It's a shot in the dark, I know, but on the off chance someone here knows...
I am tracking a flight from O'Hare to Detroit. Instead of flying straight, the flight went due north until inside Wisconsin, then flew in a wide arc until flying down into Detroit. And there are no thunderstorms in the area.
Why not 'as the crow flies'?
Try asking Kyle Richards. I think she owns the plane.
Because it's flying over a large curved sphere, not a flat map.
If you have a globe, try tracing a straight line between Chicago-Detroit, then trace an arc that goes north. You'll see it's actually shorter to "work with" the curvature of the earth.
thanks r2! When i have watched other flights, the route seems much more 'crow flying' straight, though. What about the fact that it went due north for at least 200 miles before heading east?
Besides what R2 said, other things like weather and availability of clear airspace, especially around larger airports are the reason. If they want to time a window to land better they may take a slightly longer route, that way they don't have to keep circling and congesting the busier airspace around the airport.
Clearly you should've chosen to fly with Old Crow Airlines.
Also, the weather and winds configure into the equation.