Flight tracking, once the sole domain of airline towers at airports, can now be carried out by individuals anywhere thanks to the ubiquitous presence of the Internet. Airplane enthusiasts may wish to track flights for hobby purposes, while other people may need to track flights so they know when to pick up friends or family at the airport. Learn how to track European flights flying to and from European airports from the comfort of your home.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Airport code
- Airline flight number
- iTunes 9.0+ (optional)
- iPod Touch or iPhone (optional)
Track a flight on your standards-compliant Internet browser, such as Mozilla Firefox on a Windows PC and Apple Safari on a Mac. Several companies provide free tracking data on flights out of major European airports, with the two biggest being FlightStats and FlightExplorer (see Resources). Launch your web browser and navigate to one of these two sites.
Enter the airline name or flight code into the box on the right side of FlightStats. Modify the departure date as needed and click "Search." You may also search for flights by airport (e.g. "BRU" for Brussels Airport) or route number. If using FlightExplorer, click "Free Tracking Tools" in the top menu bar of their site. Enter either the flight identification number and click "Track," or enter the airport code (e.g. "LHR" for Heathrow, London) and click "Get Info."
Review the results. If you entered a flight number on FlightExplorer or FlightStats, you will see its current status (e.g. "On-Time" or "Late"), estimated departure and arrival time and its current route. You will also see its location according to the last time that it was in contact with an airport. Refresh your browser to see the plane progress along the route. If you entered an airport code, you will see the routes of all flights to and from that airport. Clicking a specific route will bring up the tracking information for that flight.
Consider using a tracking application for your iPod Touch or iPhone to monitor and track flight statuses while on the go. An example application is the Mobiata FlightTrack Pro (see Resources). Tap the plus symbol in the top right-hand corner of the screen and enter a flight number. The application will display the plane's current location, as well as travel information such as the weather forecast for the flight's final destination. The app also includes live international flight maps and live weather radar, so you can track a flight's progress in real time.
Tips and warnings
- For the best results on either the FlightStats or FlightExplorer sites, enter the specific flight number.
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