6 Best Sites to View Maps of Airline Flight Paths + Bonus Mobile Apps

flightmaps title   6 Best Sites to View Maps of Airline Flight Paths + Bonus Mobile AppsIf you have ever waited anxiously for a family member or friend to arrive at your airport after a long flight you will understand the need to receive reliable, up to date information about where a plane currently is located and when they are estimated to arrive. I covered some sites for tracking flights back in 2008 but much has changed and also there is a greater focus on mobile apps since smartphones are now more prevalent.

The way I see it, you have two reasons to need to view maps of an airline flight path: You are waiting for a family member or friend to arrive at the airport safely – let’s call this informational only, or you are waiting at the airport/driving in to pick up that person. These are two totally separate uses and a website does not do you much good if all you have is a smartphone or even just a regular phone. The sites below are reviewed based on these two parameters: informational sites for casual viewing and must-have information for those traveling to the airport for pickups.

FlightStats

flightstats track   6 Best Sites to View Maps of Airline Flight Paths + Bonus Mobile Apps

FlightStats is my favorite website for tracking flight information on the web. It provides comprehensive flight information for all flights originating in the United States and also fairly comprehensive coverage for overseas flights in Europe. For other countries, the data you receive is hit or miss.

The content it provides (on US flights) is comprehensive. You can see the flight path on a variety of maps, all powered by Google Maps. You can also overlay radar which is a nice feature that the other flight tracking sites do not provide.

Flightstats.com does not have a free iPhone app; however there are some paid ones if you are interested in that (I list some great free alternatives below). They do have a suite of Android apps; including FlightStats for Android Lite which is free.

flightstats alerts   6 Best Sites to View Maps of Airline Flight Paths + Bonus Mobile Apps

Finally, the killer feature that is unique to Flightstats is automatic notification via cell phone text or email when a flight is delayed or its status is updated at all (for example, when it arrives at the gate). This allows someone picking up a flyer to know when they get there without relying on a call; it also provides gate information.

Flightview

flightview sample   6 Best Sites to View Maps of Airline Flight Paths + Bonus Mobile Apps

Flightview offers much of the same information as Flightstats above. You get a live map (although not as pretty as Flightstats) time and delay information, and more. The website isn’t quite as polished but it is still very informative for the flight traveller.

flightview mobile   6 Best Sites to View Maps of Airline Flight Paths + Bonus Mobile Apps

The one area where Flightview really shines is mobile apps. They offer free mobile flight tracking apps for iPhone [iTunes link], Android, Blackberry and other platforms. Their mobile app for flight tracking is one of the highest rated in the iTunes app store and it is easy to see why: flights are easy to find, gate information and a maps at your fingertips.

Flightwise

Flightwise, formerly our favorite named fboweb, has some compelling features you might want to look at. They are geared more towards the technical information about a flight so if you are an aviation enthusiast you might want to choose them over the other sites. They have a free iPhone app, but information like the arrival Gate is left out for the paid versions.

flightwise googleearth   6 Best Sites to View Maps of Airline Flight Paths + Bonus Mobile Apps

Flightwise offers one of the coolest visualizations of a flight on a map. One click and you can see the flight you are interested in, and nearby flights, in near-realtime 3D.

This visualization is both interesting from a “cool” factor and also from an educational viewpoint. Elevation, speed and location are all mapped onto the earth in real-time, it doesn’t get much cooler than that!

FlightArrivals

flightarrivals   6 Best Sites to View Maps of Airline Flight Paths + Bonus Mobile Apps

FlightArrivals has the information listed above, but also adds some interesting other visualizations of airlines. You can select an airport and see all of the flights out of that airport to other cities and countries.

Flightaware

flightaware   6 Best Sites to View Maps of Airline Flight Paths + Bonus Mobile Apps

Flightaware has another neat visualization to add to the list above. In addition to receiving specific flight tracking for a commercial or private pilot flight, it also has a real-time map of US flights. Although it doesn’t display specific information for all of the flights, you can get a general idea as to the activity of the current airspace. They have historical information which is pretty neat to look at and watch.

Flightaware also has a free iPhone app that will help you track and store flights.

HelloFlight

helloflight   6 Best Sites to View Maps of Airline Flight Paths + Bonus Mobile Apps

HelloFlight offers some interesting maps of airline flight paths. On their site they show all current positions of SouthWest airplanes in flight, as well as providing tracking information for any other commercial US flight.

They have a mobile site up at http://m.helloflight.com/ which would be handy if you are mobile and need to retrieve flight information.

Whichever site you choose to use, you can get some really cool visualizations whether at home or on the go. Flight paths are available both for commercial airlines and private pilot trips (depending on if they are travelling IFR or VFR) and this information is both useful and fun.

Many of the sites mentioned above have a “Show a random flight” link, if you don’t know of any current flight numbers try those to get a sample of what they have to offer, that way when you do need to use the sites you will know which one will work the best for you. Happy travels!

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

9 Comments -

Golfhou

Excellent article. The link to the Blackberry app from Flightview shows that it costs $4.99 but the article states there is a free app. Is there another link that I am missing? Thank you.

Dave Drager

It looks like the Blackberry app is only for-pay. As an alternative you can view their mobile site: http://mobile.flightview.com/

Keith

Dave,
Nice article. Thanks for the positive review on FlightStats. Regarding our iphone app – to date we’ve relied on our developer network (i.e. companies that tap into our data-stream) to cover that territory (some of those brands include FlightBoard, TripDeck, FlightTrack etc.). For those folks who don’t want to use an app we have m.flightstats.com. This is a mobile-optimized version of flightstats.com.

Regards,
Keith Gerr (Marketing Director, FlightStats.com)

Keith

Dave,
Nice article. Thanks for the positive review on FlightStats. Regarding our iphone app – to date we’ve relied on our developer network (i.e. companies that tap into our data-stream) to cover that territory (some of those brands include FlightBoard, TripDeck, FlightTrack etc.). For those folks who don’t want to use an app we have m.flightstats.com. This is a mobile-optimized version of flightstats.com.

Regards,
Keith Gerr (Marketing Director, FlightStats.com)

Aibek

thanks for the input

Dave Drager

Thanks for the info!

Dave Drager

It looks like the Blackberry app is only for-pay. As an alternative you can view their mobile site: http://mobile.flightview.com/

Geekastuces

European air traffic View sur http://geekastuces.blogspot.co

Geekastuces