As much as I am obsessed with points and miles, I also have a unhealthy fascination in commercial aviation. This means that I enjoy learning all things about planes, even those I fly on.
This post will be about Airfleets. It is my favorite website to track the history of a plane. Flightradar24 is my favorite website for flight tracking, FlightStats to track a flight status, and Airfleets to track the history of a plane.
What information can Airfleets provide you?
Airfleets provides information about all aspects of commercial aviation history, including those you aren't flying. You can look up aircraft by their registration numbers or track the entire fleet of an airline.
You can find out more from Airfleets:
What type and how many planes are in an airline's fleet?
What age the planes are and if they have ever flown for other airlines
An index of the age of a carrier's planes in relation to other airlines that fly the same type of planes
You can search by airline if you are just looking for fun and general information. This page allows you to search for an airline by its name. Or, I will often just Google the name followed by Airfleets.
Let me give you an example: Delta Air Lines. You can view details about Delta's fleet on the Deltas fleet page. This includes information about the active fleet and parked fleet. It also lists the planes that the airline has flown previously.
To view more information about a particular aircraft type in the fleet, you can click on any number in any column. Clicking on A320 will display the manufacturer serial number (MSN), registration, date of delivery, and other details for each A320 in our fleet.
The delivery date is only indicative of when the plane was delivered by the airline. It does not reflect the aircraft's age. Click on the registration code to find out more about the plane's history. Clicking on the first code (N309US) will reveal that the A320 is 31 years old. It flew first for Northwest for 19 years before being transferred to Delta.
To return to the main fleet page, click on the age button. This will allow you to view the average age of each plane in the carrier's fleet and compare it to other airlines using the same plane. You can see that the Atlanta-based airline Delta has some older planes. Delta's A320s, for example, are on average 26 years old. This means that the A320 fleet of Delta is one of the oldest in the world.
If you feel that Deltas fleet lacks history, take a look at the fleet of Nolinor, a charter airline based in Montreal. This airline still operates the oldest 737-200 in service. I am specifically referring to the 737-200 registered under the C-GNLK registration. It was first put into service in 1974 and has been flying for more than 47 years.
WHAT A COOL PLANES HISTORY! Transavia, Saudia, Air Florida, Star Peru, etc.? You can find out more!
Airfleets data may not be 100% accurate at all times. This is why it should only be used for amateur plane tracking and not for serious matters.
How can you find a plane's registration code?
Apart from browsing Airfleets aimlessly, I also glance at the site before I board a flight.
I am always curious about the age of a plane (though I can usually approximate that based on the registration code, type of plane and airline I fly with)
I am always interested to know if another airline has flown a plane.
How can you find a plane's registration code? You can visualise the registration code if you are at the airport. In the image below, the registration code is located near the back of a plane. Its N324RA.
American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8.
The truth is, that there won't be much history. I can see the plane and know it to be a 737 MAX 8 (you will be able to tell by the zig-zag engine design) and I am certain it won't be older than a few years. That is confirmed when I verify that the plane was delivered in late 2017.
You might like a plane that has a little more history. Take a look below at the Boliviana de Aviacion plane, registration code CP2880.
Boliviana de Aviacion 767-300
This plane is not surprising as it has some history. It is 27 years old and flew for Alitalia, TAM and many other airlines.
Cross-reference Flightradar24 if you are at a gate but can't see the registration code. You can look up a flight number by using Flightradar24. It will usually show you the registration code of the aircraft that is operating the flight. This code can be used to view the history of the aircraft.
Airfleets is the best website to track the history of a plane. I can spend hours per day looking at the history of different planes as an avgeek. Although I don't spend as much time on the website as I used to, I sometimes find myself wandering down rabbit holes looking at how many planes have been flown.
It's always fun to look at a plane that has been flying for some time and, in some cases, even on multiple continents. You are missing out if you're as geeky as me and haven't tried Airfleets.
Do you enjoy using Airfleets?