FlightTrack has been the frequent traveler's go-to app for five years, and now developer Mobiata has come out with a new version that offers a new iOS 7-friendly streamlined user interface and new features. FlightTrack 5 (introductory price of US$2.99, $4.99 starting December 1, 2013) replaces three previous versions of the venerable iPhone app; there's no longer a free version, but the expanded feature set of the new release makes it well worth the purchase. The folks at Mobiata have blogged about their decision to get away from the free app and what influenced the new version.
The app now provides real-time alerts for flight departure and arrival times, delays and gate numbers. No more will you be sitting at a gate waiting for your flight, only to hear that you need to run across the airport to another gate -- FlightTrack 5 will provide you not only with notifications, but also terminal maps to guide you to your new gate.
There's a new option to group flights into trips, and to customize those trip names. This is useful for those situations where you may be taking two or three flights to reach your destination. If friends or family are using FlightTrack 5, you can see who is traveling on a specific flight. Flight info can be shared with your friends and family through email, text messaging, Twitter and Facebook.
Since inflight WiFi has become widely available, FlightTrack 5 now presents you with info on flights that offer on-board wireless (provided the data is available from the airline). Rather than just a straight line between two points, the updated app now shows actual scheduled flight paths, which are displayed on detailed zoomable maps with satellite imagery and weather radar information.
If you have a need to find info on flights departing or arriving from more than 3,000 airports worldwide, FlightTrack 5 will do the job for you.
As in previous versions, you can tap a button or shake your phone to grab a random flight to follow. I often do this when I'm feeling the urge to travel somewhere, as it's fun to see when flights to exotic locations are leaving and arriving. Flight information is color-coded so you know with a glance if a flight is on time (green), late (orange), canceled (red) or if the status is unknown (blue).
While some may grumble about the lack of a free version of FlightTrack, the app is definitely worth the cost for frequent travelers, even at the $4.99 regular price. Be sure to pick it up before your holiday travels.