December 4, 2010 | Andy Boxall
The opportunity to review FlightTrack Pro and its sister application, FlightBoard, came just at the right time, as under normal circumstances this review would be based around a fake scenario created for the purposes of evaluation. However, it just so happened that my wife was heading off on business and the journey would involve several long haul flights to destinations she’d never been to before. This provided the opportunity to try the two out in the real world.
FlightTrack Pro contains the details of almost every commercial flight happening throughout the world, allowing users to check live departure times, arrival estimates, flight durations, weather conditions at the destination and so much more. To find your flight you only need the airline and where you’re flying from and to, or of course, the flight number; which you enter on a search screen and the app will find your flights.
Flightboard can be used to search for your flight too. This application is the iPhone equivalent to the arrivals and departures board at an airport, and again, almost any airport in the world can be selected. FlightBoard is integrated with FlightTrack Pro in several ways, but it’s not essential to its functionality; rather just a helpful addition to it.
Back to FlightTrack Pro. With your flight selected, if you’re at the airport already then the app will show a map to all of the airport’s gates, any delays and via FlightBoard; live check-in, gate and departure information too. If you’re in the USA, FAA flight data will also be shown. If, like me, you were watching someone else’s flight, then the map showing the approximate location of the plane once it’s in the air is helpful, as are the live arrival times.
Developers Mobiata appear to have thought of everything for FlightTrack Pro, as it features every last piece of information you could possibly want on your flight, right down to the seating plan of your plane! Combined with FlightBoard, it becomes even more powerful too, giving you freedom at the airport instead of staring at the departure board waiting for your gate to appear.
My experience was excellent. The app found the flights everytime even though I only knew the airports and airlines, the map was very reassuring and the arrival/departure times were accurate. It instantly updated when the app was reopened, and even though I wasn’t there, I could track connecting flights and relay information when needed. A handy thing when landing at an airport where you don’t speak the local language.
Of course, FlightTrack Pro will predominantly be used by the person actually flying, but we can envisage the app being very useful to anyone who regularly depends on flight information for their job, from a chauffeur to a personal assistant, too.
Although FlightTrack Pro’s natural habitat is on the iPhone – where it looks great, by the way – it also looks fantastic on the iPad and as it’s a universal app, you don’t have to purchase it twice. Obviously it’s not a graphical showcase, but all the important information on both versions is clear, concise and presented in a suitably large font.
The only negative aspect of so much information is finding it, and there can be a lot of digging about in menus to do in FlightTrack Pro, while in FlightBoard, we would have liked to see the option of displaying not only the countries three-letter code, but its actual name too.
I get the feeling I only scratched the surface of FlightTrack Pro (iTunes link), but it was clear it should be considered an invaluable app for the frequent flyer or those who work with them. While I was using it, version 4.0 was pushed out and changed the UI and a lot more – all for the better – and while the $9.99/£ price tag may sound high, for once it’s entirely justified. On its own there is probably enough information for the average user, but if you really want to stay informed, add FlightBoard (iTunes link) for $3.99/£ too. We highly recommended them both!