Tap That App is a monthly segment where we feature an app our editors think is cool.
Countless apps let you track flights and check departure updates nowadays, but we like Flight Aware for three reasons: it’s free, it has a great user interface and it loads ‘quickly’ with or without a VPN (we are still talking about Chinese Internet here).
Signing in is a breeze – mostly because you don’t have to. Creating an account is optional.
Open the app and a map of the world will emerge first, along with what looks like a mass of tiny paper airplanes. These are all of the planes currently in the sky, including both commercial aircraft and private jets.
You can tap any of them to see where they’re heading (fun for about two minutes), or input the information of a specific flight to view its current trajectory (useful for family members who worry when you fly).
If you’re still poolside and counting down the minutes until you have to leave for the airport, open Flight Aware to check your flight’s status and boarding gate in advance. You can also see how the weather is affecting your departure airport – including the total number of delays and average wait time – to estimate the likelihood that your flight time will change.
The only downside to Flight Aware is that it still doesn’t offer an Apple Watch extension. For our plugged-in readers who prefer an app that does, we recommend FlightStats, App in the Air or FlightRadar24. The last one lets you identify any airplane in the sky simply by pointing your camera at it. Talk about badass.
Available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Visit flightaware.com for more info.
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