FlightTrack Pro App for iPad – Review
FlightTrack Pro, a flight tracking app by Mobiata, offers many useful features that push it to the front rank of flight tracking and reservation apps. However there are still some problems that need to be worked out before the app realizes its full capability.
The basic element of FlightTrack Pro’s interface, which it shares with the regular FlightTrack app, is a gorgeous zoomable world map that not only displays flight routes and the location of flights en-route but also real-time weather patterns. Of course, with its large screen, the Apple iPad is a perfect platform for this feature.
Tracking a flight could not be simpler. To add a flight manually, simply search for a flight number or route. Once selected, the flight route will appear on the world map, and you can track the progress of the flight as it makes its way towards its destination. FlightTrack Pro also integrates with the flight reservation service TripIt. Forward your airline confirmation e-mail to your TripIt account, and the flight automatically appears on FlightTrack.
FlightTrack Pro offers a wealth of information about each flight, flight status, and push notifications (enabled by default) to keep the traveler constantly updated. Flight information can be quickly sent via email to friends and colleagues, or shared on Facebook and Twitter. Other useful features include SeatGuru aircraft seat plans for each flight; alternate flight information; and scheduled, estimated, and actual arrival and departure times. For en-route flights, the app even provides information about altitude and speed. I especially liked the “Delay Forecast,” which shows the probability that a given flight will be delayed based on historical data. That feature, plus the real-time weather tracking, gives the traveler an accurate sense of whether his flight will be on time even before actual delays are announced.
The FlightTrack Pro app also provides detailed information about airports, including terminal maps, current weather conditions and weather forecast, and arrival and departure delays.
The wealth of features and simple interface make a great, albeit somewhat expensive ($9.99) app – in theory, at least. In practice, my experience with FlightTrack Pro was decidedly mixed. On my first test run, the TripIt feature worked brilliantly. However, the SeatGuru feature was inexplicably inoperative for both legs of my trip. More seriously, once I got to the airport the app simply wouldn’t work even though I had a good Internet connection.
On my second test run, I got to see how FlightTrack Pro handled flight delays. I used Executive Road Warrior Editor Jonathan Spira’s American Airlines flight from San Francisco to New York, which was severely delayed. Firing up FlightTrack Pro, I noticed that the scheduled departure time for this flight was 1500 PDT, an hour earlier. Also, the delay was estimated to be 13 minutes – and 1513 had also already passed. Along with this information there was a note that stated, “It’s currently later at the departing airport than the expected departure time and the flight has not yet departed. This might mean that the departure information isn’t available or hasn’t reached one of our data sources yet, but it might also indicate a delay or cancellation.” Yet at the airport, the estimated departure time was 1600 PDT. Clearly, FlightTrack wasn’t in the loop. Theh same message popped up on my United Airlines flight from Chicago to New York.
The app’s superb features and simple interface make it a wonderful tool, but until Mobiata fixes some of the reliability issues, FlightTrack won’t be an indispensable app for the business traveler.