Get This App: FlightTrack Pro
[Apps to the left of you! Apps to the right of you! In the crowded app marketplaces, it’s all too easy to overlook a useful piece of mobile software. Our Get This App series can guide you to these under-appreciated gems.]
Travel is, by nature, stressful. Checklists. Itineraries. Coordination with departing and arriving parties. Plane travel adds its own variety of eccentricities, and unless you’ve taken a few lessons from Ryan Bingham, it’s hard not to feel frazzled after security checkpoints and airline delays.
FlightTrack Pro may not get you out of a TSA line, but it can help ease your stress level on almost everything else flight-related. Since its 2009 debut I’ve used it to track, take, reschedule, and map more than 30 flights; it’s become my go-to app when planning any sort of plane travel.
At its most basic, the app is designed—as its name suggests—to track flights. Enter in a flight number or a route, or select a flight from an airport’s flight board, and FlightTrack will return the flight number, aircraft type and seating map, departure time, arrival time, and both departure and arrival terminals. (And if you’re adding multiple flights that take off within a few hours of each other, FlightTrack will intelligently link them as connections.)
Both times and terminals are live-updating, so if an airport changes or delays a flight, you’ll know about it as soon as the FAA does. You also have access to a delay forecast, based on past flights with this itinerary; weather information for each terminal; and terminal maps—useful for navigating an airport you’ve never been to before.
But that’s not all. FlightTrack Pro offers a live map tracker, which works even when your device is in Airplane mode. So if you’re in the air, you can find out if those bumps out the window really are the Rocky Mountains.
The app even syncs with TripIt and iCloud, so you can keep trips aligned across all your devices.
But the best part about this app is not its laundry-list of features—it’s that it works, and reliably at that. It’s great for occasional or frequent travelers, but it’s doubly nice for the folks picking them up. (Who hasn’t at least once driven to the airport for a pickup, only to find out the flight’s been delayed for another hour and a half?)
No, FlightTrack Pro won’t make an airport martini for you, or tell your children to stop kicking the person in 21B. But for planning, tracking, and prepping for delays, it’s a lifesaver.