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Natalie Tips & Tricks by

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Track Flights Via Message App & Flight Number

If you want to watch the worldwide flight traffic live on your iPhone, you can purchase one of the numerous apps in the App Store. For example the app Flightradar24 offers these functions for $3.99. If you want to track only single flights though, it is not worth it to purchase the app. Since iOS 10 you can use the Message app and a flight number to track flights easily, even with a visual map.

Prerequisites

First you need iOS 10 or later on your iPhone, because the earlier versions didn’t know what to do with flight numbers.

In addition you’ll of course need a flight number. This will consist of the airline code (e.g. “AA” for American Airlines, “HA” for Hawaiian Airlines, etc.) and a series of numbers. The flight numbers are on boarding passes, flight tickets and confirmation mails of the booking.

Flight tracking in Message app

If a person sends you a flight number and iOS detects it as such, the flight number will be shown as a link (underlined). Click the flight number and choose Preview Flight. The alternative way is to press firmly to use the 3D Touch.

Tip: If iOS does not detect the flight number, it is probably the wrong format. There should not be a space between the letters and numbers – e.g. “AA1274” instead of “AA 1274”. If this short version doesn’t work, the sender can try to write the full name of the airline (e.g. “American Airlines 1274” instead of “AA1274”). In this case, the space between letters and numbers was necessary in our test.

The flight will be displayed visually in the Message app. Besides the map, you will see the status and the delay, as well as the airport with Terminals and Gates and the expected arrival time.

Tap the airport code to zoom into the map.

Tap the departure or arrival time to see the flight duration or the time until arrival.

Click the Done button in the top right corner to close the flight tracker and return to the Message app.

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