Review: Flight Update
Okay, we all fly (or at least most of us do). And almost everyone wants to be kept up to date with their latest flight information. We want to know about delays, mostly. Especially if we are waiting to pick people up.
Flight Update lets you track those, and it does a whole lot more.
With Flight Update, you can enter specific flights, or even create whole trips and keep track of any up to date information (either at the airport, or about the actual flight itself).
Let's start with "Instaflight". Instaflight lets you look at the instant information for any given flight. You can enter the airline, flight number, and/or date, and get an instant status update. Once you get the status, you can then email it to someone (say, the person who is picking you up). One drawback with "Instaflight" that I found was that you can not then add the flight to the ones you are tracking - this is a one time data search. Also, you can't look it up via the airport - you need the flight number and date. So this aspect of the program is really for just a quick look to make sure everything is okay.
The main way to track flights is using the "trip" feature. With the trip feature, you can add a trip, choosing the start date and the end date. One feature that jumped out was the ability to add a confirmation number. (Unfortunately, you can't automatically add the flight information based on a confirmation number search - this would be very beneficial, and maybe it will get added to future update!). You create a name for each trip, as include information about what it is regarding, and notes. Personally, having "notes" and "regarding" seems a little redundant to me, since they are both just text fields. From what I have seen, most flight trackers simply track individual flights, so I like this feature of adding "trips" rather than just random flights.
Once you create a trip, you can then add the particulars about the flight information. To add flight information, you choose the airline, the date, and the flight number. If there are multiple potential starting/ending points, you are then asked to specify them. Once you add the data, the program automatically updates the information, one the summary screen it includes the layover you may have (this is nice to know!). You can tap on any flight to get detailed information - arrival, departure, airtime, type of air craft, and even where the plane is on a map!
The information for the application also indicates you can get baggage claim information, seating information, gate, and meal information. However, I didn't find any of this when I was using the program. There are two possibilities - one, some of that information is only available when the flight is within a certain time period (this may be especially true about the baggage claim information), and two, it could be that only certain airlines include seating and/or meal information. One nice feature is that you can email updates if someone is going to pick you up.
Unfortunately, you are not able to add information about a single flight. You can do a "insta search" to get updated information, but you can't add it to the tracking data. So if you are scheduled to pick someone up at the airport and only have the flight information for their leg directly to the airport, there is no way to add just that one flight - you have to create a trip with a start and end date, and then just add that one leg of the flight.
Pros: Add trips instead of individual flights, easy to add information, can email updates
Cons: Can't add individual flights, some airlines lacking seating information, can't add flight data just from a confirmation number
All in all, this seems like a pretty full-featured flight tracker. I can't really comment on the information that is missing, since it might be time sensitive and/or airline limited. (Side note, I will try to remember to check for baggage and gate information and post a follow-up). At $5.99 it is not a cheap program, and I wish it had a few more features for that price (mostly the ability to just track one flight, not a whole trip!). Based on my current data, I give it three and a half out of five stars, but I may upgrade that if I can find gate, meal, and baggage information when I fly tomorrow! (Do they even have any meals anymore?!?)
EDIT: While I was still missing baggage claim information, during or after my flight I was able ot see information about the airline seating (for one of my planes) as well as what gate I was arriving at (very useful for planning my transfer from one plane to another). Because of these added bits, I am increasing my rating from three and a half to four stars, although I still coudn't see any baggage claim information, and the other cons I had are still valid.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.