Flightradar24: The Ultimate App For AvGeeks

Flightradar24: The Ultimate App For AvGeeks

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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.

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.

Flightradar24 app
Flightradar24 app

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.

Flightradar24 app

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.

Flightradar24 app

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.

Flightradar24 app

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.

Flightradar24 app

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 website
Flightradar24 website

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (36)
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  1. Carrie Gold

    I am an appallingly amateur at air travel but I absolutely love this App and is an amazing way to quickly learn 'stuff' for the uninitiated.

  2. Chris Guest

    Btw, if you don't like downloading random code onto your phone the website works just as great, if not better when used on a laptop with more screen real estate.

  3. Willie Guest

    You need not pay to get the upgraded features of FlightAware and FlightRADAR24; These data aggregators need your data and will trade access to their systems for your data. One of their sources of data is ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast) radio messages. You can build a ADS-B receiver (https://www.flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/build/) and host it in your home or office. If you are in an area of the world where they need coverage FlightAware will even give you...

    You need not pay to get the upgraded features of FlightAware and FlightRADAR24; These data aggregators need your data and will trade access to their systems for your data. One of their sources of data is ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast) radio messages. You can build a ADS-B receiver (https://www.flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/build/) and host it in your home or office. If you are in an area of the world where they need coverage FlightAware will even give you the hardware. The cost to build is less that $200 bucks (I would recommend a good antenna and signal filter for best results). This is also a rabbit hole that will suck you in; I currently feed FlightAware, FlightRADAR24 and PlaneFinder with my data.

  4. Tee Jay Guest

    I confess, I'm a Flightradar24 gold level junkie. I particularly like the weather radar overlays that gold offers in order to see how storms affect air traffic. 365 day flight history, 25 saved filters, aeronautical charts, and oceanic tracks are also big pluses.

  5. JimmyBoy Guest

    You write an entire article and don't even mention the 3D button on the bottom left of any flight you click on? Allows you to see the plane's view using google earth. Spin around and you see every flight near the plane. I use this while flying all the time. Watching the approach to the runway is cool.
    It's a great app but cumbersome to search for some things. That's why I still use FlightAware for quick searches.

  6. Peter Guest

    I live in kenya . I watch planes flying over my home everyday on flight radar 24 to various destinations in Europe. Others from mauritius to Europe very exciting.

  7. Kor Guest

    Also great one is my.flightradar24.com which allows user to log it's own flights and later see all kind of statistic (flights per year, per day, plane type etc)

    1. diego Guest

      very cumbersome model, all manual. I think we need a better solution. FLIGTHYAPP may be the one that brings this in the near future.

    2. Kor Guest

      Not sure what you mean "all manual"? I do regret it is only available in browser, no app, but its very simple and clean interface.
      I wanted to check FlightyAPP but available only for iPhone... so, can not compare

  8. PietervdW New Member

    Also Ben - I think if a person follows you it is safe to say they are some level of Av-Geek and the possibility is near 100% that they will use this app, even if they use the free version! :-)

  9. PietervdW New Member

    My 20-year-old (aspiring pilot) son and I also often spend hours on the app. People mentioned how, when a plane passes overhead the 2 of us almost as in sync grab our phones and talk about the plane!
    This is a valuable tool for any av-geek, wanna-be av-geek, frequent traveler, or any like that!

    I also use it before a flight to note the plane tail # to add to my log book and...

    My 20-year-old (aspiring pilot) son and I also often spend hours on the app. People mentioned how, when a plane passes overhead the 2 of us almost as in sync grab our phones and talk about the plane!
    This is a valuable tool for any av-geek, wanna-be av-geek, frequent traveler, or any like that!

    I also use it before a flight to note the plane tail # to add to my log book and even to see whether I've flown on it before. Also often flying with EK from JNB (home) it is handy to see whether the plane has left DXB on time and whether I should rush to the airport etc.

    Just using the silver membership which is good enough.

    1. vtvoyager787 Member

      I use my.flightradar24.com to log my flights. If I log my flight after departure (instead of before), the registration no. of the equipment is automatically populated.

    2. vtvoyager787 Member

      Has anyone been able to use the “Friends” function on my.flighradar24.com?

  10. AD Diamond

    I got hooked on FlightRadar24 when we stayed at the IC Tahiti and had the overwater bungalow at the end with a view of the airport and the flight path. I was fascinated by the small (private) plane traffic all night even though scheduled flights end before dark. Still don't know if those were cargo flights refreshing the islands, wealthy folks flying private or... something else.

