Aviation

A flight tracker that allows you to track flights, send messages and get notifications, with no apps


Description

WELCOME TO AVIATION! ✈️

OVERVIEW

Aviation is a flight tracking shortcut that allows you to get the latest flight information (through 4 different methods), receive flight updates in the form of notifications, and send departure/landed messages to your contact(s). Additionally it uses no 3-party flight tracking apps.

I'll try to keep this shortcut updated (providing flightstats.com doesn't do so first). Be sure you complete the setup process upon installing this shortcut.

All user actions are at the top of the shortcut. If for whatever reason you need to scroll down, everything is documented with comments - action/followed by comment (description)


Aviation works by pulling content from the website flightstats.com. The problem is websites are always changing. I would like to use an API (possibly in the future) but unfortunately flight tracking APIs are not free.

What started out as a simple messaging shortcut when you depart/land, 1.5 month later, turned into a full blown flight tracking app.

It takes a lot of time and effort to keep this shortcut working and updated. If you like what you see, feel free to donate here.

https://www.paypal.me/AndrewCortesi


AVIATION DOCUMENTATION

FEATURES

Custom Messages Based on Home Locations

If the user enters a three digit Airport Code of one of the local airports in their area, it will display custom messaging dependent on that location. Such as “Welcome back home!” and much more.

Contact Phone Number + Name

In addition to being able to track flights, all tracked content is gathered together into sentences so you can send messages. You can do this by selecting a predefined contact along with entering their name

Contact Input Choice

In addition to one predefined contact, let’s say you want to choose the contact each time before sending the message. This option will allow you to do that.

Editors Note: Shortcuts is designed for speed and efficiency. Any additional steps (such as selecting a contact mid process) may not be ideal. My recommendation is to keep it simple.

24/12 Hour Clock Choice

When traveling the world you encounter many different time zones. Therefore when viewing departure/arrival times, Aviation is able to provide both a 24 Hour Clock and a 12 Hour Clock. You can switch between the two options whenever you want.

Saved Tracking Data

When tracking a flight it automatically saves your recently tracked flight information in the background on your iCloud Drive.

This makes things easier so if you’re ever on a trip or in an airport you don’t have to keep re-entering airline numbers to get your flight info, it will just pull it up for you. Then, after a set time, OR after you land, it will remove that saved flight data.

The user is able to set the time at which the saved tracked flight data will be removed. By default it’s set to 2, referring to 2 days. So that means the flight information will be available for 24 hours (about as long as a typical “longer trip”).

Every time the user runs the shortcut to the end, this time limit gets reset. It’s beneficial if you haven’t used it Aviation for a while (or 2 days) and you launch the shortcut with a clean slate.

Flight Update Push Notifications

Let’s say you’re at the airport, you’re past security, and you’re waiting for your flight at the gate. But suddenly your gate changes to a different gate, or your flight is delayed. Upon tapping Aviation, it will send you departure and arrival “push” notifications based on recently changed data. This also pulls from saved tracking data.

Turn Off Get Current Location

Upon launching Aviation, if you start to notice it takes a little while to load the first menu, this is likely due to the “Get Current Location” action. This allows you to see your current city, state, country and weather conditions as you’re traveling.

However sometimes we experience a poor signal when on or around airports so you have the option to turn this off if necessary.

Side Note: Aviation will also automatically detect if your phone is on Airplane Mode and will not display this information for you. Additionally if you’ve landed (selected Landed), it will detect if your cell signal is present and turn your Airplane Mode from on to off.

City Slogans

After a message has been sent you’ll receive a pop up alert telling you the message has been received. If you’ve just landed, a separate message will welcome you to the current location and it will display the local “city slogan” or tagline.

So for example it will say: Welcome to New York! “The City That Never Sleeps”

I’ve already added around 60 cities from the most popular airports people fly to, but you’re welcome to add more.

Here’s a Wikipedia link for reference: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_city_nicknames_in_the_United_States


Aviation Works With The Following Apps/Services:

  • Contacts

  • iCloud Drive

  • Weather

  • Location

  • Safari

  • Calendar

  • Messages

  • Notifications

  • Shortcuts


USER FLOW NOTES

First Menu: - If Airplane Mode is on OR if user has selected the 1, Current Location does not get called. This turns off the weather and location in the first menu. - Otherwise user sees everything, including recently tracked flights in the first menu. - If the recently tracked flight is older than (set number of days) from the current date it will be deleted.

4 Ways To Track A Flight:

Enter Manually:

  • Which allows you to enter in the flight airline code, number, and date as separate entries. Note that flightstats reads Airline Codes as 2-digits rather than 3-digits. So for Southwest it’s WN instead of SWA.

Previously Tracked Flight:

  • This will only show up if you have something saved. If you tap this it will track the flight you had tracked before, set at the departure date from before.

Auto:

  • Most Recent Calendar Event: If you have a flight event saved in your calendar (by Siri), this will behave similarly to the step above (meaning the tracking will happen in the background without you worrying about the date, Airline Code, number, etc.). In order to ensure that this works the flight needs to be added to your calendar under this title structure “Flight: AA 100 from JFK to LHR“. Siri typically does this for you (or prompts you) by pulling it out of Apple Mail.

