How To Find Your Personal Flight History (2024)

Collating and recording personal flight history has become easier and more popular thanks to the sheer amount of data available using flight tracking sites. You can also list and visualise your flight history using various flight logging tools.

In this article we will make a comprehensive overview of compiling your flight history including trying to track down historical flight numbers, flight times, seat number, aircraft type and aircraft registrations.

Most people compiling a detailed historical flight record are likely to be aviation enthusiasts or ‘avgeeks’. We also see others looking for historical flight details for immigration/visa purposes or because they are considering making a compensation claim for delayed/cancelled flights against an airline (particularly under the European EC261/2004 regulation).

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If you have had a delayed or cancelled flight in the last 3 years then AirHelp could assist in making a compensation claim on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. AirHelp is the world’s largest air passenger rights organisation. Enter your flight details into its database to see if you could be eligible for up to €600/$700 compensation per passenger.

Whatever your motivation, our guide below should hopefully prove useful for anyone searching their flying history.

Flight Radar & Tracker Sites

Let’s start with the popular flight tracker and radar sites. The best one is Flightradar24 which has a live map radar and also gives data on individual flights.

These can be very useful to monitor your flight before departure as they give you various information including flight times, aircraft type and registration (tail number). They can be used on a desktop or as an app on mobile.

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One handy use of flightradar24 whilst waiting for your flight at an airport is to track the inbound flight of your aircraft. This can give you an immediate handle on possible delays – often before it is announced at the airport.

To do this you put in your flight number and from this you should find out the aircraft registration. Click the registration to find activity from that particular aircraft – you should see the data for any inbound flight.

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Other flight tracker and radar sites are:

  • FlightAware– Basic users get 3 months of historical flight data but without aircraft registration data.
  • FlightStats– Has a flight tracker facility for flights over the last week.
  • RadarBox – flight tracker radar run by AirNav Systems which has 7 days free data and subscription plans up to 365 days.
  • Planefinder – flight radar site with 2 weeks free data.
  • ADS-B Exchange – comprehensive unfiltered flight radar which shows civilian and military aircraft movements.

We will discuss some of these sites in more detail below for finding aircraft registration numbers.

Flight Log Display Sites

The following tools can help you put together and display your own past flights list:

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Some of these can also offer interesting map visualisations and statistical breakdowns. Now if you do not want to use any of these online tools then you can simply create a ‘my past flights’ spreadsheet or remain analogue and use a notebook!

A note of caution, it is best not to publicly display a list of future booked flights.

Putting Together your Flight History

Back in 2019 we started the process of putting together our own detailed flight history which spans quite a few decades. Whilst it’s easy to find flight details of recent flights it does get harder the further back you go!

You may need to do some significant detective work… the process can be quite a lot of fun and nostalgic looking back at old flights and trips taken.

You can potentially find various details of your past flights from the following:

  • old boarding passes if you have kept any of them (including digital pdf files as well). This can give you flight number, seat number and flight departure time – note the date is often day/month but not the year.
  • old emails of flight confirmations or travel plans.
  • checking flight history by logging into an airline frequent flyer account or travel agent account.
  • past diary/calendar entries.
  • old passport stamps can give you flight dates. Some countries (such as Thailand) will write the flight number on the passport stamp when you enter.
  • old credit card and bank statements can give some details on flight bookings – price paid and approximate dates.
  • old photos taken can offer nuggets of information – airport shots (digital) can give you the flight date and approximate time. Photos of your plane can give you the aircraft type and possibly a glimpse of the aircraft registration. Not only your own photos but those of family and friends.

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  • contact an airline directly to ask for your flights taken. In Europe under GDPR legislation people can request their data held by a company. Here is the privacy policy page for Easyjet – it is possible to contact the data protection team directly. Note that under the law companies in the EU are only compelled to keep data for 7 years.
  • some people have put in a data privacy request to a government for travel records held. This is likely possible in Australia, Canada, UK and US.

Once you have gone through the initial process of collecting all your potential flight info, you can take the research a step further in order to fill in extra details – such as flight numbers, flight times and aircraft registration.

Aircraft Registration (Tail Number)

Registration of an aircraft is normally displayed at the rear part of the fuselage. It can also be found in abbreviated form (often the last 2 letters) on the front nose wheel doors, on the wing and/or tail.

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Check any old photos you may have of a plane you travelled on to see if you can make out the registration. For old printed photos you may even need to use a magnifying glass to check!

The aircraft registration is a 5 or 6 digit serial number. The prefix denotes the country of registration of the plane. In the above Lufthansa case ‘D’ denotes Germany. Here are some common country codes:

N USA (known as the N number)G UKB ChinaC CanadaD GermanyF FranceI ItalyEC SpainEI IrelandPH NetherlandsOE AustriaHB SwitzerlandVH AustraliaZK New ZealandCC ChileA6 United Arab Emirates9V SingaporeA full country listing is found here

For the Lufthansa aircraft in the above photo we can see that the registration is D-AIPZ (or Delta Alfa India Papa Zulu using the NATO phonetic alphabet).

