Friday, May 2, 2014

Real-time tracking of flights with FlightStats app

The old way of checking a flight's status was through the airline's website. I remember doing that many, many times when family members were traveling. But for some reason, they were not always reliable. At times, departure/arrival delays were not reflected on the flight status.

But now, there are apps you can download that provide more accurate and real-time flight status. One of them which is on my phone is FlightStats. Just imagine how useful such apps can be. If there is a delay in the flight, you'd know even before leaving home. Productivity is much higher because you know that you can leave home and arrive at the airport at just the right time, allowing you to do work when flights are delayed.

The Flightstats app uses a mix of information and visuals. First you enter the details (by flight, by airport or by route).





Next, the flight details are given including actual departure time, estimated arrival time, the airport and terminal, and a visual of the plane's exact location along the flight plan.

Flight Overview


For even more detailed visuals, one can click "Track this Flight" on the Flight Overview page and you get the departure and arrival points in the map, the actual flight plan vs the planned flight plan, a moving plane icon to give you a better idea of where the plane is along the route.

Flight Tracker

Want more details? Tap the screen on Flight Tracker and an icon appears on the upper righthand corner of the screen. Tap that and details pop out at the bottom showing the route, altitude of the plane at that point in time, its speed, heading, and the type of plane used. I was really amazed at how much information I could get from a flight.


There are other information available on the FlightStats app. On the homepage, click "Airports", choose the airport (recently searched airports show up as default), and get the current airport conditions.

Homepage


Delay index and current weather of selected airport can be shown


My son just recently came back from a trip to China. He was on a plane from Hong Kong and from the time I left home until I got to the airport, I was being fed real-time information on his flight. That was really amazing.

Of course it is not without glitches. At one point, the app lost tracking information on the plane and arrival information was slightly delayed. Still, this is better than trying to contact the airport by phone to get flight status or looking up airline websites which may not always have updated information. Having the app on the phone means less search time on the web as well.

Oh, one other thing. This isn't good just for international flights. I checked and they have information for domestic flights as well.



FlightStats is available for the iPhone on the AppStore as well as for Android phones via the Play Store. It's also available on the web via their website, www.flightstats.com.


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