Real-Time Flight Tracking

Want to check on the status of a flight that’s currently in the air? The major search engines and other specialized services offer real-time flight tracking services that show you the status of major airline flights.

Yahoo, Google and Ask Jeeves offer information about where a flight is enroute and when it will be landing. To use these shortcuts, simply enter an airline and flight number into a search box.

Here are a few examples:

Most of this data applies to flights in the U.S. and Canadian aviation systems. However, you’ll also often see information about European or Asian flight heading to the U.S. or Canada. Exceptions do exist and not every service provides access to every airline.

Other services, aside from the airline sites themselves, provide near real-time tracking info with data direct from FAA computers and other sources.

Flight Tracking Services:

  • RLM Systems/ lets you search for flights by airline and flight number or by city and time. Be sure to check out the airport traffic map which shows flights going into and out of major U.S. cities.
  • FlyteCom/WebTrax provides flight tracking, and also provides information about all flights between an arrival and departure airport you specify.
  • Flight Explorer FastTrack offers a number of different ways to track flights in addition to airline and flight number.
  • offers many services for flying geeks, including a “airspace navigator” toolbar. Most services require a free subscription to access.

Need mobile flight tracking info? Here are a few options.

Mobile Flight Tracking Services:

  • (Mobile Web, SMS)
  • Synfonic (SMS)
  • Rovenet Flight Checker (Mobile Web). Unlike other mobile web flight checkers, this service gives all sorts of data like altitude, air speed, direction and other info typically found only web-based services.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Agency also provides airport delay and status reports for all major U.S. airports via the Fly FAA site. You can also access this information from your cell phone via the Mobile Access to Fly FAA service.

A new service I’ve just been playing with for a week or so looks likely to become my favorite web based flight tracking tool. FlightAware offers flight tracking, data analysis, statistics, and graphs, mobile access and a ton of other features. Impressive!

Flight information is becoming easier to get online. For example, Google now offers offering direct links to online travel databases (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz) if city pairs are placed in the web search box. This is different than the flight info “shortcuts,” “Smart Answers,” and so on that most of the major web engines, the airlines themselves, and others have been offering for several years.

Search Headlines

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