Predictably, FlightCaster, which attempts to alert travelers about flight delays before they occur, introduced a public API and a licensing model to enable developers, online travel agencies, airlines and travel management companies to integrate FlightCaster into their own applications.
Developers can get more information about the API here.
FlightCaster's value proposition is that travelers -- and corporations -- have an insatiable desire to figure out if passengers are likely to spend five hours on the tarmac or if their flights will be canceled.
Orbitz pioneered what it is now branding as Orbitz Care Alerts on gate changes and flight delays; Farecast [now Bing Travel] led the way with airfare predictions; and now along comes FlightCaster, which launched in August, to predict flight delays in advance.
Here's how FlightCaster publicly portrays its secret sauce: "FlightCaster takes data from multiple sources - some historical, some real-time - and crunches them in a database with a patent-pending algorithm and process. We use 10-years of flight data along with current and near-term forecasted conditions to establish likely delay factors and assess the impact they will have on your flight. Our results are based on predicted arrival delays - when you will pull into your arrival gate."
The company recently attracted $1.3 million in Series A funding from Tandem Entrepreneurs and Sherpalo Ventures.
Hopefully, these companies know how to predict a winner.
The key for FlightCaster, which currently is available through its website, as well as iPhone and Blackberry apps, will be to prove its reliability so it can gain some traction with travel management companies and business travelers, who might change travel plans based on tried and true flight-delay predictions.
Historical data or not, whether that will happen is anyone's guess.
The company says it also hard at work in creating an alternative flight recommendation engine, which would help travelers do something concrete with those predictions of flight delays and cancellations and enable them to book a different flight.
FlightCaster is said to be talking to the usual suspects about distribution opportunities, and the new API will help in these efforts.