Ever driven to the airport to pick someone up who is just not coming out of the terminal on time? You checked the airline website before you left the house and the flight was supposed to be on schedule, but it's 20 minutes past the landing time and when you call the person's cell phone it goes straight to voicemail. You don't have the airline's number and you can't leave your car to run in and ask what's up without raising the security level from orange to red. I've been in that situation several times, and I'll tell you nothing makes for a grumpier welcoming committee than one that's just driven 22 fruitless laps around the terminals.
But now, according to Travel Weekly (free registration required), Google has introduced a new mobile tool that allows you to send a quick text message to the search engine and retrieve flight status information almost immediately. Just text 466453 with the airline name (or airline abbreviation, such as AA for American) and flight number and you'll get a message back with the flight status. I tried it out for a couple of flights and got the information I requested in seconds. If you don't know the flight number, you can just text the airline name and Google will send you the carrier's phone number.