For anyone who wants to dream of what flying elsewhere is like, but from the comfort of your home (and Mac on your lap) allow me to suggest the coolest air traffic monitor app ever. It’s called Flightradar24 and what it does is give you a bird’s eye view of air traffic around most airports in many countries.
In this case a picture is probably worth more than a thousand words. Enter an airport or city, and Flightradar24 displays all the airplanes in the nearby sky.
Zoom in or out, just like in Apple Maps. Click on an airplane and get details, including airline, flight number, altitude, origination and destination locations.
You’ll also be able to see speed, time to destination, and a cockpit view (not with a real camera; simply a view based upon the flight’s location).
Zoom out and take a look at real air traffic congestion.
You’ll see airplanes moving across your screen (and the map) in near real-time. Search for an individual flight, or filter a search by airline, altitude, speed, and many other criteria.
What about geographic coverage?
Flightradar24 covers most of North America, much of Central and South America, most of Europe, and major countries in Asia, and much of Africa and Oceania.
I’ve never seen an air traffic map this cool, this useful, and very affordable (you’ll spend more on a combo at McDonald’s). And, if you’re a road warrior, there’s a version of Flightradar24 for iPhone and iPad, Windows Phone, and Android devices.
The only thing missing would be an actual view of the cockpit camera and the passengers.