General App Questions
Q: What does FAAwait do?
A: FAAwait accesses a real-time airport status file maintained by the FAA. This allows the application to provide up-to-the-minute airport conditions at all major U.S. (and some Canadian) airports.
Q: Will FAAwait tell me if my flight is delayed?
A: No. FAAwait only provides general airport delay conditions. Only the airlines can provide status information on their flights. However, by knowing the real-time airport status you may be able to get a sense of any potential delays before your airline actually updates its schedule.
Q: Will FAAwait show delays at airports outside of the U.S.?
A: Generally no, however the FAA data source does provide limited information for some Canadian airports.
Q: What are the different categories of delays?
A: Ground stops are directives that keep flights headed for a particular airport from leaving their originating airport. Ground delays are similar to ground stops, but usually only delay departures instead of halting them completely. Departure delays are encountered by flights leaving a particular airport. Arrival delays are encountered by flights going to a particular airport. Note that airports may have several categories of delays in effect at the same time.
Q: Why does FAAwait say "No delays reported"? Is something wrong with my internet connection?
A: If there are no delays reported by the FAA for any U.S. airports, you will see "No delays reported" in the airport list. Note that delays of less than 15 minutes are considered "normal" and are generally not included. This lack of reported delays is not uncommon, and it does not indicate a connection error. A different message (“Connection error” or "Could not contact FAA") will be shown if the application has any actual trouble obtaining the information from the FAA.
Q: Why isn't my airport listed when I know it has an active delay in place?
A: The FAA only reports delays greater than 15 minutes, so shorter ones generally do not show up at all. And occasionally they simply do not update this data feed in a timely manner, or leave an airport out. Also some "expected" delays (such as de-icing in winter) may not be reported either if they are considered to be a normal part of seasonal airport operations.
Q: Why does FAAwait say "Connection Error" or "Could not contact FAA"?
A: If there are any problems connecting to the FAA servers, this message will be shown. It may be caused by an internet connection issue on your device, or (more likely) a temporary failure of the FAA's servers to respond. This does happen from time to time and generally resolves itself within a couple of hours (or less). Generally when this feed goes down, their official web site will as well, so it can be checked to verify that it is indeed a system problem on their end and not a problem with the app.
Q: Can FAAwait tell me what delays will be in the future at a given airport?
A: FAAwait only provides real-time status information. It cannot predict future conditions or fully report flight delays that are still working their way through the system due to earlier disruptions. However, if you see weather-related delays at some airports, it is reasonable to assume that similar delays may crop up when those weather conditions reach other airports in their path.
Q: What does (insert random delay reason here) mean?
A: The reasons provided for airport delays use many shorthand terms and are somewhat free-form, so there is no rigid consistency to them. FAAwait will translate some of the common terms into more straightforward text. However, sometimes reasons will contain a combination of terms or airport-specific information (like the closure of a runway) that may make little sense to anyone not familiar with that particular airport. They are also subject to typographical errors on entry, which makes the automated interpretation imperfect. If the application cannot "translate" the reason, it will show it as provided by the FAA. This FAA site can help you understand many of the key terms used, but generally they fall into categories of weather (usually with a "WX:" prefix) or traffic management ("TM:").
Q: Why aren't all times shown reflecting my UTC setting?
A: The UTC setting affects only the "as of" date/time at the bottom of the screen. Individual delay notices may have times embedded in them. Due to inconsistent formatting, the app does not try to adjust their time zone to UTC, and they will instead reflect the verbatim notice time (usually this is the local time of the airport).
Q: How do I see the map view instead of the list?
A: Rotate your device counter-clockwise into landscape (or “wide”) mode. Airports are shown on the map with colored dots indicating the severity of their delays (or green if no delays are reported). A scrolling ticker along the bottom will show more detailed information on the delays, including delays for airports not shown on the map.
Q: Why isn't my airport shown on the map, even if it is encountering a delay?
A: Most U.S. airports will be depicted on the map if they are experiencing a delay, although a handful of major airports are always shown on the map regardless of their status. However, some smaller airports may not be shown, although their information will be reported on the ticker and elsewhere in the app.
Q: Why does FAAwait say an airport is "unknown"?
A: The application includes full name and location information for most U.S. (and some Canadian) airports. If an airport is not in this list, only its standard three- or four-letter abbreviation is shown. This does not impact any other aspect of the delay reporting.
Q: Why was my flight delayed when my airport was not on the list?
