If you travel by airplane you will find a flight tracking app a useful addition to your smartphone. FlightAware is one of the most popular flight tracking web sites on the Internet and they have released free versions of their mobile app for all of the major smartphone platforms.
One reason to use an app like FlightAware is to find out whether a flight is on time, and doing so is very easy in the FlightAware mobile apps, you simply enter the flight number on the Track By Flight Number screen. You can not only get flight information for the major airlines, but also for private and commuter services. If you know a plane’s tail number, you can search for it in the FlightAware app.
If you frequently travel on the same flight you can add that flight to your favorites, which you access by selecting My FlightAware. You can also add airports to My FlightAware, and you easily access arrivals, departures, planes en route to the airport, and schedule departures from the airport.
A neat feature of FlightAware is the near real-time flight map updates, which you can locate by airport, zip code, city and state, or with GPS coordinates. FlightAware uses the location information provided by the phone. In my testing I had a difficult time getting the flight maps to display properly on my Nexus S running Android 2.3.4. Initially the map displays fine, but when I zoom in the background map display some times does not render.
The maps on Android display different shapes for different size aircraft, but do not show any flight path information. In contrast, the flight maps on the iPhone/iPod Touch version has no problem rendering when I zoom in and out. With the iOS version all aircraft have the same shape but you also see the flight path. On both platforms you can tap on a shape of an aircraft to see more information about that particular flight.
While the FlightAware app is free, it does display an ad at the top of the screen though I don’t find it intrusive. In my brief use the same Breitling ad displayed on both the Android and iOS versions. If you travel by plane or are just interested in air travel, I think you will find the FlightAware app fun and useful.