Just as I’m obsessed with miles and points, I also have an unhealthy interest in commercial aviation. That’s to say that I love learning everything about planes, including those that I’m flying on, as well as those I just see overhead.
Along those lines, there’s one app that I use more than any other, and that’s Flightradar24. I don’t know how many dozens of times per day I open this. While I write about Flightradar24 all the time in passing, I figure it’s time for a dedicated post about this awesome app.
In this post:
How & why I constantly use the Flightradar24 app
Flightradar24 is a flight tracking app that I use every single day. The basic version is free, and then you can pay a monthly fee to get more features, no ads, etc.
I can’t even begin to describe how often I use Flightradar24. I use it when I’m at the airport. I use it when I’m at home. I use it when I’m at restaurants. I use it every time I see a plane. Heck, I constantly use it even if I don’t see a plane.
On the basic level, Flightradar24 puts into perspective how incredible our modern aviation infrastructure is. You can see every plane that’s flying everywhere in the world, and you can zoom out to see the “tracks” over the Atlantic, the Middle East, etc.
You can click on each individual aircraft, and see what kind of a plane it is, where it’s coming from, where it’s going, what altitude it’s at, and how long it’s flying for.
One of the things that I love about living in Miami is that so many parts of the city are under the approach (or departure) path for the airport, so I see airplanes all day, no matter where I am. I constantly check Flightradar24 to see where planes are coming from and going. Though the truth is that for many of our daily arrivals and departures, I already know where a plane is headed based on the engine noise, time, etc.
I also enjoy using Flightradar24 when at airports. For example, if I’m departing from an airport, I’ll check Flightradar24 prior to heading there, just to see how many departures there are around the same time, allowing me to estimate how busy the airport will be. I always try to review airport lounges when they’re empty, so I’ll try to predict crowding based on the number of flights at a particular time.
When you’re getting ready to depart, keeping an eye on your plane on Flightradar24 can also be useful in terms of figuring out the departure runway, how many aircraft will be ahead of you for takeoff, etc.
I also enjoy checking how long a flight is likely to actually be in the air based on pulling up the same flight on Flightradar24 in the days prior. This also helps with getting a good sense of the on time performance, based on whether there’s a green, orange, or red dot next to the flight.
The Flightradar24 website is great as well
Flightradar24 isn’t just an app, but it’s also has a website. I primarily use the app because I enjoy flight tracking most while I’m on the go. However, the website has all the same information, just presented differently. For situations where I’m curious to see patterns over time, I find the website easier to use.
For example, if I wanted to look at Starlux Airlines’ flight from Los Angeles to Taipei, I can see for weeks at a time what the average flight time is, what the average arrival time is, etc.
Flightradar24 is the app that I use more than any other. Commercial aviation never ceases to amaze me, even when I’m not traveling. Every time I look overhead and see a plane, I can’t help but open the Flightradar24 app and take a look at all the details.
Honestly, probably my favorite thing about Florida summers is when there’s a thunderstorm in Miami, and I can then watch all the aircraft divert away from there and fly to other airports. Afterwards it’s then always fun to watch the Qatar Airways 777, British Airways A380, Lufthansa 747, etc., make their way from Tampa, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, etc. Of course I feel bad for those onboard and don’t love the wasted resources, but the logistics are just fascinating to watch.
Anyone else love Flightradar24 as much as I do?