Zipping through the sky in an aluminum tube is standard procedure for many travelers, but some find it as thrilling and exciting as ever.It is a miracle after all. While some find the process of air travel mundane, others love it, and there are plentiful tools to make the experience more enjoyable. These tools are perfect for aviation geeks that want to be more informed and entertained when they travel or even when they are just plane spotting from home.
Curious aviation fans can hear live streams of air traffic control towers for a variety of international airports. They are publicly available online and can be quite entertaining to hear pilots interact with airport control towers. It is not as boring as it seems, and aviation fans will find plenty of fun information at their fingertips.
If you’re one of those that scours airline route maps in the back of inflight magazines, it is time to create one of your own. There are numerous websites like FlightMemory.com and FlightDiary.net that give you the chance to enter your past flight history and create a map showing your personal routes flown. Some even give you the chance to aggregate the number of miles flown, airports visited, aircraft types flown, and shortest and longest flights taken.
ExpertFlyer is packed with information for aviation fans including details on fare rules, accurate flight status (don’t believe what they tell you at the airport), and seat maps that are more informative and accurate than those on an airline’s website. This is also popular with frequent fliers that like to redeem miles or upgrades as it provides details on award and upgrade seat availability in real time. Despite a modest annual fee, it can pay off for those looking to score big when it comes to cashing in miles or upgrades.
When you’re at the airport and curious about the plane in front of you, websites like FlightRadar24.com and FlightAware.com allow you to track aircraft in real time and learn where planes are coming from and going to on that particular day. You can search by flight number, aircraft registration number, and flights between particular cities. The opportunity to look up specific flights reveals the aircraft’s present position, speed and altitude, which can be helpful if you’re on the way to pick up someone from the airport. If you’re one of those that exact aircraft that flew a domestic route so that you can add it to your personal flight log.
Of course, armchair travelers can watch the airport action from home while paying attention to live web cams of numerous airports online. Cameras provide intriguing views of various terminals and runways to satisfy the inner “avgeek” in all of us.
If you’re new at the aviation fanatic fame, then use ID That Plane to figure out what type of aircraft is passing in front of you. Experts scoff at this information, but everyone has a bit of nerdiness in them!