When you’ve seen one user interface, you’ve seen many of them, particularly in the realm of mobile gaming. However, every now and then, an app comes along which surprises with a stunning design, and an immensely natural control system. It’s even more surprising that the app in question isn’t a high profile game, but a handy tool for travellers. It’s called FlightTrack 5, and it’s almost unbelievably good-looking.
Before we go on to how it looks, let’s talk about what it does. As the name suggests, FlightTrack 5 is the fifth revision of the popular FlightTrack app, and like Tweetbot 3, developer Mobiata has re-released it the iOS 7 compatible version as a standalone app. FlightTrack lets you add in all your flight data, then provides all the information you could need to help your trip go smoothly.
This includes push notifications for any changes to your flight time, quick glance information on your gate and time of departure, plus the estimated flight time. There are also detailed maps of the airport terminal, and to help pick your seats, layout plans for the aircraft on which you’re travelling.
Outside of this, you can select who you’re travelling with by letting the app access your contacts, then share your travel plans and flight status using email, AirDrop, or over social networks. I’ve used FlightTrack in its regular form for several years, and have found it helpful for tracking my own and my family’s flights. Its user-friendly nature makes it ideal for relatively infrequent use, but it’s also powerful enough for light business use too.
The same can be said of FlightTrack 5, but its definitely skewed more to the casual traveller, particularly as it doesn’t sync up with Tripit. Hardcore travellers will see this as a considerable downside, but it’s unlikely to worry everyone. FlightTrack isn’t only for tracking your own flights, and works just as well for monitoring someone else’s flight. This makes it great for organizing airport pick ups, or just for peace of mind.
One would think an app of this type can only look so good, but Mobiata has done an amazing job of integrating beautiful, logical gesture controls over an attractive interface. FlightTrack 5 has been influenced by PassBook, as your trips are stored on cards showing little maps of your journey. Tap one and you get basic information on the flight, such as times and flight numbers.
Tap an arrow on the map and you get taken to a larger map, where little cards running along the bottom of the screen provide local weather reports, and all your flight information. You can also zoom in on the area, which provides satellite views of the airport and its surroundings. Mobiata has made use of iOS 7’s design tweaks, such as large friendly delete or refresh buttons after swiping to the left on a flight, and plenty of zooming in and out.
While the old FlightTrack could be a little sluggish, FlightTrack 5 zips along with no slowdown at all, even when dealing with live maps. The speed and ease of use makes FlightTrack 5 an absolute pleasure, and adding in a few holiday flights is a completely painless experience. It’s also great to look at, with a clean minimalist style which fits in with iOS 7.
Besides the lack of Tripit compatibility, there’s not much wrong with FlightTrack 5. It’s ideal for people who fly a few times per year, but could quite happily be used by someone who flies a few times per month too. It’s rare we see such an attractive app that isn’t a game, but FlightTrack 5 is truly fantastic to look at and use. Flipping up the Scheduled Flight card to reveal the flight details, seating plan and even a button to automatically call the airline simply never gets old.
Released at the end of November, FlightTrack 5 is available through the App Store now, where it costs £2.99, and is compatible with all iPhone devices running iOS 7. It’ll store, track and monitor all your flights, almost regardless of how many you take each year, and it’ll do so in complete style. We highly recommend it.