Wheels down with FlightBoard

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By Pete Davison Comment

FlightBoard is an iOS app from Mobiata. It’s normally a paid app, but at the time of writing it is enjoying a feature spot as the App Store App of the Week, which also means it is temporarily free to download.

FlightBoard is a very simple idea — it allows users to turn their iOS device into a live arrivals or departures board for any airport in the world. Featuring a visual aesthetic based on the electronic signage at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, the app allows users to quickly and easily search for airports or specific flights, retrieve details on them and share information via social media.

Upon starting the app for the first time, the user is invited to select an airport’s information to view. This may be accomplished in several ways — searching directly, using location services to choose from a list of (relatively) nearby airports, or shaking the device to view information from a random airport. Once an airport has been selected, the main board appears, and users may start delving deeper into the available information.

The basic screen shows departures information by default, including flight numbers, destination (as three-letter short code), gate number if available and estimated time of departure. Times are color-coded according to their status — green flights are on schedule or early, blue flights have arrived and red flights have been delayed. The display may be switched to show arrivals information at any time by flipping a virtual switch in the top-right corner of the screen — in this case, the board shows flight number, point of origin (again, as three-letter short code) and estimated time of arrival with color codes.

Tapping an individual flight in the list causes it to open up some additional information. Specifically, it brings up the origin and destination points for the flight, gate and terminal numbers where appropriate, and also information on whether or not it ┬áis expected to depart/arrive on time. A “share” button allows access to additional functionality — flight information may be shared via email, iMessage, Twitter and Facebook, or alternatively the user may use this button to switch their display to the other airport involved in the flight. If the user has Mobiata’s FlightTrack app installed on their device, they may also use this feature to switch to the other app and view the flight data in real time. If FlightTrack is not installed on the user’s device, a splash screen pops up inviting the user to “learn more” — tapping this button takes the user to the App Store and the paid version of FlightTrack, which costs $4.99. What the button doesn’t mention is that there is also a free and a $9.99 “Pro” version of FlightTrack also available, each offering a different amount of functionality.

FlightBoard is a good idea that, assuming the information is up-to-date, will prove useful for frequent travellers along with their families and colleagues. Some App Store reviewers have complained that the information displayed in the app does not always match up with what is shown at the airport, but the majority of comments are very positive, and the app appears to refresh its information regularly.

FlightBoard will likely get a lot of use over the holiday period as far-flung relatives travel long distances to be together for the end of the year. The app’s functionality is certainly good and easy to understand, though any recommendation comes with the caveat that it is only as good as the information which is provided to it.

You can follow FlightBoard’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.