Version Reviewed: 1.2
iPhone Integration [rating:4/5]
User Interface [rating:5/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:3/5]
A flight tracking application is nothing new to the App Store. People track flights for a variety of reasons - be it that their friends or family are flying somewhere, or whether it's just to find out what is in the sky and where. As technology advances, it is expected that we are able to do all of these things, such as tracking flights, with minimal effort. Therefore, Mobiata needed a unique selling point for their application to make it above the rest, as competition is fierce. They've found it.
When loading FlightTrack you are greeted with this unique feature: TripIt Sync. By forwarding your airline confirmation e-mail to the TripIt sync e-mail address, FlightTrack will automatically sync your flight details - departure and arrival times; airports; and flight number to name just a few. This way there's no excuse for the app not have your flight on record.
Tracking a flight manually is also relatively simple. Just click the '+' button on the top right and you are given two options: track flights by their number or by their route. For tracking flights by their number, the only details you need are the airline (of which FlightTrack tells you there are 751 to date) and the number itself. Once you have punched in the necessary details, a vast array of information is at your fingertips, including how early / late the flight was to depart or estimated time of arrival (ETA). A map (provided by FlightView) is also available to view, showing you a flight's path and where it currently is in the world. Route tracking is just as easy, with the only required fields being the departure airport and arrival airport. You can track flights up to three days advance.
But the information is not just limited to the flight itself. Detailed info of the airports in question are also available for you to see. Local airport times, temperatures (in both Fahrenheit and Celsius to satisfy all imperialists and metricists) and FAA Delays & Closures are all visible upon closer inspection of an airport. The FAA Delay & Closures section is very handy as it can alert you to possible future delays of flights. For instance, at the current flight that I am looking at, it is telling me that there is a Traffic Management Program in effect which may cause flights to be delayed in an average of 116 minutes.
This application really aims to give you all information you'll ever need, but to keep it simple looking and easy to understand. It excels in this. You can save the flights you are tracking so that you won't have to enter the information again, and this subsequently means that you can track as many flights as you like. And if you're a little bored - you can shake the iPhone and it'll track a random flight for you! You can send flight information onto others in the form of e-mail, too.
It's all very well being able to do all of this - but if it is hideously complicated then it'll repel customers. Thankfully, FlightTrack's graphical user interface (GUI) takes advantage of many of the iPhone's unique features which allow it to integrate with the phone smoothly. For editing flights, you edit them just like you would when you go to edit a clock or alarm. For choosing what date, you do it like you do in the calendar application - scroll through the days, the months and the years. FlightTrack takes full use of what is available, as it should. A real, professional-feeling application should be smooth and easy to use: and this is.
The application is exceptional, albeit with a few minor flaws. It would be handy that for when entering the flight number, instead of the iPhone keyboard popping up it is the iPhone numpad instead. In addition, it would be nice to see all flights due to land at a certain airport and at what time. But these are features that can easily be implemented in the future.
One point I'd like to expand upon however is those who are frequent flyers. As a lot of people fly from the same airports and with the same airlines, it could end being a hassle having to enter in flight information time and time again. The ability to search for specific airlines at specific airports (with a simple check box to add to your saved flights) could end up reducing time and increasing the application's efficiency. If this were to be implemented, I have no doubt that the application would be a winner among frequent flyers.
In concluding, Mobiata, the FlightTrack creator, has created an application that is in all ways beautiful. It flows wonderfully and the interface is spot-on. It is a credit to the developers for this impressively built application, and while you may not use it every day - when you do, you will appreciate it for what it really is: genius.