Here’s How Many Planes Are in the Sky Right Now

Updated: Feb. 08, 2023

We'll point you to the exact number.

Airplane flying high above the clouds.24Novembers/Shutterstock

When you were a kid, you probably watched intently every time a plane flew overhead. As adults, we barely bat an eye when we see one pass because we see them fly so often. And that might lead you to wonder: Just how many flights are in the air as we speak (er, read)?

Depending on the time of day or time of year, there could be anywhere from 8,000 to 20,000 planes mid-flight at any given moment, according to Flightradar24, which keeps track of flights in real time. You’re most likely to find numbers on the high end of that range in the summer when it’s between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Western European Time because at that point, flights in North America (where it will be morning) and Europe (where it will be afternoon or early evening) will be active, the analysts say. Typically, the year’s busiest flight day is in July or August on a Thursday or Friday. Don’t miss these other 13 things airlines won’t tell you.

As for the quietest days in the sky, you won’t find many planes taking off on Christmas Day, when many people have already reached their holiday destinations, Flightradar24 analysts say. Business is slow enough that airlines such as Ryanair and Aer Lingus don’t even offer flights on December 25.

Wondering how many planes are flying this very moment? Head to for a real-time estimate. You can even zoom in to see how many are close to your city. And before your next flight, fix these 16 mistakes you should never make at the airport.