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Flight track/status apps, are they actually useful?

lexvo

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Nov 11, 2009
1,277
418
The Netherlands
Flight track/status apps, are they actually useful?

I only take a few flights a year, so an app might be overkill for me. Despite that I've tried to find out if these would be useful (for me).

My conclusion: these apps aren't useful for me for the following reasons:
1) The tracking itself is not always actual or accurate. In Flighttrack 5 for example, planes can be hundreds of miles off their actual flying path.
2) Some apps have airport info (maps for example). Sounds useful, but I found this info was often outdated.
3) Apps often rely on an internet connection at the airport, but this is not always available, especially when flying abroad.
4) Some apps provide terminal, gate and even bagage claim info, but this is often not filled.
5) Not all flights are known to app. For example, in Flighttrack 5 I could not find a Ryanair flight. But in Flight+ I could find it.

So far, I didn't find an app which has both accurate and actual tracking as wel as traveling info (terminal/gate, airport info, ...).
I'd like to hear other people's experience with flight apps.
One app, Flightview, seems very interesting but is alas not available in the Dutch app store.

Finally, my impressions of the main apps I tried:

Flightradar 24
+ actual and accurate flight tracking
+ easy to use
+ follows more flights than PlaneFinder
+ has actual and planned arrival/departure times for flights
+ augmented reality
+ my favourite app for flight tracking
= has a little airport info (accuracy stats)
- only very little info about flights that are not departed
- in/out going flights per airport via an in-appurchase
- no terminal/gate/bagage claim info per flight

PlaneFinder
+ actual and accurate flight tracking
+ easy to use
+ terminal info per flight
+ augmented reality
= has only actual/planned arrival time and no departure time?
= has in/out going flights per airport, but info is very rudimentary

Flight+ (free version)
+ option to add notes etc. to flights
+ completed flights are kept in the app, handy for reference
+ has actual and planned arrival/departure times for flights
+ has some airport info, like small maps
+ terminal and gate info per flight (but not always filled)
+ plane seating (bug: does not work on iPad)
+ push notifications for flight info (departure etc)
- flight info often not actual, sometimes a plane has departed for long and the app is still saying "waiting to depart"

Flighttrack 5
+ nice layout
+ plane seating (when available)
+ has actual, planned and even estimated arrival/departure times for flights
+ has some airport info, like small maps
+ terminal and gate info per flight (but not always filled)
+ option to add notes etc. to flights
- flight info and tracking often not actual
- flight tracking not always accurate, a flight can be hundreds of miles of its actual path on the map
- sometimes can’t find a flight

Flightstats (free version)
+ terminal, gate and bagage claim info per flight (I didn't test if these are always filled)
+ has actual and planned arrival/departure times for flights
= has some airport info
- has flight tracking but it is often not actual
- free version has annoying ads

iFly (tested free version briefly)
+ has a lot of airport info (maps, amenities)
= tracking via in-app purchase
- website ifly.com has not always flight info (I am not sure, but this will probably go for the app as well then)
 

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
50,845
19,023
Not all will do everything and do it all perfectly. Even airports themselves get some information wrong and change it randomly at times. But many will do enough and be right about most it.
 
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lexvo

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Nov 11, 2009
1,277
418
The Netherlands
I decided to only keep Flightradar24 on my iPhone and delete all other flight apps. For me, their usefulness is too low.
 
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C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
50,845
19,023
There are also apps like FlightView, FlightAware, and App in the Air which might be of some interest.
 
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lexvo

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Nov 11, 2009
1,277
418
The Netherlands
There are also apps like FlightView, FlightAware, and App in the Air which might be of some interest.

Thanks for the pointer to App in the Air, I will check it out.

Flight view looks interesting, but is not available in the Dutch app store

I tried Flightaware before, but found it slow and buggy.
 
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