Keep track of flight delays, departure gate numbers and other flight information directly from your text messages.
Send an iMessage to track your flight.
We’re in the midst of the holiday season, and with and New Year’s Eve only a few weeks away, you can expect a whole lot of holiday travel plans (despite the and the for international travelers).
If you’re making your way to the airport soon — whether it’s to take a personal trip or pick up a family member from vacation — you need to be prepared, and that includes having flight information ready to go so you can keep an eye on potential delays or gate changes. And if you have an iPhone, all of that information might be secretly buried in your Messages app.
Instead of fumbling with an airline app on your phone or looking for a flight information display system at the airport, you can do something easier. The flight information you need the most can all be found within your text messages. We’ll show you where to look.
Before we start, there are a few prerequisites you must meet:
Launch the native Messages texting app on your iPhone and open the text message thread that contains your flight information. You’ll know the flight tracker feature works when the text with the flight information appears underlined, which means it’s actionable and you can tap on it.
However, if your flight is still several months away or it’s already passed, you might see a message that says, “Flight information unavailable.” You might also see another flight that’s not yours because airlines recycle flight numbers.
Although the airline name/flight number format highlighted above is the best way to go, there are other texting options that will lead you to the same result. So let’s say we stick with American Airlines 9707, other options that may bring up the flight tracker include:
I would suggest you keep the airline name spelled out completely and add a space between the two pieces of information — like in the previous section — because for some airlines these alternative options may not work.
Text the code to preview your flight.
Once everything is set, tap on the flight information in your text messages. If the feature works correctly, you should see the following two options appear in a quick-action menu:
If you select Preview Flight, at the top of the window, you’ll see the best part of this feature: a real-time flight tracker map. A line will connect the two destinations, and a tiny airplane will move between them, indicating where the flight is at that exact moment.
Underneath the map, you’ll see important flight information:
If you swipe left on the bottom half of the flight tracker, you can switch between flights, but only if there’s a return flight.
Your iPhone comes with many hidden features, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check out you didn’t know you needed, and .