Check Compensation
How to Find Past Flight Information

How to Find Past Flight Information

Nicolle Harwood-Nash
9 minutes read
Last Updated: January 02, 2024

Whether consolidating your business travel expenses, checking travel dates when submitting an airline compensation claim, or simply trying to recount a memorable trip, there can be many instances in which accessing past flight information becomes essential. Thankfully, modern-day tools have made this more convenient than ever.

At AirAdvisor, we're a dedicated legal team that stands firmly for passenger rights, ensuring that any travel hiccups you face don't go unaddressed. In this article, we provide comprehensive information on how to find past flight information, discuss why you might need it and provide answers to some frequently asked questions.

Methods to Retrieve Old Flight Details

There are several ways to find past flight information, whether you're a digital native with every app at your fingertips or someone who prefers traditional methods. Below, we explore some of the most effective approaches:

Contact the Airline Directly

One of the most straightforward ways of tracking down past flight details is to contact the airline you travelled with directly. Each airline has a customer service team that is equipped to handle these requests. By providing them with essential details, for example, your passport number or frequent flyer details, the airline can locate the historical flight data you seek.

For instance, you may wonder how to find past flight information on American Airlines. In this case, you could either call the airline on their customer service number in the region applicable to you, or you could submit an enquiry form on the American Airlines’ website. Here are a few ways of getting in contact.

When communicating directly with an airline in search of historical flight details, it's essential to be clear and specific to speed up the process and ensure you receive the necessary information.

If your flight was delayed, canceled or overbooked within the last 3 years, you could be eligible for up to $650 (€600) in compensation.Check Your Flight

Use Online Booking Platforms

Online booking platforms, including Expedia, Kayak, and have become popular tools for comparing and securing flight deals. Once you book a flight through an online booking platform like one of these, your flight details are stored in your personal account. This archive allows you to easily and quickly locate past flight information and ensures that, even if you forget, your account remembers!

To access your past bookings to check various flight details, simply log in and head to the section, often named My Trips or Booking History. In this section, you'll find a list of your past travel information in chronological order, allowing you a quick snapshot of dates, destinations, and other essential details.

Check Email Records

When you book a flight, you'll receive a booking confirmation email from the airline or ticketing agent. This email typically contains all the specifics of your trip, from flight numbers to terminals and departure times. If you're trying to trace back to a particular flight, a simple search in your email inbox can sometimes be the quickest route.

To do this efficiently, consider using specific keywords to search your inbox. For example, the airline's name or your destination. It pays to have a dedicated folder for travel-related emails to streamline this process.

A man checking flight detail records

Using Flight Tracking Websites and Apps

Flight tracking websites and apps, such as FlightAware or FlightRadar24, can be great tools for sourcing both live and historical flight data. While these platforms were initially introduced to monitor live flights, many of them have now expanded their offerings to include flight history. By inputting past flight numbers and flight dates, users can gain free historical flight data relating to a flight's trajectory, timings, and more.

Using flight tracking sites for finding information on past flights is usually straightforward. Typically, you'll need to enter the relevant flight details and follow the prompts. As these platforms have extensive databases behind them, allowing them to provide detailed information on past flights, they're often a go-to for those looking to retrace their flight movements.

Accessing Passport or Travel Records

Aside from being essential for travel, the stamps and annotations within your passport can offer valuable insights about your past flights and destinations. Additionally, other travel documents, like visas or boarding passes, can help you piece together the puzzle of your past travels.

For instance, an entry stamp marked Heathrow Airport, London - 10 May 2022, with an exit stamp from Gatwick Airport, London - 22 May 2022 indicates a trip to England during that period. While not the most efficient method to find previous flights, these stamps offer a tangible timeline of your travels.

Accessing Passport or Travel Records

Why you might need to locate old flight itineraries

When travelling, it's easy to underestimate the importance of keeping a detailed record of your flight itineraries. Aside from simply helping you retrace the steps of a memorable journey, a complete flight history has several practical implications.

Firstly, it serves as proof of travel, which you may require in various administrative or professional situations. It can also be helpful when reconciling personal or business expenses at the end of the financial year, especially for frequent fliers.

Below, you can explore some other scenarios that underline the importance of having access to comprehensive flight history:

  • Seeking Compensation for a Delayed Flight: Imagine you experience a lengthy delay when catching a flight out of Paris during a business trip. It was likely more than just an inconvenience for you. You may have missed meetings or incurred additional expenses because of the delay.

    By accessing your flight history, you can substantiate your claim when seeking delayed flight compensation from the responsible airline. This is where our team at AirAdvisor can further assist, ensuring you can easily determine your eligibility for compensation and receive the funds duly owed to you.

  • Verifying Travel for Visa or Residency Applications: When applying for a visa or residency in certain countries, there might be a requirement for you to submit a detailed travel background including a full flight history, including all individual flights you've taken. Historical data relating to your past flight can be invaluable in such scenarios, verifying your flight dates and destinations.

