Let's say you are heading to the airport and you want to check your plane's flight status or gate info. And let's say you don't remember your airline's telephone hotline, don't have access to the Internet, and haven't signed up for flight alerts from Orbitz or other service providers (as I've previously blogged about)? You can now check flight status and departure info by calling 1-800-Flights (800/354-4487), a free automated service that uses the same data as FlightStats.com, which in turn receives its data from the FAA, more than 140 airlines, and more than 430 U.S. airports and 170 overseas airports. To make the phone system work, you can talk to a recorded lady. You tell her your flight number or you can use the approximate arrival or departure time and city.
The good: The service knows when you're flying on an airline's code-share partner, directing you to the gate of the plane you are flying (which may not be the brand name of the company you purchased your ticket from).
The bad: The recorded lady sounds like she's O.D'ed on Ambien, and when I tested the service by calling on a city sidewalk, she had some trouble hearing my words given the background noise.
The ugly: If you're flight is delayed, this service will be unable to offer you the local or toll-free number of your airline to rebook. So you still need to have BudgetTravel.com's Wallet Card in hand. Download it here.