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Is Flightradar24 Free? Everything You Need to Know About the Popular Flight Tracker

If you‘ve ever been stuck at an airport terminal with a delayed flight, you‘ve probably pulled up Flightradar24 to anxiously track your plane‘s progress. With live views of flights across the globe, Flightradar24 has become the go-to app for travelers, aviation geeks and anyone captivated by planes.

But is Flightradar24 really free to use or do you need to pay? Let‘s take an in-depth look at what you get with the basic free service, what additional capabilities unlocked by paid subscriptions, and how it stacks up to alternatives.

Free Service Overview – What You Get for $0

The short answer is yes – Flightradar24 offers a robust free service for flight tracking. With the basic free version you get:

  • Live worldwide flight tracking map – Follow flights in real-time across the globe.

  • Aircraft flight details – Click any plane to see altitude, speed, origin, destination etc.

  • Flight search – Lookup flights by route, airline, number and more.

  • Airport departures/arrivals – See scheduled and estimated departure and arrival times for most major airports.

  • 7 days of historical data – Playback any flight from the past week.

  • Current weather – View weather radar, winds and conditions at thousands of airports.

So if you just want to occasionally track a flight or lookup basic flight status info, the free Flightradar24 service has you covered. In fact, it‘s significantly more generous than most competitors that limit free accounts to 30-90 days of historical data.

According to Flightradar24, over 200,000 users actively track flights on their platform on an average day – many taking advantage of the free access.

That said, the free service does impose some limits compared to paid plans:

  • Limited to 2 device connections – Can‘t track on multiple devices simultaneously.

  • 5 searches per minute – Too many lookups in a short period can get blocked.

  • No premium filters – Advanced flight filtering not available.

  • Advertising – Banner/video ads are displayed.

  • Limited support – Priority goes to paid users.

But for most casual users, these restrictions won‘t be an issue for tracking the occasional flight.

Paid Subscription Options

For unlimited access with more capabilities, Flightradar24 offers two paid tiers:

  • Silver – $9.99 per year
  • Gold – $49.99 per year

Silver unlocks ad-free usage, unlimited connections and flight searches, premium filters, and 1 year of historical data.

Gold takes it further with 5 years of flight history along with fleet tracking, altitude profiling, more detailed live maps and other power user features.

Here‘s an at-a-glance comparison of the key differences in features:

Search limits5 per minUnlimitedUnlimited
Device connections2 maxUnlimitedUnlimited
Historical data7 days1 year5 years
Detailed live map
Fleet tracking
Altitude profiling
Premium filters
Price per year$0$9.99$49.99

For aviation enthusiasts who track flights obsessively, Gold is worth it for the unlimited historical data and advanced features. But Silver offers a nice middle ground for under $10/year.

How Does Flightradar24‘s Coverage Compare?

With over 34,000 aircraft tracked per minute and 2.9 billion flights logged in its database, Flightradar24 has one of the most extensive flight networks among consumer flight trackers.

Flightradar24 Statistics

Flightradar24‘s extensive flight tracking capabilities. (Image credit: Flightradar24)

It ingests data from over 22,000 ADS-B receivers crowdsourced from aviation hobbyists, along with air traffic control and airline direct feeds.

This enables Flightradar24 to deliver 82% global coverage outside the poles according to analysis by Runway Girl Network.

Competitors like FlightAware claim more flights tracked but have less geographic coverage away from airports. Only PlaneFinder comes close to matching Flightradar24‘s global scope.

Military and many smaller private flights remain hidden as they block ADS-B data sharing. But overall coverage is extensive.

What About Privacy – Can I Hide My Flight?

A question that often comes up is whether pilots or passengers can hide their flight from appearing on Flightradar24.

The answer is yes – to a degree. As a pilot or aircraft owner, you can request your tail number be blocked through the FAA Block Program to prevent flight tracking.

Some other options to avoid detection include:

  • Disabling ADS-B transmissions completely
  • Using owner privacy blocking services like Privacy IMC
  • Flying outside ADS-B receiver coverage areas

However, flights may still be visible on radar within air traffic control areas regardless of ADS-B blocking. So there‘s no way to stay completely hidden while flying through controlled airspace.

For commercial airline flights, blocking isn‘t an option. So Flightradar24 provides a window into virtually all passenger flights.

Most Tracked Flights in Flightradar24 History

Flightradar24 has seen some flights draw millions of simultaneous viewers – far more than the typical 200,000 daily users.

Some of the most watched flights include:

  • Queen Elizabeth II‘s Final Flight – 5+ million trackers on Sep. 13, 2022
  • Nancy Pelosi‘s Taiwan Visit – 3.2 million trackers on Aug. 2, 2022
  • SpaceX Inspiration4 Launch – 2.2 million trackers on Sep. 15, 2021
  • Greta Thunberg‘s Atlantic Crossing – 2 million trackers in Aug. 2019

Most Tracked Flights

A graph showing Flightradar24‘s most tracked flights of all time (Image credit: Flightradar24)

These well-publicized flights attract viewers wanting to witness history live through Flightradar24‘s tracking capabilities.

But even everyday commercial flights may get thousands of trackers when delays or diversions happen, letting people worldwide follow the action.

Tips for Getting the Most from the Free Service

While subscriptions give you more access, you can still get a ton of value from the free Flightradar24 service. Here are some tips:

  • Track your flight in advance and set alerts for takeoff, landing and even gate changes. No more nervously checking departure boards!

  • Share flight links with friends so they can track your progress.

  • Check airports to see if your flight is on time, delayed or arrived early. Far quicker than waiting for airline notifications.

  • Enable weather layers to see live radar, clouds and winds overlayed on the map.

  • Replay old flights from the past 7 days to relive interesting routes. Pro tip: Fast forward for condensed views.

  • Save favorite routes like a common business trip leg to quickly pull up.

  • Click planes to reveal every detail about an in-progress flight like real-time altitude, speed, aircraft type and more.

While some features like advanced filtering require premium access, the core flight tracking experience remains free and invaluable for travelers.

How Flightradar24 Compares to Alternatives

Flightradar24 dominates the consumer flight tracking space, but competitors do exist:

FlightAwareMore flights tracked
Preferred by professionals
Less int‘l coverage
Costly subscriptions
FlightViewGood airline data feeds
Free flight alerts
Clunky UX
Limited tracking tools
PlaneFinderBroad global coverage
Cheap paid tiers
Slightly less reliable data
FlightStatsRobust airport look-ups
Minimal ads
Very limited tracking
Costly premium
RadarBoxUnique 3D flight visualization
Generous free tier
More focused on paid plans

Flightradar24 strikes the best balance of extensive flight data, generous free access and ease of use. But alternatives like PlaneFinder offer unique capabilities that may better suit some users.

It‘s worth testing different flight trackers to see which fits your plane tracking habits the best. Most offer free tiers to experiment.

Is Flightradar24 Worth Using?

For most casual flight trackers and aviation fans, Flightradar24‘s free service provides an unparalleled window into air travel worldwide. The ability to track flights in real-time across the globe is almost magical compared to old-school departure boards.

While paid subscriptions unlock more advanced features, the core flight tracking capabilities remain free and unmodified. So you can track planes live anytime without limits.

Flightradar24‘s vast, crowdsourced flight data along with the generosity of its free tier explain why it has become the go-to app for travelers, plane spotters and anyone fascinated with air travel.

Next time you‘re tracking a loved one‘s flight or just plane gazing on your phone, take Flightradar24 for a spin. Just don‘t blame me if you get addicted to endlessly watching planes crisscross the skies!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.