What US airline waits the longest to announce delays? Stuck at ATL again last night

The Rapid Traveler has little experience of US airlines beyond Delta (and the former Northwest). Northwest seemed pretty good about updating flight status as soon as a delay hit, but Delta, horrible. The past year he has frequently been on the return side of the two most delayed flights in the country, traveling Atlanta to Newark on Thursday or Friday evenings.  Even when delays seem assured, Delta almost never announces them more than two hours before departure. Yesterday he checked Delta’s website at 4:00 pm for his 6:05 pm departure and it showed on time. He was rushing from the office and carelessly did not check the inbound planes, though those are not a guaranteed indicator at a major hub. By the time he was dropping off his rental car he received the familiar one-ring missed call from Delta’s Diamond line that his flight was delayed 90 minutes. This has happened to him over and over with Delta across the world. Darn frustrating.

Is The Rapid Traveler just unlucky with Delta or is this what everyone experiences? What US airlines are better at this?

When possible it seems three-hour advance notice is at least enough time to change plans, schedule another meeting, stop en route for dinner, etc.

Are 3rd-party websites like FlightStats, FlightView and others more accurate than the airlines’ own websites, or just more comprehensive/user-friendly? The Rapid Traveler is still new at playing domestic US road warrior so many of these tools are new to him. Living in China was more straightforward: no resource had good flight status information!

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  • To tell you the truth, as much I as I like most of the Delta service experience, delay notification is not one of their strong suits. My delta.com profile is setup to receive such notifications, but I’ve NEVER had one….. and yes, I’ve had a few delayed flights.