What is a Flight Tracker?

    What is a Flight Tracker?

    A flight tracker is an airplane tracking tool that allows people to find out the status of a particular flight in real time. You can often see when flights are scheduled for, look over past flight strats and some also show live air traffic all around the world.

    The information you’ll find about your flight via a flight tracker could include flight numbers, altitudes, speeds, destinations, and aircraft types.

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    Flight Tracker Uses

    Traveling can be a pleasurable experience but it can also have its stressful moments. Frequent travelers know that when it comes to travel, timing is everything. For example, if you have a connecting flight, it’s important to get to your gate at the right time.

    This is why being able to track a flight is invaluable.

    For example, you can see if your flight route is regularly delayed. You may even get an early warning if your flight is going to depart late. For travelers on the go, as long as you own a phone, with a flight tracker, you’ll get up-to-the-minute details about the whereabouts of your plane.

    It’s not just air travelers who make use of flight trackers.

    Flight trackers are a must-have for anyone who wants to know the arrival and departure times of airplanes.

    Imagine being a taxi driver waiting to pick someone from the airport. You can know in advance if your passenger is going to be landing later than their designated time.  The same goes for relatives, and even travel agents.

    Travel scenarios like these all share one thing in common. Being able to track up-to-date flight information will go a long way in ensuring peace of mind, save time and perhaps even money.

    Ultimately, flight trackers eliminate the guesswork from your journey.

    How Do You Access a Flight Tracker?

    People can follow their flight of interest either on a designated flight tracking website or flight following apps.

    Flight tracker apps are easily downloadable on a tablet, smartphone or Android.

    These tracking tools are a great stress buster because you are able to have flight information in real time. This means that you can track your flight, be aware of delays and pinpoint your exact location for interested parties when you are sky high.

    Who Uses Flight Tracking?

    Anyone interested in the current status of an aircraft can use a flight tracker. This includes travelers, aviation geeks, professionals, hobbyists, taxi drivers, parents, and air crew.

    Flight tracking has a different use for various people. It depends on the question being asked which can range from, “When is X arriving in Z?” to someone who has no particular interest in airlines but wonders, ‘Where is that flight heading?”

    Flight Status: What Information Do I Need to Get Details About a Flight?

    For the most part, the information you’ll need to track flights anywhere in the world are:

    • Flight number

    • Airline

    • Airport code

    • Route

    • Date

    • Aircraft registration

    What Information do Flight Trackers Provide?

    Over the years, flight trackers have improved drastically and can now be used to source a vast amount of flight information. This includes:

    • Whether a flight is running according to schedule

    • If a flight has arrived

    • When an airline has left the tarmac

    • Location of a delayed flight

    • Speed

    • Altitude

    • Route

    • Weather condition in an airport

    • Gate assignment changes

    • Delay statistics

    • Ascertain what the aircraft pilot is viewing in 3D

    • Estimated security wait times

    • Airport amenities (e.g. Wi-Fi availability, ATMs and parking rates)

    • Transport options when you arrive

    How Do Flight Trackers Work?

    Data is at the heart of flight tracking. For the most part, flight trackers have different ways with regards to how they collate data.

    Some flight trackers rely on aircrafts to get their flight data. This is made possible by Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast technology (ADS-B) which is used by the majority of modern aircraft.

    ADS-B flight tracking is used in the aviation industry as a way to enhance safety and efficiency. It’s able to do this by supplying air traffic control with regular, up-to-the-minute and visible aircraft position updates. As an additional benefit, aircrafta equipped with ADS-B avionics are able to locate where other planes are located during a flight.

    Apart from ADS-B technology, flight trackers also have the option of collecting radar data from other sources like Multilateration (MLAT).

    MLAT is a navigational technique used by  aircrafts that don’t have complete ADS-B features, which results in the aircraft not being able to access GPS position data

    The ADS-B, MLAT and radar data is then combined with flight status and aircraft schedule data that is provided from airports and airlines. A combination of these different sources then makes up a unique flight tracking information source.

    Which Apps Can Follow My Flight? The Best Flight Trackers for Travelers and Airplane Enthusiasts

    Whether you’re just curious about an aircraft in the sky or you’re a relative wanting to know exactly when your loved one will land- flight trackers are of the utmost importance.

    Airlines are clued up to this fact and offer their own flight tracking apps which can answer many travel-related queries. However, many of these airline tools have restrictions with regards to what kind of flight tracking information they can divulge. In other words, the flight information provided can be basic at best.

    The good news is that there are a good range of apps that do more than inform you of your flight status. Some are able to track planes in real time and have a plethora of handy additional features.

    Here are 3 free apps that divulge more than boarding and departure information. In addition, they’ll save you time, money and elevate your travel experience.

    FlightAware (iOS and Android)

    This multi-purpose app gives a comprehensive list of information for any commercial flight worldwide.

    Furthermore, FlightAware’s GPS system can track the location of private planes or charters in the U.S. and Canada.

    By entering your flight number, airline, route or airport users can track flight information in real time. This ranges from the current status of your flight before you’ve boarded to getting live information whilst you’re on the plane.

    For those who are happy to get regular reminders without prompting, FlightAware has a push notification feature which sends information to your device at regular intervals.

    FlightRadar24 (iOS and Android)

    FlightRadar24 is a must-have for aviation geeks. When an aircraft of interest flies overhead, just point your phone towards the sky and you’ll be able to get a picture of the plane as well as flight information.

    As the app’s name suggests, this flight tracker’s distinguishing feature is its map that displays planes as they fly sky high.

    In addition, by searching via different filters like airport code and flight number, you are able to watch aircrafts in the sky in real time. In addition, you can also retrieve up-to-the-minute airline and airport information. This means you can access flight data ranging from the estimated time of arrival to the weather conditions in an airport.

    Additional features include a 3D pilot view.

    FlightView (iOS and Android)

    FlightView helps to take the stress out of your travel experience by supplying flight information in real time. Such data includes altitude, route and speed.

    This flight tracking tool also boasts a live view as one of its handy features. This lets users pinpoint where an aircraft is – a must for plane spotters.

    This user-friendly app also allows you to share your flight information easily and quickly with interested parties. Just create a FlightView account and keep your loved ones, friends and colleagues updated about your flight information.

    For travelers on the go, FlightView allows users to receive alerts on your phone to inform you of any changes relating to your flight.

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