (which uses data from Cirium) and Flightradar24 showed the flight was on time, and even showed a tail number for the plane, as the plane was on the ground in Fort Lauderdale at the right time
  • Based on this, my only theory was that the delay was due to the crew and they knew they could only get a pilot or flight attendant at a certain time.
  • I contacted Silver Airways and they had no information beyond what the flight status page showed
Flightradar24 Flight Status
Google flight status

So, what happened ?

I didn’t want my dad to be sitting in the Fort Lauderdale airport for more than four hours, so I first told him to stay put until there was another update. Nothing has changed on the flight status by any source but somehow my gut just said something was wrong with the flight status and the flight might just run on time.

I noticed that the flight the night before had operated with the revised schedule that the Silver Airways flight status suggested should apply to that flight. Did someone at Silver Airways accidentally update the status to the wrong date?

I apologized in advance to my dad in case I was wrong, because sitting in the Fort Lauderdale airport for four hours really isn’t a price.

So he showed up at the airport at 3:45 p.m. and went through security at 4 p.m. Moments later, the flight boarded and was operating as scheduled. He even arrived in Tampa a few minutes early.

Silver Airways Flight Status

I can’t help wondering how people could have missed the flight due to this incorrect flight status, or what caused it in the first place.

At the end of the line

Typically, when an airline publishes a flight delay, you can be sure it is accurate. Now airlines can sometimes change their minds and move a flight forward if conditions change. However, in all my years of flying, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an airline display the wrong flight status.

My dad’s Silver Airways flight showed a four hour delay on the Silver Airways website, but ended up running on time. My best guess is that somehow the previous day’s flight schedule was loaded for his flight. I don’t know how it actually happened, though…

What would you have done in this situation?

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