How to Track a Flight in Progress

Two Methods:Via Online WebsitesAlternatives

Do you have friends or family in North American airspace right now, jetting off to another North American location? With just a little info, and the right website, you can watch the progress of that plane as it makes it way towards its destination. If your friends are coming to see you at the airport, they will know whether to delay their trip to the airport.

Method 1
Via Online Websites

  1. Image titled Track a Flight in Progress Step 1
    Gather the information about the flight:
    • Airline name or IATA code (designated by the 2-letter airline code that precedes the flight number, sometimes called the IATA code)
    • Flight number (695)
    • City of departure and/or city of arrival specified more commonly by another FAA-specified 3-letter code (helpful if you know the airport code).
  2. Image titled Track a Flight in Progress Step 2
    Find a flight-tracking website to find out the information about your flight. Although there are some flight tracking websites that host free information for these flight details, there are some free ones that offer this without gimmicks, however thirdly there are also others that offer these services that are on a "per payment" site which tend to look quite spammy..
  3. Image titled Track a Flight in Progress Step 3
    Enter your flight information.
  4. Image titled Track a Flight in Progress Step 5
    Watch for plugins that you could need to add to your browsers functionality to run the website. Sometimes, this plugin will include Adobe Flash or similar, but the browser must be able to have that plugin installed to run the site successfully and see your flight in progress.
  5. Image titled Track a Flight in Progress Step 4
    Watch a map come up on your screen showing the route the plane has taken, as well as the current location of the plane and the expected route ahead.
  6. 6
    Figure out if the website you chose has an auto-update feature. If not, you'll have to click or tap the refresh button in your browser to refresh that website. If it does, wait for the screen to refresh. Sometimes, there are buttons you can click to manually refresh the page that these websites have built into their functionality (but these button names will vary by site).
  7. Image titled 670px Track a Flight in Progress Step 6
    Look for ways to zoom in on the plane, if this site allows that ability. Zooming in on some site, can sometimes allow you to watch the progress of the plane.

Method 2

  1. 1
    Call the phone number of the company and ask them about the flight in question. If you need the phone number, you'll potentially need the phone number for the company that can be found online or from other airline documentation.
    • Most airline flight miles portions of these airlines aren't set up to handle these transactions, but can give you the phone number to the company when asked.
  2. 2
    Look at the incoming flight's details on the flight board at the airport (if you are on the gates side of security, past the security checkpoint). You can pretty much judge an approximate time of arrival.
  3. 3
    Talk to the gate attendants at the airport gate your flight is supposed to meet at (if you are on the gates side of security, past the security checkpoint). Most will be more than happy to explain approximately where the incoming plane is at that current time - but be careful as some won't give you too much of an update and if you are incessant they won't give you any update at all so be careful. While some airlines just tell their agents to relay their departure and arrival cities, some can look on their computer and see approximately where it is, and will tell you.
    • Be careful if they ask for additional payment to find out additional information about the flight.
  4. 4
    Listen to control tower feeds of the airport either online ( is one of the more popular sites) or in the airport itself (if set up to host this information). Some uncontrolled airports (those that don't have official control towers) have details that tell you which planes are nearby that can give you a clue to where these planes are and their estimated time of a arrival (ETA).


  • Watch for weather details, such as radar and satellite data to display (if that particular flight tracking website is equipped to handle these data types.
  • Though most flight tracking websites can handle US-to-US location flights, some can track most airlines that fly to international destinations.
  • Look for additional flight details (such as altitude, ground speed and the make of the aircraft) on the screen, if the website is equipped to handle this data (many will be equipped, but not all).
  • Most websites can track details if your flight begins somewhere in the United States, while others can track from any other airport as well.
  • If you can before a trip to the airport, sign up for the airline's mileage rewards account. Sometimes, gate attendants will ask for this information before they give you more information about the flight - but be wary that these are official gate attendants and not imposters.

Article Info

Categories: Air Travel