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This Ex-Airline Employee's Mind-Blowing Flight Hack Is Going Viral And You Won't Believe How Simple And Smart It Is

Do this the morning of your trip and thank yourself later.

Woman checking her phone while standing with luggage at airport departure board

If you have ever scrambled to find your gate number or forgot what carousel your suitcases are on, you know that figuring out flight or baggage claim information can be annoying or tedious at best. But there’s an easy way to get real-time updates about your flight right from your phone ― no ticket or airport TV required.

On TikTok, former airline employee Darby Maloney said that her “No. 1 flying hack” ― besides getting TSA PreCheck ― is to text the flight number to herself and her family on the morning of her flight.

A flight number consists of a 2-letter airline code and a series of numbers that will help you differentiate your flight from others that are flying that day. You will see the flight number in your booking confirmation or on your boarding pass. 

Maloney gave the example of an American Airlines flight like AA686. If you are confused about what your airline code is, you can also quickly look it up in the International Air Transport Association’s search engine

Maloney said when you text your flight number on an iPhone, it will send you a link that will show where your plane is and the current gate number, expected flight duration and your baggage claim carousel. Maloney said the link is helpful because if your gate changes, it will automatically change in that link too.  

“I never have to look at screens in the airport anymore,” Maloney said. “It’s the greatest hack ever and I think nobody knows about it.”


S/O @Brooke Webster for teaching me this in my bag loading days 7 years ago

♬ original sound - Darby

Maloney’s advice was clearly news to many people. Her video had over 1 million likes and garnered thousands of comments. As one top comment to her video put it: “As someone who flies for work, this is SO helpful!” 

Sure, you can download your airline’s app to get the same information, but the genius of this tip is how it reduces the numbers of steps you need to take. 

Take the stressful scenario of having a short layover for a connecting flight as an example. Gates can often change, and you don’t want to waste time going to the wrong one. If you want to know immediately where your next gate is, Maloney recommended texting yourself the flight number for that leg of your trip. 

“The second you land, you can just click your link and know exactly what your gate is so when you get off of the plane ― boom, you’re off to your connection,” Maloney said.

Or how about the family member who is picking you up? They just need your flight number to keep track of any delays.

“I use this the most when somebody’s picking me up,” Maloney said in a follow-up TikTok video. “I’m not going to ask them to download the app ... I’m just going to send them the link.“

Because airlines use the same planes for different flights, it’s most useful to text yourself the flight number on the morning of the flight, Maloney recommended.

Here’s how the hack works: 

If you’re on an iPhone, all you need to do is to text yourself your flight number. From there, you will click on the hyperlinked number and select “Preview Flight.” There you can look up your flight information in real-time. 

Flight information app with two flights listed, options to preview and copy flight code, and a map showing a flight path from Orlando to Washington

If you have an Android, texting yourself the flight number will not cause the same pop-up link, but you can type your flight number in your Google search bar to get the same real-time information. 

When you’re rushing through the airport, it’s nice to know exactly where your plane is. This tip makes that information a stress-free tap away on your phone. 

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.