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Why you should always check your flight status

My mom recently spent the week with us in Colorado for Christmas. Being the good son that I am, I purchased her airline tickets (using miles, of course!) Earlier this year, I found one-way MileagePlus Saver Award (12,500 miles), which I considered to be a good deal considering travel was for the day after Christmas.

On the day of her departure, I wanted to check the flight status before I headed up the mountain for a few hours of snowboarding before I took her to the airport.

One thing that I like about is the ability to easily determine “Where is this aircraft coming from?”

Where is Plane Coming From

At the bottom of the “Flight Status” page on, you can click on the link to see where this particular aircraft is coming from.

Flights in and out of the Eagle County Regional Airport (airport code EGE) can be delay-prone in the winter. Pilots flying here have to have special certifications and weather can adversely affect on-time performance.

I diligently checked where my mom’s plane was coming from. By working my way back on, I discovered that the plane for my mom’s flight started the day in Minneapolis (MSP), then went to Chicago/O’Hare (ORD), then to Denver (DEN), and then to Eagle/Vail (EGE), where it would return to Denver.

At first things looked good, until I realized that the ORD-DEN segment was already showing a 2+ hour delay. Not good. In my experience, no airline is so efficient that they can make up a 2+ hour delay within a few hours.

So I called United to see if they could rebook my mom on a later flight out of EGE since there was no way her 1-hour connection in Denver would be sufficient in light of the delay. I spoke with a very nice and professional agent that surprisingly could not confirm that there would be a delay.

To be fair, the EGE-DEN flight segment was showing as on-time with a 12:51 p.m. departure. The inbound flight from DEN, however, was showing a 45-minute delay with an arrival into EGE at 12:48 p.m. I was pretty sure that United would not be able to turn-around the Airbus A320 plane in 3 minutes. Fortunately, the agent agreed and offered to rebook my mom on a later flight out of Eagle to Denver, and to her final destination of Seattle.

It is a good thing that we didn’t believe‘s flight status of her original flight! Here’s how it ultimately played out:

Scheduled times.

The scheduled departure and arrival times.


The original flight’s (UA 475) actual departure time.

Moral of the story? Always check your flight status, and if possible, check the status of the inbound aircraft!

Do you do anything special to monitor your flight status on the day of travel?

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