Ask Siri To Identify Overhead Flights

Filed Under: Travel Technology

Have you ever heard or seen a plane overhead but couldn’t quite make out the livery? There is an easy way for iPhone owners to find out exactly which flight is above you… just ask Siri.

The prompt “Ask Wolfram what flights are overhead” should pull up the data seen in the screen grabs below.

siri overhead flights 1

siri overhead flights 2

As you can see, the information from Wolfram includes the:

  • airline
  • flight number
  • altitude
  • angle from the horizon
  • plane type
  • distance

You can also access this information in the Wolfram Alpha Viewer app. The Wolfram app will also include a sky map showing you where to locate the planes.

siri overhead flights 3

This isn’t revolutionary. But, it’s sort of fun to be able to identify plane types, airlines, etc.

My kids like to ask where the plane is coming from or flying to. Since the search provides the flight number, it’s very easy to pull that up. In fact, you can ask Siri to do a web search for the flight information.

It appears there is a Wolfram Alpha app for Android. So, I’m sure there is a way to do this if you don’t have an iPhone. As an Apple geek, I just don’t have any experience with it. Perhaps an Android loyalist can explain how to do a similar search in the comments.

  1. It’s not free, but at $4 the paid FlightRadar24 app lets you point your phone’s camera at a plane in the sky and it will pull up its full tracking, O/D, speed, altitude, and past photos. Move the camera around and it will point out planes that may or may not be visible due to atmospheric conditions. It’s some of the best $4 I ever spent.

  2. The flight aware iPhone app (free) also can show overhead aircraft based on your location, including carrier, route, and departure/arrival time.

  3. I second @Red’s comment. Flightradar24 doesn’t work perfectly but it’s pretty amazing when it does, and especially if you’re entertaining the kids it would be perfect.

  4. You don’t even need to say “Ask Wolfram” when you have the Siri prompt. You can just say “What Flights are Overhead” when you are in the “Hey Siri” prompt.

  5. Living in Downtown Seattle over the approach/departure path for Seatac, I’ve tried this numerous times. Never has Siri gotten it right. SHE LIES!!! 😉

  6. + 1 on Flight Radar 24. Unlike the basic Wolfram info, FR24 provides (near) real time streaming telemetry on alt, speed, etc. it’s a fun party game to see a plane overhead and betting your friends on the closest guess to origination airport (or airline, or whatever).

  7. I tried a few times, but Siri replies every time with “Can’t find anything in Wofram Alfa ” I’m going back to Flightradar24

  8. Plane Finder is my go to. Get that running at the same time with the ATC app and it’s like an orgy of plane porn for the nerd. It gets challenging when driving though!

  9. I like the freebie Flight Aware app on Android. Look at Nearby Flights in the menu and get a map with all flights showing, zoom in and out as you like.

  10. Is it just me or does this option not seem to be available in Europe? I tried in a couple of countries, but all Siri did was Google “what flights are overhead.”

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