Select Calendar Event:

  • Similar to option three this searches your calendar for events with that naming structure and allows you to pick one to track. You may have more than one flight in one day and this accommodates for that.

NOTIFICATIONS

  • If notifications are turned on AND if you’ve previously tracked this flight you may see update notifications. Each notification will hold for 6 seconds before moving on to the next section. They include the following:
  • Status updates (did the flight depart, arrive, is it delayed, on time)
  • Terminal, gate changes
  • Departure, arrival time changes

In Flight Track + Send Message

  • If user hits Departure, once message is sent, phone is placed in Airplane Mode
  • If user has landed and launches, shortcut detects if phone is in airplane mode, if yes, it turns it off. Then if user taps Landed, it waits 15 seconds before sending a message. The reason for this is because sometimes it takes a while for the cell signal to restore before you’re able to send a message. Then once the message has been sent, saved flight tracking information is deleted in the background.

FLIGHT STATUS INDICATORS

There’s a number of different statuses that a flight can have. I’ve worked around the most commonly used ones but there may be more that need to be added in the future.

Scheduled - The flight holds this status before it has departed. The plane itself (prior to your trip) could be in any location but it’s referring to the scheduled trip you are tracking.

Departed - Once the flight has taken off and in the air.

Arrived - The the flight has landed in the scheduled destination and completed the trip.

Cancelled - This trip is cancelled.

Unknown - The status of the flight is unknown. This is not seen as an error message but rather a legitimate status if flight/trip information is missing from tracking data. (I still need to add this one, though it’s much less common)

Any one of these flights can also have the following status:

On Time - Flight might be delayed by a couple minutes, but otherwise Estimated Arrival/Departure times match Scheduled Arrival/Departure times

Delayed - Estimated Arrival/Departure Times are very far off from Scheduled Arrival/Departure times. Usually 20 minutes or more.


ERROR MESSAGES

Can’t Find Calendar Event:

Be sure you allow Siri to add flights to your calendar. The event title should automatically be structured as follows: Flight: AA 100 from JFK to LHR

Tracking Data Out of Range or Info Inputted Incorrectly:

Tracking data may be out of range. Or try a different Airline Code. Be careful not to type spaces when entering information manually (and watch out for autocorrect). Note: Download the UpdateKit shortcut to keep Aviation up to date.

Cancelled Flight:

This flight to (Location) has been cancelled. Try contacting (Airline) for more details.

Flight Scheduled For Departure when User tries to send a Landed Message:

Flight (AirlineName) ComboAirlineCode ComboFlightNumber is scheduled for take-off.

Flight Has Landed when User tries to send a Departure Message:

Flight (AirlineName) ComboAirlineCode ComboFlightNumber has already landed.


EDITORS NOTES:

  • Southwest flights are hard to track because they have flights that operate with the same name, on the same day (acting like a taxi, moving from city to city). The only way to differentiate between them is with a flight ID in the URL but that seems to always be different. They are generally accurate but sometimes they can be a little off.

  • Not all information, such as Terminal, Gate, Scheduled/Estimated Arrival times are always available but I tried to accommodate for all scenarios. If there’s ever an empty space, that might be why.

  • A user can technically send a Departure message or a Landed message even if the flight itself hasn’t departed/landed. The point of these actions is to have them be sent the moment the user is about to take off/land while on the runway.

  • HOWEVER, there are error messages to accommodate for this. If a user tries to send a landed message and the current flight status is “Scheduled”, it will stop the action

  • Additionally, if the user tries to send a departed message and the flight status is “Landed”, it will stop the action.

  • The only time it’s a gray area is if the status is “Departed”. The reason why I didn’t account for this is sometimes flight tracking information may be slow to update and I didn’t want the user to get an error message if saying “this flight hasn’t landed” or “hasn’t taken off yet” when it actually has.


FUTURE GOALS/IMPROVEMENTS:

  • I would like to add additional Flight Statuses as come across them. Such as I know there’s a flight status that says “Unknown” but haven’t added it yet.

  • For the flight tracking results (the final page that lists all results) I would like to find a way to remove lines (entered lines) if the information is not available. There’s probably a better way to do this than if statements.

  • As I mentioned above, Aviation works by pulling content from the website flightstats.com - but this website is likely to change. I would like to use an API in the future...but because of the cost, who knows.

KNOWN ISSUES/BUGS:

  • When sending a departure or landed message you may get an error message saying "Receipt Required". If this is the case, you can:

1) Try to send the message again (eventually it will go through)

2) Scroll all the way down to where the Send Message field is and manually enter the number in

3) Change the Contact Input choice to have it ask you to select a contact each time.

  • Users outside of the US currently MAY not be able to run this shortcut. I am working on a fix if this is the case.

  • Be sure to have all apps and services ENABLED in System Settings to take full advantage of this shortcut.

  • Keep an eye out for updates, but if things start breaking unexpectedly, it’s likely due to changes to Flightstats.com

Safe travels! ✈️


Latest Release Notes

1.4 - Feb. 18, 2019, 1:43 p.m.

Setup process now runs in-app. All custom settings are now saved in the background (even if updates are downloaded). User no longer has to enter to settings of the Shortcut itself. Fixed deletion of Saved Tracking Data.


All release notes