While the world may be more connected than ever before, frequent fliers remain as abundant as ever. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, many people spend a good portion of their lives up in the air. Where technology does play a crucial role in modern air travel is in the area of convenience. This is where travel-based apps come in handy.
Just like every other genre of mobile application, there are more travel apps on the market than a person can shake a smartphone at. Inevitably many of these apps are of dubious quality and aren’t exactly worth the price of the download – even if that price is free. So the question then becomes how to separate the wheat from the chaff and find the best mobile travel apps that serve a practical purpose and make frequent travelers’ lives that much easier.
The below list is intended to answer just such a question.
My TSA – free, iPhone
Since 9/11, heightened airport security has become a fact of life. And while the majority of travelers understand the need for a bit more scrutiny before boarding a plane, the constant changes to TSA rules and regulations are often frustrating. With My TSA, travelers simply input their airport name and the app presNeents them with a host of vital info, from security check wait times to advice about traveling with children. The app even details what items passengers can or cannot pack in their carry-on.
GateGuru – free, Android/iPhone
Most people, frequent fliers or otherwise, have at some point experienced the raw excitement and adrenaline rush that comes with sitting in a bolted-down chair for hours on end waiting to board a flight. What GateGuru offers is the ability for travelers to make the most of long wait times by providing information on everything from flight schedules to Airport amenities? Whether a person is jonesing for a Cinnabon or wants to score some primo duty-free schwag, GateGuru can point them in the right direction.
NextFlight – 2.99, Android/iPhone
A wise man once said that punctuality is one of the cardinal business virtues. To the person who just missed the last flight of the day home by five minutes, that quote is probably more of an irritant than a comfort. And that’s precisely the reason NextFlight was invented. Travelers who find themselves scrambling for another flight can get instant schedule information from more than 4300 airports.
TripIt – free, BlackBerry/Android/iPhone
Where once people scrambled to organize paper itineraries from brick-and-mortar travel agencies, they now scramble to organize digital itineraries from online travel agencies. And then they print out these itineraries in paper form and scramble to organize them again. TripIt helps streamline the chaos that comes with mass travel receipts and documentation by forwarding all necessary travel info to a single folder. This data is organized by date and time, making the traveler’s life that much easier.
Kindle – free, BlackBerry/Android/iPhone
Many fliers prefer relaxing with a good book as opposed to listening to movies with shoddy audio or angrily tapping barely responsive seat-back touchscreens. This is one of the primary reasons the Kindle became a hit among travelers. Now the Kindle app allows smartphone users to browse a library of over 1,000,000 books as well as newspapers and periodicals. And the best part is that it frees up space in a carry-on by removing bulky hardcovers from the equation.
With the above apps firmly ensconced in the intrepid traveler’s hard drive, there’s no longer a reason to fall prey to airport inconvenience or monotony. And until the day someone invents an application that can soothe screaming babies on airplanes, these five should just about cover it all.
Ivy Harriss writes for VisitWestHollywood.com, the official guide to West Hollywood hotels, shopping, restaurants, things to do and events.