When you have an aircraft registration you can use the air fleet site (or PlaneSpotters site) to denote the exact aircraft type and the age of the airframe.

D-AIPZ was an Airbus A320-211 which first flew in January 1991. In June 2020 it was put in storage and was scrapped in 2022.

In some countries it is also possible to look up the registration with the official aviation regulator:

Tips and Resources to Find your Aircraft Registration (& Other Flight Info)

The Flight Tracker websites mentioned above will show aircraft registrations for recent flights.

Flightradar24 will show 7 days of flight history for free including registration. For going back further you require a subscription upgrade to Silver (90 days flight history), Gold (365 days) or Business (3 years).

Subscription costs are as follows:

Silver costs $2.99 per month or $14.99 per year, Gold costs $3.99 per month or $34.99 per year whilst a Business account is $49.99 per month or $499.99 per year.

FlightStats also shows 1 week of flight data for free. However FlightStats offers a Historical Flight Status feature as part of its Professional Subscription. It costs $24.99 per month and allows 250 flight searches by flight number or route – the data goes back to the year 2006.

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This historical function is useful to find flight numbers and flight times though the accuracy of the data is not always certain. However, you will only find aircraft registration details going back to about 2015 however.

For example, logging in to Historical Flight Status and checking Qantas flight QF77 from Perth (PER) to Singapore (SIN) on 13 Dec 2008:

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You can see that whilst we have flight times, aircraft type and some gate info there is no available tail number.

It is possible to take a subscription for just 1 month and then cancel.

FlightAware does not show tail numbers unless you upgrade to one of its Enterprise accounts which start at $100/month. It also offers full flight history for a specific flight number but this service is relatively expensive, particularly if you are after a single flight. We are not sure how far back FlightAware has registration data.

One other feature of FlightAware is that it is (sometimes) possible to find historical flight data using its URL data archive system. This is an example of an Emirates flight from January 2014 from Dubai (OMDB) to Amsterdam (EHAM):

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The FlightAware URL component lists flight number, date, takeoff time and four letter ICAO airport codes. The difficulty of this method is the takeoff time which is in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC or GMT in old money). It may often be listed as 10 minutes after the scheduled departure time as well.

The Emirates flight has a scheduled departure time of 1610 local but was listed as 1210 (plus add a Z to the time in the URL).

We have come up blank for many flights even when knowing the scheduled departure time and date – however it’s worth a shot.

Flightera is a relatively newer site which pulls together flight information from various data sources. You can search for your flight info which includes tail number, call sign, departure and arrival times. You can also search by route, airline, airport and aircraft registration. The site is free and data is available going back to September 2017. We would recommend checking the data against other sources.

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Planefinder is a radar style tracker site and app. It has a historical playback feature which lets you view the live flights from anytime in the last 2 weeks on a worldwide map. Premium subscribers get 365 days of playback.

Until summer 2019, playback was actually available going all the way back to 2011 on the website.

However the app version still allows that historical playback facility – meaning this could be one of the best tools to search for flight registrations from 2011.

You need select Playback and change the date and time – and then search the flight map (by trial and error) to look for your flight.

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Airport Flight Movement sites

LHR-LGW – If you have flown regularly from London Heathrow or London Gatwick then the LHR-LGW site is a brilliant resource. It has historical flight movement details going back decades. Go to the “Archive’s Movements” section and you will find Heathrow and Gatwick Archive years – select your year and month and open the zipped file.

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File extensions are a mixed bag depending on the year selected and sometimes open in your browser, spreadsheet or notepad.

The Heathrow archive is quite comprehensive, the Gatwick one less so – and as you go back in time the coverage gets more sparse.

The site also has an ‘ACARS’ and ‘SBS’ data archive which we will discuss shortly below.

Dutch Plane Spotters has kept an excellent record of Amsterdam Schiphol flight movements over the last decade. The daily flight record is available from 12th November 2009 onwards. You can group the data by airline, aircraft, place and other parameters. The flight coverage is almost comprehensive although we could not find all of our flights from that airport (perhaps due to those being Cityhopper-type flights from remote stands).

Note, since March 2022 arrival flights do not have aircraft registration data.

16Right is an aviation media and flight tracking site for Sydney airport (SYD) in Australia run by Grahame Hutchison. It has a very useful flight movements database going all the way back to 9 October 2005. Coverage is good but not complete – we noticed a lack of Virgin Blue flights in some years.

Local Airport ACARS Monitor from Washington Area Spotters has movement data from 2006-2019 and covers New York JFK, Newark EWR, La Guardia LGA, Baltimore-Washington BWI, Wasington Reagan DCA, Washington Dulles IAD and Philadelphia PHL.

EGPH is a site which maintains a comprehensive archive of flight movements at Edinburgh airport. This goes back as far as 1996 to the present day.

ARAG (Geneva Airport Residents) has a Geneva Airport Movement Enquiries (GAME) database of flights at Geneva airport going back to 2008.

