The short answer is yes – Flightradar24‘s core features of live flight tracking data and maps are completely free to use. You can access real-time airplane positions and details through Flightradar24‘s website and mobile apps without paying anything.
As an aviation data nerd and Flightradar24 power user myself, I want to provide you with a detailed guide to answer the question – is Flightradar24 really free? I‘ll cover how it works, what you can access for free, limitations, paid upgrades, tips for using Flightradar24, and some interesting stats.
How Does Flightradar24 Track Flights?
Flightradar24 combines data from several sources to aggregate real-time flight information:
- ADS-B – Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast. This is a technology standard that enables aircraft to transmit information like position, altitude, speed, and identity.
- MLAT – Multilateration. A network of ground receivers uses triangulation to determine aircraft positions.
- Radar data from various sources like air traffic control systems.
- Schedule and flight status data from airlines and airports.
By bringing together all this data, Flightradar24 powers its flight tracking maps, aircraft position updates, and other features. The service covers over 220 countries and territories and tracks up to 12,000 airborne aircraft at any given time.
What Flightradar24 Features Are Free?
The core Flightradar24 experience of live worldwide flight tracking is available entirely for free. Some of the key features you get access to include:
- Interactive map showing real-time aircraft positions globally
- Detailed information for each flight like airline, flight number, aircraft type, altitude, speed and origin/destination
- Filters to toggle map layers like airports, airspaces, and live weather
- Ability to search for flights by route, airline, aircraft tail number, airport etc.
- Airport delay info and insights
- Notifications for flight arrivals/departures and status changes
Whether using the Flightradar24 website or mobile apps for iOS and Android, all of these useful features won‘t cost you a cent. It‘s an incredible amount of flight data available to the public for free.
Limitations of the Free Service
As amazing as the free service is, Flightradar24 does impose some limits that encourage upgrading to a paid subscription:
- No historical flight tracking beyond 3 days
- Limited viewing of full flight route labels on the map
- No access to advanced weather layers like precipitation and wind
- Basic map with limited filters compared to paid plans
So while you get a wealth of live flight data, accessing archives beyond 3 days or visualizing weather requires paying for premium features.
Paid Subscription Options
To unlock additional features and flight history data, Flightradar24 offers 2 paid subscription tiers:
- Silver ($9.99/year) – 1 year of flight archives, weather layers, route labels, airport congestion maps, no ads
- Gold ($24.99/year) – Unlimited flight archives, even more map layers and data filters, route replays
Both Silver and Gold plans come with 7-day free trials. As an aviation nerd myself, I‘ve gladly paid for Gold access to get unlimited historical data. But the free features alone are still incredibly powerful.
Fun Flightradar24 Statistics
Here are some fascinating Flightradar24 usage statistics I‘ve come across that showcase its popularity:
- Flightradar24 has over 2 million active users per month across its website and apps as of 2020
- Over 500 million flights have been tracked by Flightradar24 total since its launch in 2006
- The most tracked flight ever was Queen Elizabeth II‘s final journey in September 2022 with over 4.79 million trackings
|Total Flights Tracked
The growth of Flightradar24 shows how flight tracking has gone from niche to mainstream over the past decade. The app now enjoys millions of active users monthly.
Tips for Using Flightradar24
As a flight tracking power user, I want to share some tips to help you make the most of Flightradar24:
- Zoom into airports on the map to see gates, runways, and ground movements
- Tail aircraft by registration number to follow specific planes that interest you
- Set custom alerts for arrivals or departures at your favorite airports
- Use the Flight Timeline feature to visually track a flight‘s progress on a map
- Enable the Hidden Flights layer to see aircraft that have requested blocking – typically military
Take some time to dig into Flightradar24‘s settings and layers – there is a wealth of flight data waiting to be uncovered!
Is Flightradar24 Worth Paying For?
While Flightradar24‘s core flight tracking capabilities are free, the paid subscriptions unlock valuable features that in my opinion make the upgrade worthwhile:
- Viewing historical flight data beyond just 3 days
- Advanced weather and altitude map layers
- Seeing full flight route labels and information
For aviation geeks like myself, access to archives and flight playback makes the premium service a must-have. But casual users will still find an amazing amount of data in the free features.
The Bottom Line
Flightradar24 offers live worldwide flight tracking maps and data completely for free. The service combines multiple data sources to provide amazing real-time flight visibility to the public.
While some advanced features require premium paid plans, the core experience remains free to use. So next time you see a plane fly overhead, open Flightradar24 and unlock a wealth of data!