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The Easiest Way to Follow Flight Delays and Early Arrivals? This Texting Tip

Technology + Gear Airports + Flying
by Katie Scott Aiton Mar 29, 2024

Regardless of whether you prefer to arrive in the nick of time at the airport or arrive early, there’s an excellent travel hack that will allow you to track in real time the status of your flight.

In a video posted to TikTok, former airline employee Darby (@durbinmalonster) shares her favorite tip she claims every traveler with an iPhone should use on the day of their flight.

Darby explains to her almost 300K followers that she worked in the airport industry for three years, and this could save passengers from missing flights due to gate changes and keep them informed about delays.

@durbinmalonster S/O @Brooke Webster ♬ original sound – Darby

Check out Matador’s guide to airports for more tips

So how does this work?

The morning of your flight, Darby states, all you need to do is go into the iMessage app and text yourself your flight number. “The key is, you have to include your airline code.” Darby offers a helpful example. “If I’m flying American Airlines flight 686, I will type “AA 686.”

Here are a few of the most popular US Airline Codes:

  • Alaska Airlines (AS)
  • American Airlines (AA)
  • Delta Air Lines (DL)
  • JetBlue Airways (B6)
  • Southwest Airlines (SW)
  • Spirit Airlines (NK)
  • United Airlines (UA)

If the iMessage is formatted correctly, it will create a link. All you need to do is simply tap on the underlined text, and you’ll have access to all the information you need to know about your flight. It will show you a detailed view of the flight status, including current location (if airborne), departure and arrival times, the boarding gate, connecting flight details, and even the carousel to go to claim your bag. The information will also be updated in real-time.

Although many airlines now have informative apps, and you can also do a quick Google search for this same information, it might come in handy if you have family or friends who want to track your journey or need to know when to pick you up from the airport.

In this instance, just text them the link you’ve created with the airline code and flight number. “Whoever’s picking you up can literally see your little airplane flying across the screen. You know, when you take off, you’re supposed to land at 8.30 in the morning, and then in mid-flight, there’s a great tailwind or something, and you end up landing at 8.06 AM? It’ll update in that link,” says Darby.

The process is simple, but Darby includes a screen-recorded video to show viewers exactly what happens when you click through the text.

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