A: Individual flights can be delayed for many reasons. This application only provides information related to overall airport delays at the present time, and does not factor in delays that may persist in the system from earlier disruptions. For example, a flight may be delayed at an otherwise delay-free airport because the inbound flight was held up at a different airport many hours before. And of course flights can be delayed or cancelled for reasons beyond those general conditions that are reported by the FAA and FAAwait. Airlines are the only reliable source for the status of their specific flights.
Q: Why wasn't my flight delayed even though my airport was on the list?
A: See above. Some flights may make it in or out of an airport without experiencing the generic delays associated with an airport at any given time. Flights also might push back from the gate “on time” only to be delayed before actually taking off. Also consider that some types of delays impact departing and arriving flights differently.
Q: Can I see all of this information online through a regular browser?
A: Yes. Visit www.fly.faa.gov to see similar information on flight status, and their own national status map.
Q: Why is FAAwait’s map different than the one shown on fly.faa.gov?
A: The FAA uses different logic in displaying their map, and unlike FAAwait's it is static with a fixed number of airports depicted. They factor all possible delays into each airport’s overall status, under the reasoning that a flight leaving a trouble-free airport to go to one with a problem will be subject to a delay. As a result, on the FAA map airports all tend to be the same color, because a delay at one major airport will be reflected at just about every other airport (since it likely has at least one flight to it). This makes it difficult to use that map to visually see where the true issues are, since an airport may be listed as problematic just because of the destination of a few flights. However, the FAA map is accurate in the sense that a flight originating from any airport is subject to delays driven by its destination. FAAwait only shows delays specific to that particular airport, but keep in mind that those delays may impact departing flights differently than arriving ones (the highest overall delay is shown, regardless of type). And any airport shown as “green” may still have individual flights that are delayed if they are heading to an airport with delays. As always, refer to the airlines for the status of specific flights.
Q: Will FAAwait work on an iPod Touch?
A: Yes. However, to be useful the application must have access to the internet to obtain real-time airport status information. This means the iPod Touch must be connected to a WiFi network when the application is run. Given the time-sensitive nature of its information, FAAwait will not retain the airport status data from a previous run. So every time you launch the application, it will need active internet access. On iPhone, this information can be obtained over the cellular network, but it must be in a data service area to function.
Q: Will FAAwait work on an iPad?
A: FAAwait was designed to work on an iPhone since that was the most likely device to be used for such a purpose. Like any iPhone app, it can be installed on an iPad with less than ideal results. At this point we do not have plans for an iPad-specific version of the app.
Q: Will this application work forever?
A: FAAwait obtains its information from an official FAA data feed. It is possible that future changes to this feed could render FAAwait inoperable or otherwise diminish its functionality. Such changes may require a new version of the application to be released. It is also possible that the FAA could delay updates to this feed or discontinue it altogether. Because of this dependency, no guarantees can be made as to how long FAAwait will be able to function.
Apple Watch App Questions
Q: When does the Apple Watch app information get updated?
A: Usually the app is updated every time you look at it, as well as periodically in the background. If the displayed information is less than 20 minutes old, it will not automatically be refreshed. To update it manually, force-touch (hard press) on the display and you will get a menu option to do so.
Q: What should I do if the Apple Watch app has an update error?
A: Most problems are temporary connection issues that can be resolved by updating again via the manual method noted above. If this still does not work, try opening the FAAwait app on your phone to reset that end of the connection. This tends to resolve most remaining issues. If problems persist, rebooting the Watch and/or iPhone are the best troubleshooting options left.
Q: How can I reduce the time required to launch or update the Watch app?
A: Adding FAAwait to a complication slot on your watch face will keep it in memory and improve performance all around. Also, adding it as one of the apps permanently in your Watch dock will help as well.
Q: Why is my Apple Watch app display out of sync with what the iPhone app reports?
A: Normally both apps should display the same information since they use a shared source. If they are different, there is probably a problem — and it is likely to be on the Watch. If manually refreshing does not correct the situation, it may be necessary to remove and reinstall the app from the Watch, or restart it entirely. Unfortunately there are few other troubleshooting options available on the Watch at this time.
Q: Why does the Apple Watch app only have a boring static complication for the watch face?
A: Given the dynamic nature of delay data, the current restrictions on Apple Watch apps keeps complications from being updated in a sufficiently timely manner for FAAwait. If this situation changes in the future, we will revisit using a more informative complication.
Q: Can the Watch app work without a connection to my iPhone?
A: Currently the Watch app interacts with the main FAAwait app to perform the main update functions. This was found to be the most reliable and consistent in the current configuration, but down the road the app may become more independent in that regard.