Track Flights Via Message App & Flight Number

Flight tracker vis Message app and flight numberIf you want to watch the worldwide flight traffic live on your iPhone, you can purchase one of the numerous apps to track flights in the App Store. If you want to track only single flights though, it is not worth it to purchase the app. You can use the Messages app and a flight number to track flights easily on your iPhone, even with a visual map.


For this trick you will 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.

Screenshots show how to open the flight tracker in Message app

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. Then 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.

Screenshots show how to get different information about the flight

Do you travel a lot or plan to go on vacation? Check out our recommendations for the best travel apps for iPhone.