Former airline employee shares her ‘number one hack’ for tracking flight status

A former airline employee has shared the ultimate hack every traveller should know on the day of their flight.

In a video posted to TikTok, user Darby (@durbinmalonster) explained that she worked in the airline industry for three years, and this one travel tip has made flying so much easier. “I worked in the airline industry for three years and this is my number one flying hack,” she began the clip, as she wrote over the video: “My #1 day of flight hack, from a former airline employee.”

Darby instructed her 272,000 TikTok followers to text themselves their flight number on the morning of their scheduled trip. “The key is you have to include your airline code,” she explained. “For example, if I’m flying American Airlines flight 686, I’m going to type AA686.”

The former airline worker noted that it’s helpful to text someone your airline code if they’re picking you up from the airport, or to simply keep for yourself. “That text will become a link to tell you everything you need to know about your flight and it will update in real time,” Darby said, adding that it will be “your source of truth all day”.

She included a screen recorded video to show viewers exactly what happens when you click the airline code link on your phone. As she texted her American Airlines flight number 968 to herself, she was given the option to “preview flight” on her phone. A tracker immediately popped up on the screen, showing that flight AA968 was making its way from Miami, Florida, to Salt Lake City, Utah, on time.

The “preview flight” tool also informed her what gate her American Airlines flight will be found at the airport, as well as where she can find baggage claim for her flight.

“If it changes, it’ll change in that link,” Darby continued. “Whoever’s picking you up can literally see your little airplane flying across the screen. You know when you take off you’re supposed to land at 8.30 in the morning and then mid-flight there’s a great tailwind or something and you end up landing at 8.06am? It’ll update in that link.”

The former airline worker maintained it’s “the greatest hack” for flying and she’s even stopped using display screens at the airport for looking up information about her flight. The hack also works for connecting flights, Darby noted, so that if you need to catch another flight, you’ll already know which gate to go to.

“It’s the greatest hack ever and I feel like nobody knows about it,” Darby concluded.

Since her video was posted on 17 March, it’s been viewed on TikTok more than nine million times. In the comments, thousands of users thanked Darby for the helpful travel hack.

“I’ve learned more on TikTok than eight years in college,” one person joked, while someone else said: “This is absolutely mind blowing information, Darby.”

A third user wrote: “As someone who flies for work, this is SO helpful!”

Others were simply dumbfounded that some cell phones allow you to text yourself, like one person who commented: “Why am I barely processing the fact you can text yourself.”

“I’m old, I didn’t know I could text myself. LMAO,” another user said.

However, several people reminded Darby that there are many airline apps that allow customers to track their flight status. In response, the TikToker explained exactly why her hack is most helpful when you’re being picked up at the airport.

“I use this the most when somebody’s picking me up,” Darby said in a follow-up video. “I’m not going to ask them to download the Delta app or American Airlines app. I’m just going to send them the link and they can track it directly from the text messages.”

The Independent has contacted Darby for comment.