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Flighty – A proactive travel app

It seems as if I’ve been using flight apps ever since the beginning of apps. They’ve been great for keeping informed of my upcoming flights or flights I meet to pick up friends and relatives. As they’ve evolved over the years, they’ve added features such as Where is my plane?, What gate number?, Is my flight on time, etc. Most have been free, suppoerted by a few imbedded ads. So when I learned about Flighty, an app that costs $49 per year for all its benefits, I was a bit skeptical. What new features that I couldn’t get on other apps would make it worth the cost?

One of the immediate benefits is it requires no setup at all. While other apps ask you to enter the flight and airline, Flightly is completely proactive. Once installed it combs through your email and calendar looking for upcoming flights and creates a clear, easy to review list labeled as My Flights. (It notes that it does not retain your information). It lets you move flights that are not yours – such as a flight that you are meeting – to another list called “Friends’ Flights.” If you click on an upcoming flight, you’ll see a wealth of information about the flight, including a bar graph showing its on-time record for the past 60 days, a drawing of the plane type, a detailed timeline from taxiing to takeoff to arrival. There’s also a list of alternative flights, a history of your past flights on the same route, and links to the airline’s phone, website, and social sites.

Once you get closer to flight time, the app goes into real action. You’ll get push alerts to remind you to check in and an entirely new set of information appears that shows where your aircraft is for 25 hours prior to flight time, constantly updating the plane’s location. It displays a live map tracking your inbound aircraft right to the gate, lets you know of any delays, and provide you with up to date information about departure time, gate, etc. It even shows you the tail number of the flight.

When you first install the app, it not only searches your calendar for upcoming flights, but also searches for your past flights and provides a detailed log of your travel, year by year, going back throughout your calendar.

Flighty also works when you’re on the flight, showing you how much longer until the plane lands, and displays your path and location. While it works better with a WiFi connection on your flight, it will estimate location even without a connection. When you land it will tell you how long it will take to get to the gate and where your luggage can be retrieved.

There’s also a free version the has many fewer features. You can also try the paid version for a single flight at no cost or buy the app for a $5.99 per month.

So is the app worth $50 a year? For frequent travelers absolutely yes. It’s ability to work proactively relieves a lot of stress, and its clean elegant interface is the best of any travel app. Its ability to get more data from the filed flight plans, FAA alerts, and FAA information makes it much more timely than most of other apps of its type. And for those that use Tripit, the apps can be synced.