During our recent trip, our flight back home was rescheduled and the passengers panicked. But, we were well prepared for it beforehand. What’s more? We also selected a new flight with a lower chance of a delay and landed home without any further issues, unlike many others who were stuck at the airport. If you thought what we did was pretty cool, it isn’t. Because all we did was use a bunch of flight-tracking apps on our phones.
Last-minute travel mishaps are tricky to deal with. While it’s not possible to control air traffic, you can stay well prepared, assess your options, and deal with the situation in the best way possible. However, to do this, you need to be aware of several details. That’s where the best flight tracking apps come to the rescue.
You get to see all the technical aspects of the flight’s journey, the aircraft details like build, and more. Besides, they also allow you to check the details of the plane that just flew above you. While many apps claim to offer these, we shortlisted five good apps so that you don’t have to search for them. The best part is that all of them are free. So, let’s begin.
1. Flightradar24: One For the Aviation Enthusiasts
Flightradar24 is an app that we have been using over the last few years on multiple flights. Hence, we can confidently say that this app is consistent and reliable. It is quite feature-rich and offers much more than just providing you with details of a flight.
Firstly, you can see an overview of all the flights currently flying. If you tap on one, you can see every single detail about it. The arrival and departure times, locations, calibrated altitude, ground speed, etc. To find the flight of your interest, you can search for your flight number and view the details. And you can also use this app on your Apple Watch.
You also get to view the list of arrivals and departures, flight delays, and weather conditions of any airport in the world. And you also get to add a Siri shortcut for any detail you view so that you can quickly launch it with a phrase. But two features stand out for us – first, being able to replay a flight’s journey, and second, the 3D view. The 3D view offers a virtual journey on a particular flight by simulating the journey and the conditions and we had some fun with it.
However, the user interface is a massive disappointment. We feel it needs more optimization, refinement, and perhaps a more modern approach to the app design. There are advertisements too, but thankfully we did not find them disturbing.
The free version covers most features, but the paid version adds custom alerts, flight history for ninety days, heck, you can even see aircraft text labels and so much more. If you are an avid airplane nerd, give them the money!
Price: Free, Pro Verison: $1.49/month or $9.99/year onwards.
Also read: Should you charge your phone in airports and restaurants?
2. The Flight Tracker: Flight Tracker With the Best Interface
While Flightradar24 is feature-rich, it might seem a bit overwhelming for many. But we were quickly able to find a worthy alternative that is easier to use, without compromising on any of the core features. Take a look at The Flight Tracker.
This app has five simple tabs. The map, search tab, My Flights, Airports, and Airlines. You know exactly where to head when you use this app. We like the My Flights option as this helps you save and keep a list of all your tracked flights. Another feature that we like is that you can open up a flight, and add all of your travel documents and flight notes so that you can access them all in one place.
However, you only get to know basic details of the flight, like the arrival and departure times, and the time left on the flight. But you get to see a bunch of information regarding the aircraft type and more.
There is also an option to book flights and hotels using this app, but it redirects you to Expedia. If you use the service called Tripit, you can directly import your data onto this app and track your flights.
This app has ads but they are quite minimal and don’t seem intrusive. However, unlocking the premium version removes the ads as well. Overall, we’d only recommend this app if you want to know the basic details of a flight in an easy-to-use interface.
Price: Free; Pro Version: $1.99 onwards
3. FlightAware: World’s Largest Flight Tracking Platform
FlightAware is the world’s largest flight tracking app, and no wonder it was a part of a giant parent company like Collins Aerospace and Rockwell Collins. Therefore, many resources have been put into keeping its network reliable. Undoubtedly, it provides great flight tracking accuracy.
Flight tracking isn’t a straightforward process, as you need to know how to interpret data and even understand what data to see in the first place. Hence, we appreciate FlightAware for the tutorial upon opening the app for the first time and for helping new users get accustomed to flight tracking.
The app layout is mostly different from the first two apps. It has a tab where you can add flights to track, then you have a tab that shows you the nearby flights, and then you have a tab that shows airports experiencing flight delays worldwide. We love this unique approach and it helps track flights much more easily.
Once you view a flight, you get to see a good amount of details about the flight, and we like the way it is presented. You get an option to replay the journey of older flights as well. However, we feel that the ads were a bit intrusive in our experience. You can purchase the pro version to remove the ads for an even smoother experience.
Price: Free; Pro Version: $0.99/month or $5.99/year onwards
4. Planes Live: Flight Tracker With Detailed Airport Statistics
Planes Live is a simplistic and well-designed app. At first impression, it seemed like a basic flight tracker. But we were wrong and how! After exploring what this app has to offer, it is surely coming with us on our next trip.
We are in love with one feature, and we truly wish we used this app in our previous trips – the detailed airport statistics. We love how the statistics are presented, and details like average security wait times can be extremely useful for someone pondering when they can leave their hotel for the airport.
This app also provides maps to a few popular airports, and it comes in handy. If you are flying a longer distance, you can also make use of the in-flight services information provided by this app. And of course, you get accurate flight statistics and all the important flight information that you need.
But what mildly ruins this wonderful experience are intrusive advertisements. On the free version, they are simply annoying and we believe an app like this needs a slightly less aggressive approach in terms of advertisements.
You can purchase the pro version to remove the ads, and along with that, you can also unlock other extra features like real-time push notifications, access airport schedules, weather maps, and flight delay statistics.
Price: Free; Pro Version: $1.99/month onwards
5. FlightStats: A Minimal Flight Tracker App
A flight tracking app that boasts the world’s map and showcases the real-time flight status of active flights might appeal to all, especially those who want information on a specific flight and be done with it. Not to worry, there is a great app for such users, FlightStats.
The download package size impressed us as it was only around 15 MB. When you are at the airport, you wouldn’t want to wait for long to download the app using the slow public Wi-Fi at the airport.
Once you download it, you can search for information on the fly (apologies, we like puns) and it is quite easy to use the search tools to search for your flight. You can search your flight by the airport, flight number, or route. You also have a tab where you can save your flights, and also search different airports across the world.
This app has ads but there is no pro version to remove them. However, a few users also complain about the app crashing randomly, but we’re positive this will get fixed with an update. Apart from that, we don’t have many complaints with this app as it quickly gets the information you need.
These were five solid flight tracking apps that we can suggest to stay aware and updated on information regarding flights and airports. However, if you have more questions, take a look at our FAQ section below.
FAQs on Flight Tracking Apps
Yes, you can track any aircraft in the sky on Flightradar24.
Yes, you can track flights for free using any of the listed apps.
These apps are quite accurate. However, at worst, flights may be around 100 km off from the actual position.
Track Flights With Ease
We hope you find these flight-tracking apps useful to stay updated with all the necessary information. The next time you plan a trip, make sure you download one of these apps and leave your anxiety about missing a flight behind. Happy journey!