Find Out How Much Compensation An Airline Might Owe You With Our Free Compensation Check Tool.Check My Trip

Tips for Maintaining Your Personal Flight History

Here, you can find some quick tips to help you keep a solid record of your personal flight history:

  • Create a Dedicated Email Folder: Create a unique folder in your email account to house all flight confirmations and other communications related to travel.
  • Use Digital Document Scanning Apps: There are a range of apps such as Evernote or Microsoft Office Lens, that can scan and store flight tickets, boarding passes, and other relevant travel documents.
  • Maintain a Travel Journal: If you're a notekeeper by nature, consider a dedicated travel diary or section in your daily planner to jot down flight details, including dates, numbers, airlines, and any noteworthy experiences.
  • Regularly Update Digital Calendars: Add your flight details to digital calendars like Google Calendar or Apple's iCal straight away after making your booking.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have pending questions about finding information relating to past flights, you might find them answered below:

How and where to find historical data on arrival and departure times of a flight?

A good option to find historical data relating to flight arrival and departure times is to use a flight tracking website such as FlightAware or FlightRadar24. As mentioned previously, it's usually just a case of entering the flight number and date for these platforms to be able to provide insights into a past flight's trajectory and timings.

Aside from these flight tracker websites, airline official websites can be another option when sourcing this information, as some offer flight status archives that cover their past operations.

How to check previous flight details?

There are several avenues you can consider if you need to confirm the details of a flight you've taken in the past:

  • Search your email account for booking confirmation emails.
  • Log into online booking platforms you may have used when purchasing your ticket, and check under 'My Trips' or 'Booking History'.
  • Contact the airline's customer service department and provide them with the necessary information to retrieve your past flight details.

Can you track a flight for free?

Yes, you can. There are several online platforms like FlightAware, FlightRadar24, and PlaneFinder that allow you to track live flights and access some historical flight data for free. For more in-depth historical flight information, there might be a premium version or a fee involved.

How far back does Flightradar24 go?

The depth of the historical flight information you can access on Flightradar24 is determined by your level of subscription. As a free user, you can view up to a week of past flight data. Silver membership will allow you access to 3 months of information and gold membership will permit you access to a full year of previous flight data. As a business member, you can access up to 2 years of information.

How do you see if a flight was cancelled in the past?

If you need to determine the status of a past flight, there are a few reliable methods you can consider. The first thing you might do is review email or text message correspondences from the airline or your ticketing agent. It's common for these entities to send out notifications about cancelled flights.

Flight tracking websites can also provide this information, though your access to it may depend on your subscription tier. For a direct approach, you can call the airline or submit an enquiry on their website to receive a definitive answer regarding historical flight statuses.

How can I find past flight details if I lost my email confirmation?

Luckily, if you've misplaced your booking confirmation email, it's not the end of the road. Many airlines facilitate you logging into their website using your frequent flyer account to access past flight details.

If you don’t have a frequent flyer account, the airline's customer service team should be able to help you with the provision of details, such as the credit card you used for the booking, date of travel, or your passport number. Additionally, if you booked your flight through a travel agency or third-party platform, contacting them can also help you retrieve your flight details in the absence of an email confirmation.

How long do airlines keep records of passengers?

Airlines operate within stringent regulatory frameworks that dictate how long they keep passenger records. For example, in accordance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's regulations under Customs and Border Protection (CBP), there's a requirement for airlines to retain active Passenger Name Records (PNRs) for a minimum of 5 years.

In the European Union (EU), the EU PNR directive states that PNR data should be retained for 5 years, but is to be depersonalised after a 6-month period, meaning that passenger-identifying elements are masked. By depersonalising data, authorities can retain it for security purposes, while ensuring passenger privacy.

Please note that individual airlines or countries might have varying policies or regulations. These may potentially extend passenger record retention periods up to 7 years or more. We recommend consulting specific airline policies or local regulations to get exact information.

Back to News list
Mika Louise Hilberman  13.11.2023

Air Advisory I see your reccomendation on finding flight information but I am looking for real stories I think I have been on flights I have tried to save as SEAL SEAL Ranger Ranger Marine Marine and a pilot but would really like to know more about this. I think I have parachuted from some flights too and want to know more of this as well!! Do you have another contact for good stories?? Quenta Quenta Mikaiela Kind Winter Wintador Peiper O Peiper

Leave your feedback

Flight Compensation Calculator
Flight Compensation Calculator

Flight Compensation Calculator:

Check if you are entitled to flight delay compensation in just 3 minutes.
Free Instant Check

Free Instant Check

No Win, No Fee

No Win, No Fee

Ready to claim your £520 (€600) now?

It takes less than 5 minutes

Claim compensation

AirAdvisor has been featured in:

  • CNN
  • Forbes
  • USA Today
  • Mirror