Flight Hack From A Former Airline Employee Goes Bonkers Viral

Travel hacks and gadgets can take a lot of stress out of a trip. Packing cubes? So helpful! Buying Disney souvenirs for super-cheap on Amazon before your kids see the parks’ much pricier versions? Smart. And finding out that the airline will check car seats and strollers for free? Well, that can be a huge lifesaver when traveling with kids. But former airline employee Darby Maloney (@durbinmalonster) just shared what might be the very best travel hack of all time: It turns out that tracking your flight, including real-time updates, is as easy as sending a text.

Staying on top of your flight times and departure gates, plus coordinating rides to and from the airport, is enough to send someone over the edge. A storm in Colorado could leave you hangry at your gate. A great tailwind across the Midwest? You might land in DAL before your ride even leaves their home. While most of us drain our phone’s battery life by opening and refreshing the airline app every five minutes, there’s a better way.

All you have to do is send a text to yourself or to any loved one who is monitoring your travels. (*waves at Mom/Mimi/bestie*)

“I worked in the airline industry for three years, and this is my number one flying hack,” shares Maloney, giving a shoutout to former coworker Brooke Webster (@bwebbbie) for passing it to her when they worked together. “The morning of your flight, you’re going to text yourself your flight number, OK?”

Maloney points out that you should include your airline code before your flight number, using American Airlines flight 686 as an example. In that instance, she texts herself, “AA686.”

That simple text turns into a link that you can click on to reveal everything you need to know about your flight, including where it’s coming from before it gets to the airport to pick you up.

“It updates in real time,” Maloney explains. “What’s your gate? You’re gonna go through security, open your phone, click on your link, and go, ‘Oh, I’m gate D6.’ … If it changes? It’ll change in that link.”

Maloney shared the deets of her upcoming flight on her phone. She could see that her plane was still on its way to the airport, flying over Texas. She could swipe to her particular flight to see the gate she would be departing from and where she’d disembark once she reached her destination. It even shows her where to look for her baggage.

Because it updates in real-time, it’s a great resource to send to yourself and anyone picking you up from the airport. There’s nothing worse than getting to the airport to pick someone up only to find out that they were delayed and are still halfway across the country.

Maloney’s last tip?

“If you have a connecting flight, text yourself both flights. The second you land, you can just click your link and know exactly what your gate is so when you get off the plane, bam, you’re off to your connection.”

Because things at busy airports often change, the real-time updates will help you know where you’re going within the airport if you have a layover. This gives you extra time to look at the gate you’re at and the gate you’re going to, then use the map tucked into your seatback to figure out how to get there or find out if you still have time for the Sprinkles machine at Dallas or TCBY in Chicago.

Looking for your airline code? You can find it at the beginning of your flight number in your flight confirmation email or your airline’s app. Or right here. You’re welcome.

  • Air Arabia – G9
  • Air Canada – AC
  • Air China – CA
  • Air France – AF
  • Air Lingus – EI
  • Air Lingus UK – EG
  • Alaska Airlines – AS
  • Allegiant – G4
  • American Airlines – AA
  • British Airways – BA
  • Delta Airlines – DL
  • EgyptAir – MS
  • Emirates – EK
  • Frontier – F9
  • Hawaiian Airlines – HA
  • Jetblue – B6
  • Korean Air – KE
  • Qantas Airways – QF
  • Southwest – WN
  • Spirit – NK
  • United – UA
  • Virgin Atlantic – VS

In follow-up comments and video responses, Maloney notes that since airlines do reuse flight numbers, it’s probably safest to text yourself the number and/or check it the morning of your flight.

She also shared that, according to commenters, this hack doesn’t work with Breeze Airways (MX) and United (UA) flights and that JetBlue (B6) “needs some special love.”

Other than that, happy travels!

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