6 Best Ways to Track a Flight Online

Airline trackers let you follow planes online

aircraft orbiting a globe showing America

Dieter Spannknebel / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Flight tracker websites let you follow a plane from the time it leaves until it reaches its destination. There are several reasons you might want to use a flight tracking site.

A website that lets you track your flight is helpful for many reasons: stay up to date on your flight's schedule, including delays and weather, see where you are in the air in real time, and for some flight trackers, you can even find parking deals for when you arrive.

You can also use an online flight tracker to trace another person's flight or even to just view all the air traffic in your area or monitor a specific airport's congestion.

FlightAware

FlightAware website

What We Like

  • Lots of ways to find flights.

  • Tons of useful information.

  • Really easy to use.

  • Sign up someone else for email alerts about your flight.

What We Don't Like

  • All the information might be overwhelming.

  • Some features require a premium account.

FlightAware is one of the best online flight trackers because of how much detail it goes into.

You can, of course, find a specific flight by its flight number or you can perform a general search using the origin and destination airport, which is useful if you want to see all the flights moving in and out of those locations of if you don't know the flight number.

The results can be filtered in a number of ways: flight type, status, airline, departure day and time, arrival day and time, alliance, and even the specific aircraft.

Once you've chosen a specific flight to follow, you'll have access to a ton of information:

  • A progress bar indicating the time it will take to get from one gate to the next, including local times.
  • The aircraft's flight history.
  • The filed, actual, and estimated flight path on a map.
  • A detailed report of where the plane has been during its flight, including coordinates.
  • The average time it takes a taxi to reach the airport.

You can sign up a friend for notifications so that they'll get email alerts as the flight progresses. They'll be alerted when the flight plan is filed, when the flight departs and arrives, and if the flight is delayed, cancelled, or diverted.

The FlightAware airline tracker also details cancellations today and two days in the past and future. Flight cancellations are even portrayed visually on their MiseryMap.

This plane tracker has a really cool real time, live flight tracker, too, for every plane in the air. Scroll around the map to see all the planes moving right now, and select any of them for more information.

FlightAware can be used from their desktop website or via the FlightAware mobile app.

flightview

flightview website

What We Like

  • Locate flight numbers.

  • View a live flight map.

  • Lets you send flight information to flightview via email.

What We Don't Like

  • Poorly designed website.

  • Lots of ads.

flightview gives you the option of tracking flights by route or flight number. If you know the flight number, you can find the flight easily, or you can search the airports and departure date to locate the flight number.

The information flightview provides about your flight is straightforward and to the point. See the departure and arrival airport, time estimates, airport info (e.g., parking, delays, weather), and local services such as limos.

Something you'll get with this online flight tracker is flightview live!, which is a large map that details where the plane is right now. On the map is the path the plane will follow and basic details about the trip, such as scheduled and estimated departure and arrival times, the aircraft type, and the plane's altitude and speed.

A unique feature in flightview that makes tracking flights really easy, is that you can forward your itineraries to a special email address to automatically have the flight details loaded into your account, ready for you to track at any time. For this, you need to sign up for a free user account.

flightview also includes a Hipmunk search tool that shows hotel deals that you can take advantage of wherever the plane will land.

There's a mobile flightview site you can access to use it from your phone, or you can install the flightview mobile app.

FlightArrivals

FlightArrivals website

What We Like

  • Several ways to find flights.

  • Tons of flight-related material.

What We Don't Like

  • Stale website design.

  • No mobile app.

  • Flight map doesn't refresh automatically.

  • Lots of ads.

FlightArrivals is the Swiss Army Knife of online flight trackers. The website isn't the greatest to look at, and there are probably more ads than there needs to be for one site, but there are lots of tools you can use to find and track flights.

This free flight tracker lets you search for both commercial and general flight information. Just enter the flight number and airline, or the tail number for general aviation flights, and then the date of departure to learn more about the flight.

You can also use this online flight tracker to find flights arriving at specific airports, for flights between two airports, airport delays, airport maps, route maps for selected airports, seat maps, model information for various aircraft, airline information, various flight-related statistics, and much more.

FlightStats

FlightStats website

What We Like

  • Attractive website design.

  • Easy-to-use flight tracker.

  • Search by route, flight, or airport.

What We Don't Like

  • Flight alerts aren't free.

  • Displays ads.

  • Must pay for other features that are free in similar trackers.

Another way to track flights from all around the world is with FlightStats. It's a super useful site that, in addition to flight information, offers customized map overlays, weather conditions of the airports, and airport delay maps. You can track specific flights in real time or even pull up a random flight.

FlightStats displays flight information beautifully, but there are several features that are missing and only available if you pay for them. For example, some online flight trackers provide departure and arrival information, flight alerts, and historical searches for free. FlightStats includes those features only if you pay.

Flightradar24

FlightRadar24 live map

What We Like

  • Really neat live flight map.

  • Free mobile flight tracker apps.

  • Includes basic tracking features.

What We Don't Like

  • Times out after 30 minutes of inactivity.

  • Ad-heavy website.

  • Most map customizations aren't free.

FlightRadar24 is an utterly fascinating website that lets you watch live air traffic on a map. Select any of the aircraft icons for up-to-date information including the scheduled and actual departure and arrival times, aircraft type, and altitude.

Another way to find a specific flight instead of sifting through the map is to use the search box at the top of the site. Enter any flight number to instantly locate the plane on the map.

In the map settings are some options you can customize, such as to change the map style, adjust the brightness, change the aircraft icon size, show volcanic eruption ash clouds that could impact flights, and more.

Several other features, flight details, and map options are available if you pay for Flightradar24, such as the speed of the plane, wind and temperature readings, the age of the aircraft, weather overlays, and flight alerts.

Here's how they gather their data:

Flightradar24 combines data from several data sources including ADS-B, MLAT and radar data. The ADS-B, MLAT and radar data is aggregated together with schedule and flight status data from airlines and airports to create a unique flight tracking experience

Google's Flight Tracker

Flight lookup using Google Search

What We Like

  • Works right from Google Search.

  • Shows important details.

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't work for some flight numbers.

  • Most flight trackers have a map; this one doesn't.

If you have the flight number and airline of the flight you're interested in tracking, you can simply enter this information into Google for a quick update of the flight status, when the flight arrives, where it came from, and where it's going, as well as terminal and gate information.

Please know, however, that Google pulls this information from other flight tracker websites, some of which are listed above.

Using the Google flight tracker is different than Google's Flights service where you can track flight prices and purchase plane tickets.