April 12, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Thanks to Android, I spend a great deal of time in airports. In fact, attending tech conferences and press events for Android phones has made it so I haven’t gone more than two months without going through TSA security checks since 2009.
Even if you aren’t on a plane as often as I am, FlightBoard and FlightTrack are good apps to have on your Android phone or tablet. FlightBoard gives your phone immediate access to thousands of flight schedules at nearly 4,000 airports throughout the world. Users can choose an airport to see terminal locations and departure or arrival time. The information is updated every five minutes, so you’ll be updated if a flight is delayed or will arrive sooner than a scheduled time. FlightBoard also has easy share functions to email someone an update about your flight or even push that information to the Android share function.
Flightboard also links to FlightTrack, another app developed by Mobiata. FlightTrack monitors flight time, and it uses weather forecasts to predict the likelihood of delays. FlightTrack also shows Seat Maps and Aircraft models, which can help you figure out where you can sit. Imagine you’re a Delta customer interested in an upgrade: FlightTrack will show when you’re on a larger flight that as seats open in business class, so you can consider if you move to a premium seat or at least change to a better seat in economy class. There’s also a homescreen widget to keep you up-to-date with your flight status, weather forecasts for departing or arriving city, and a map – live or forecast – of your flight(s).
Both FlightBoard and FlightTrack are nifty apps that I love, but I’m disappointed that they are split up into separate experiences. While I admire the smooth link of jumping from one app to another, the fact that both cost money makes me think that they should be integrated into one app. The cost forces people to choose only one because $9 is a little excessive unless you frequent the airline once a month. Someone who constantly changes flights or needs to monitor a schedule similar to what’s seen in an airport might consider FlightBoard ($3.99), but FlightTrack ($4.99) is the better option because it offers more features that you’re likely to use when traveling.
(Note: Don’t take gate information as gospel. Some airlines change gates faster than apps will reflect. Pay attention to announcements in the airport.)
- Departure and arrival time update every 5 minutes
- Live wallpaper showing flightboard for an airport
- Tablet-optimized for larger screens or phones
- Share flight information
- See terminal and gate info
- Real-time stats of flight delays or cancellations
- Homescreen widget with flight status
- Maps showing weather forecast and live flight track
- Share flight info with contacts or Android share function
- Seat guru to show plane model and seat availability