Planeboys DE is a German spotter site for Berlin airport. It has a flight movements database for Berlin’s airports starting from May 2003. The older archives are more patchy with years 2011-2013 missing.

The London Stansted Aviation Society does have a London Stansted (STN) movements database between Jan 2002 and Feb 2007, though coverage is somewhat limited.

Air-Britain Stansted branch also has a list of Stansted movements from 2000 to 2011, although we noticed Ryanair flights were often not available.

This site has flight a flight movement archive for Incheon Seoul airport from 2015 onwards.

If you know of any other historical flight movement sites for any major airport around the world please let us know and if suitable we will add it to the resource list.

ACARS/SBS Monitoring Sites

There are various ways that aircraft can automatically communicate with ground stations using radio and satellite signals. The technical side is way beyond the scope of this article.

What is ACARS? ACARS stands for Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System. It is an electronic transmission system using VHF radio signals that allows an aircraft to communicate with ground station receivers.

Some sites have monitored ACARS and SBS radio transmissions to provide aircraft registration details for a flight number on a particular day. Coverage is reasonably good but not comprehensive.

LHR-LGW also has a good ACARS database starting from January 1998 to April 2011. There is also a separate SBS archive running from July 2006 to the present day.

When looking at an archive list for a particular day remember that contact times are in UTC/GMT. A signal from an overnight flight from say Singapore to London may be picked up and listed early on the landing day (+1) rather than on the departure day.

Also if your flight is not listed then check the full flight rotation. For example, if searching for the Emirates flight EK149 (Dubai to Amsterdam) as mentioned earlier, you should also check the return flight EK150 (Amsterdam to Dubai) – and vice versa – which should normally have the same aircraft registration.

Some archives can look a little complex and may feature only 3 digits/letters of the aircraft registration in a monthly matrix. Here’s one from LHR-LGW from May 2000:

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You may need to use the Air Fleets site to decipher the aircraft registration.

Libhomeradar [link removed as site seems to be down, version given] is another site which had a limited range of archive flight data. Results ran from around 2012-2017 with patchy data. It’s a shame since the display was much clearer than the other databases – it’s was quite easy to find the relevant aircraft registration. We got lucky and found a few missing registrations from the original working website though.

Skystef has an ACARS archive from Brussels Airport from 1 Jan 2012 to 16 Oct 2015, from 16 Mar 2021 to present. There is also a zipped archive running 2007-2015.

Unfortunately another of the main historical ACARS database sites ( has been taken down.

Terry Wade Aviation Website had ACARS logs from Biggin Hill (UK) from late 2001 to June 2004. The Lycos-hosted site no longer exists but the archived version can be found here. You can still search through the data as the webpages were indexed (rather than being a database).

Airline Source Sites – This group of sister sites (BA Source, Qantas Source, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Qatar, Aer Lingus Source) used to track aircraft fleet and flight numbers for those airlines. Unfortunately, the sites closed down in 2021. For British Airways aircraft data try the site instead.

Other Flight Resources

BTS (the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics) – This official US government site has a detailed database of domestic US flights going back some decades. You can put in your origin airport and airline for any date going back to 1987 – and it will pull up the flight details for that day.

For example, these are the Delta Airlines departures from Seattle on 1 April 1995:

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Aircraft registration data seems to be available from 1 January 1995. Note, international flights are not covered by the database. Flights from some small domestic regional carriers are also missing.

Aircraft Photo Sites – This is a long-shot but there are some big aircraft photography sites where enthusiasts upload their images. Spotters tend to be around large airports every day so there is always a very small chance that someone may have taken a photo of an aircraft you were flying on. Uploads usually include the aircraft registration.

You can do an advanced search on either or putting in the date and airport you flew from. Obviously if you are flying out of an airline’s hub there will be many flights of that airline so distinguishing your aircraft will be more of a challenge.

Airline Timetables – Going back decades it can be difficult to know the flight number and schedule of a particular flight you were on. It is perhaps possible to find the flight number and flight times from an old airline timetable. There is a healthy market for old airline memorabilia out there on ebay and other sites.

This Airline Memorabilia site run on the Blogger platform by a Portuguese enthusiast has a superb collection of airline timetables, leaflets, adverts, safety cards, fleet info and route maps.

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Airline Timetable Images site also has an extensive image archive of many older timetables.

Summary: Personal Flight History

In this article we have looked at how to collate your past historical flights. We have discussed flight tracker sites, flight log display tools and various techniques for finding flight numbers, schedules and aircraft registration.

By taking time to investigate the above resources you should able to get a significant amount of info about your own personal flight history. At the end of the day however, you will only be able to go so far with your search – there will always be flights where it will be very difficult to find any details.

Finally, if you know of any other useful resources to share then please contact us.

If you have had a delayed or cancelled flight in the last 3 years then AirHelp could assist in making a compensation claim up to €600/$700. Enter your flight details here

  • Last updated 10 December 2023.
  • First published in October 2019 – the original guide to finding your historical past flights.
  • Thanks to reader Vladimir (April 2020) for info on Flightera and multiple city resources.
  • Links at may pay an affiliate commission.
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