12 Apps of Christmas, Day 3: FlightTrack

Some TechRepublic editors and bloggers highlight their favorite app in this 12 Apps of Christmas series. The third app, recommended by Donovan Colbert, is FlightTrack.



The 3rd app of Christmas that dcolbert gave to you is FlightTrack by Mobiata.

In the spirit of the holidays, we thought we’d create a smartphone series based on a popular Christmas song. The 12 Days of Christmas starts on Christmas Day, but our 12 Apps of Christmas begins today, and we'll continue to post one app per day, leading all the way up to the holiday. However you celebrate this season, and whatever device you own (or platform that it runs on), we hope that you find some gems over the next 12 days -- as these are the apps that the TechRepublic’s editorial staff and bloggers actually use and feel passionate enough to write about. Here's what Donovan Colbert (aka dcolbert) had to say about one of his favorite apps called FlightTrack.

If you travel by air a lot or coordinate with family, friends, or business associates who do, FlightTrack by Mobiata for Android and iOS smart devices is an essential app to add to your library.

With FlightTrack, you simply enter the airline and flight number you're interested in, and you’ll be provided a nearly live stream of all the pertinent data you might desire on any given flight.

I use this app most often to track my wife when she flies on business, because I’m a nervous flyer, even when I’m not the one in the air. The real time flight info shows altitude, airspeed, and even if the plane is encountering inclement weather or diverting around storms.

On a recent flight with Wi-Fi, I was able to connect and track my flight’s position in the air. I find comfort in knowing where I'm at rather than looking out of a window and guessing what state I'm seeing below (Figure A).

Figure A


Figure A

FlightTrack allows you to see the location of the plane.

It also takes a lot of the guesswork out of being ready to meet an expected traveler on arrival at the airport. Although the FCC supposedly delays the feeds by as much as 15 minutes, I’ve found that when I see a plane land on my device, my wife generally calls me almost immediately to let me know that she's arrived. I spend far less time in “Cell Phone Parking Lots,” waiting in the dark for an expected arrival to land and call me to pick them up.

Additional features of FlightTrack include a menu that allows you to find alternative flights (Figure B), call your booking airline, and log a journal of your experiences on the flight. You can save frequent flights and have them ready to view as soon as you launch the app. 

Figure B


Figure B

FlightTrack features.

FlightTrack is by no means the only app in this crowded field -- and Mobiata includes a Pro version with even more features -- so, I’d encourage you to experiment to find the app in this category that works best for you. Personally, I’ve been very happy with the performance and features of FlightTrack. 

Do you use FlightTrack or another travel app? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

TechRepublic's 12 Apps of Christmas



Donovan Colbert has over 16 years of experience in the IT Industry. He's worked in help-desk, enterprise software support, systems administration and engineering, IT management, and is a regular contributor for TechRepublic. Currently, his profession...


I have used Flight Track in the past and liked it.

Ironically the free version was eliminated on the same day this was published (12/15). I found out when I just upgraded my phone and tried to re-install.


FlightAware FTW. Windows Phone & Windows 8 experience is awesome.

Too bad TechRepublic isn't choosing apps that target all 3 major mobile OSes.


@bc3tech Thank you for sharing FlightAware with me. And, yes, there are 3 major mobile OSes. I don't understand why TechRepublic is ignoring Metro either.


@mpls-man @bc3tech  I use FlightAware as well - and it has some great features that FlightTrack is missing... but FlightAware has some issues too. This was a request by my editor for a very small, short piece about one of my FAVORITE apps that I use all the time, that works on mobile devices. 

FlightTrack was what I was most familiar with. That was the deciding factor - not if it was Windows 8, Android or iOS. It was about what app fit the request best, that I would be able to write the best small article about, because I was the most familiar with it.  

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