  11. Here Hare Guest

    Ben, do you use/will you post on TripIt? Although not an AV geek app, it's a fantastic tool for sharing all details on a trip with family/friends, and consolidates a complex agenda simply and efficiently. Free version is usually all most travelers need.

  12. stvr Guest

    Is it worth upgrading the app and paying?

    1. Here Hare Guest

      Silver, very modest investment, is worth it. Try that for free for 7 days, then cancel if you don't like it *but $13 a year is peanuts to get better flight history and no ads*

  13. FtLaudFlyer Guest

    Ben - big fan also! Check JetBlue 1825 from FLL-LIM yesterday 9/19. Flew around the Caribbean for ~5(!!) hours before diverting to MCO, eventually made it to Lima. Any idea why? I can’t find anything.

  14. TravelinWilly Diamond

    I've fallen down FR24 rabbit holes that have sucked far more of my time than YouTube rabbit holes...

    It's a great site/app, and I'm on it multiple times a day...

    1. John Guest

      When you're still living in your parent's dank basement at age 47, I suppose FR24 must be a source of comfort to you. Just like the original 90s Super Nintendo and your WalMart Jumbo sized potato chips..

    2. wpcoe Member

      I'm not 47 (much older) nor do I live in anybody's basement, but I, too, spend way to much time on FR24 than is reasonable at times. Far too often, in fact. But I have been a av geek since the mid-1960s. So, there's that.

    3. PietervdW New Member

      Same this side. I can spend hours on it

  15. Neuron Guest

    I am even using it inflight (expensive but I want to know what plane is passing below).

  16. Adam Rubin Guest

    While enjoying all the features mentioned in the post, the most used and needed feature for me is tracking assigned aircrafts for my routes on the day of travel. Often seeing delays on the aircraft on previous legs prior to my flight will be first warning of a delay long before any airline care to notify passengers…

  17. JB Guest

    I also use myFlightRadar24 to keep track of my own travels! That would also be a great idea for a post. Or if you have another/better platform where you can track your flights, write about that please!

    1. nate nate Guest

      I came here to post the same thing (although I'm too invested in myFR24 to switch to a new platform. I only wish I discovered it sooner. I think I have all my flights going back 8 years, but wish I could put all of my flights (or at least all of my flights past a milestone, like graduating from college) in there.

      For those interested, the URL is https://my.flightradar24.com

  18. TheRubioRoom Member

    I mostly default to using FlightAware to see what's overhead, track a friend's flight, see how an upcoming flight I'm taking performed in recent days, etc. What am I missing over at Flightradar24? I'm honestly not sure, I've just always defaulted to FlightAware.

    1. GeekyFlyer Guest

      Flightradar24 has much better coverage around the world that FA. Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania.
      US and Canada are a bit better on FA. Feature-wise FR24 is better and also the user experience.

  19. MildJuan Member

    Not sure if you can do this on the app, but they provide tail numbers on the website for flights so you can track where your plane is coming from, and if there is a swap, etc.. This feature can be very helpful during irrops.

  20. Ira N. Guest

    I'm with you on this. I use it all the time. I once spent a few hours in transit at EWR and was able to track all the comings and goings. Great fun!

  21. Miami Mike Guest

    FlightTracher24 is perfect to see the incoming aircraft (1), to see how much equipment is ahead of ones own flight on tarmac (2) and simple "whats that above me?".

  22. VT-CIE Diamond

    I think the website does many things that the app can’t, as it allows you to view all routes out of an airport or all routes operated by an airline, as well as fleet guides to all airlines, which isn’t available on the app. One odd thing I’d note is that the search function in the iOS app is limited to showing only16results at a time; on Android, it increases to 25.

  23. Mr Nomad Guest

    I've been a user for years. While living near Puebla Mexico earlier this year the nearby volcano Popocatepetl was erupting daily, constantly dumping ash on us. I would check the app each morning for the ash fallout direction estimate, a feature that can be enabled in the settings. I also like the alert feature for interesting flights, such as the first test flights of a new plane model.

  24. Creditcrunch Diamond

    It’s a great App, another cool feature is the “most tracked” aircraft feature visible by pulling down the line under the search bar.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

JB Guest

I also use myFlightRadar24 to keep track of my own travels! That would also be a great idea for a post. Or if you have another/better platform where you can track your flights, write about that please!

4
TravelinWilly Diamond

I've fallen down FR24 rabbit holes that have sucked far more of my time than YouTube rabbit holes... It's a great site/app, and I'm on it multiple times a day...

3
Peter Guest

I live in kenya . I watch planes flying over my home everyday on flight radar 24 to various destinations in Europe. Others from mauritius to Europe very exciting.

2
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