When you're taking a vacation or just picking up mom at the airport, a flight tracking app can be an invaluable tool. Indeed, I've downloaded more than my share with Mobiata's FlightTrack Pro holding its place one of my top picks. Recently, though, I discovered a more comprehensive app called Flight+. Developed by International Airport Flight Track Technologies, Flight+ combines flight tracking with a trip diary and an airline/airport information hub. It's complete, slickly designed, and for an airline geek, almost perfect.
Before I get started, though, it's pretty irritating that you have to pay separately for the iPhone and iPad versions of Flight+ (both have the same content, but the iPad's is formatted for the larger screen). While each app by itself ($2.99 for iPhone and $4.99 for iPad) is well worth the money, they're not worth a combined $7.98.
Track a flight
Pricing aside, there's much too like about Flight+ beginning with the attractive and intuitive user-interface. There's liberal use of color and the four main tabs plus a Settings option are sisplayed prominently on the bottom of the screen. As you select choices from the secondary menus, new pages will slide in smoothly from the right. And if you want to go back, just press the arrow in the top left corner.
The Flights tab allows you to track and monitor individual airline flights whether they are currently en route, have yet to depart, or have already arrived. Searching by flight number or city pairs was quick and easy and I like that you can toggle the city names back and forth between the departure and arrival fields. I wish, however, that when selecting a flight you could see the results without being forced to add it to your saved list. Though such a list is convenient for keeping track of a multileg journey, sometimes I needed to look up a flight's information only once.
After selecting a flight, you see all of the relevant information including the scheduled and actual departure and arrival times, terminal and gate information, and a nicely detailed map with the flight's approximate position and the weather and current time at the two cities. Of course, you can elect to receive push notifications as flight times change. And if that's not enough you can save notes for a flight and you even view a short description of the aircraft. There's an option for seat maps, as well, but I wasn't able to see one for any of the flights that I tracked.
Or just geek out
The Airports tab is an aviation enthusiast's dream. After searching for your desired airport from an exhaustive worldwide list, you can view a short description, current weather, terminal maps, and (in some cases) a photo of the terminal building. But wait there's more. The app also serves up real-time departure and arrival boards (just likes the ones you'd see in the airport) that are continually updated. And even geekier is world map showing all the domestic and international flights from the airport with nonstop service.
Similarly, the Airlines offers a lot of facts at your fingertips. Besides a short description of the carrier, you can see a map of its worldwide destinations, a flight board of all its flights across the system, and its current Twitter feed. And just like with the Airports option you can save your favorite carriers to an easily accessible list.
Whether you travel once a year or every week, Flight+ is an immensely useful and comprehensive app that's a breeze to use. Sometimes it forces you to take a couple more steps than necessary to find basic information and I hope the developer adds a better pricing scheme, but as a travel tool and information gold mine, it will serve you well.