Flighty Pro – A travel app for the anal retentive (like myself)

As a frequent business traveler, I love flight apps and have been using them ever since the beginning of smartphones. They’re great for keeping informed of upcoming flights or those in progress. As they’ve evolved over the years, they’ve added a few features such as Where is my plane?, What gate number?, Is my flight on time, etc. Most are free, supported by a imbedded ads, and it’s getting hard to tell them apart. So when I learned about Flighty Pro, an app that costs $50 per year, I was a bit skeptical. With so many decent free apps, what makes one worth paying for?

One of the immediate benefits of Flighty Pro is that it requires no manual entry. While other apps ask you to enter the flight number and airline, Flightly is completely proactive. Once installed it combs through your email and calendars (or your TripIt app), looking for upcoming flights and then creates a clear, easy to review list called My Flights. That list becomes the home page. It also lets you separate flights in the list 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 that flight, including a bar graph showing its on-time record for the past 60 days, a drawing and designation of the plane type and your plane’s history, and a detailed timeline from taxiing to takeoff to arrival at the gate. 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 starts sending you more notifications. You’ll get a check-in reminder and tracking information of your aircraft for 25 hours prior to flight time, constantly updating the plane’s location and tail number and informing you of any potential issues. Near flight time it displays a live map tracking your inbound aircraft right to the gate, lets you know of any delays, and provides up to date information about departure times and gate. You can select the categories of notifications you’d like to control the number of notifications.

During my testing, I got an alert more than a day in advance of the tail number for an upcoming flight, along with the age of the plane. Not sure I wanted to know that my plane was 28 years old and hasn’t been flying lately. But, I needn’t have worried becase the day of the flight it notified me of a change of aircraft to a newer 22-year old plane. Two days before another upcoming flight, it alerted me of an aircraft type change with a different seat configuration. That allowed me to check on my airline app to be sure my seats weren’t changed.

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 for the past few years.

Flighty Pro also works when you’re on the flight, showing you how much longer until the plane takes off and lands, and displays your path and location. While it works best with a WiFi connection, it estimates location without a connection based on assuming there were no issues. On one flight it said I was taxiing, even though the flight had not yet left the gate. Once you touch down it will tell you how long it will take to get to the gate, where to pick up checked luggage, and and displays a map of the plane taxiing to the gate.

You can try the product for a single flight at no cost or buy the app for $5.99 per month as well as $50 per year. There’s a free version with many fewer features and more in line woth the other free travel apps that I didn’t try.

Flighty Pro excels in retrieving every possible snippet of detail about your upcoming flights, well beyond what other apps provide.You’ll even get a notice when your flight plan is filed.

Is the app worth $50 a year? For frequent travelers that tend to be obsessive about their flight, yes. It’s ability to work proactively relieves the burden of doing it yourself, and its clean elegant interface is the best of any travel app I’ve used. Its ability to get more data from the filed flight plans, FAA alerts, and FAA information makes it more timely than most of other apps. I would recommend trying it before an upcoming flight using their free one-time use.

Below are some of the screenshots from my recent trips:

by Phil Baker