Below are 15 of the best available air travel apps, along with what makes them so great for travelers.
This new app, unveiled at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, brings food and retail items to travelers. The app can be used to order from restaurants and stores throughout an airport's terminals. Items can either be delivered to your gate or picked up on the way to a flight and can be ordered up to a week in advance. The app also monitors your flight and finds your gate automatically, along with offering walking directions.
Gone are the days when airport lounges could only be accessed by business and first class travelers. Loungebuddy helps you find and pay for access to airport lounges around the world. And if you find a lower price than they offer you, they’ll refund you the difference.
Sorting out issues with an airline can be a long, tedious and frustrating experience. Why not have someone else take care of it for you? Service helps you solve customer service issues from their app. Simply tell them what issue you have with the airline, and if they deem it a reasonable request, they’ll follow up on it and let you know when it’s been resolved.
With Planes Live you can find and track any flight anywhere in the world. The app gives you detailed information on any flight, can send notifications on the progress of any flight, and can track flight progress in real time. This app would be especially great for parents to track flights with unaccompanied minors. Currently only available on iOS.
Ever had that feeling that there might be a better deal on that flight elsewhere or in a few days? You’ll never have to doubt yourself again. Hopper helps travelers find and book flights at the lowest fares possible using historical flight data. Enter your trip and travel dates, and Hopper will do the rest.
Free in iTunes, Google Play and the Windows Store. GateGuru is like a travel manager in your hands. The Journey Card section provides all your day-of-travel information in real time, including security wait times, flight delays, gate changes or layover time adjustments. The Airport Card is what launched GateGuru by offering terminal maps, crowd-sourced reviews of food/beverage and retail outlets and weather. And when you have a tight connection and want to make sure you get something to eat for the plane ride, this app is a godsend.
99 cents in iTunes and free for the basic version in Google Play. You need a reliable app that helps you check on airline fares (except for Southwest Airlines), and this is it. But the Pro version does so much more. You can check hotel and rental car deals, book hotels, track an manage flights, check bag fees, view information on more than 100 airports (powered by GateGuru), set up air fare price alerts and follow flight search trends.
$2.99 in iTunes and Google Play. This app is perfect to get you out of a flight delay or cancellation, or if you just want to catch an earlier or later flight. Type in your city-pair and travel date, and the app shows all the flights available that day, by airline, both non-stop and connecting. So when you're on the phone trying to get help from the ticket agent, you've already done the heavy lifting, making it far more likely that you'll get on a new flight.
Free in iTunes and Google Play. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised that the Transportation Security Administration was able to create an app that uses crowdsourcing to tell how long security lines are at airports and if there are any flight delays. It also allows users to type in an item and check if they can bring it in their carry-on or checked baggage. Finally, it offers a guide that answers travelers' most common security questions.
Free in iTunes and Google Play. Many travelers have experienced having their flight delayed or cancelled, and finding themselves stuck. This app offers some great same-day deals at hotels in dozens of cities across the world. And these are not budget-type hotels. Brands appearing on the app include Kimpton, Hampton Inn & Suites, Embassy Suites, Residence Inn and Sheraton.
You're at the airport, you're starving and you have no idea what you want to eat or if you'll even have time to get anything before your flight. But if you have this app on your smartphone, you're able to discover restaurant options near their destination terminal/gate, place an order and prepay for meals right from their phone. Once an order is placed, you choose between immediate pick-ups or putting your order on hold. When your food is ready, a notification is sent to your smartphone and you can pick up your food without having to wait in line.
Let's face it -- travel is stressful. So anything that can help reduce that stress is always welcome. The app has more than 200 meditations that address specific stressful situations, with titles including Soften and Relax; Cultivating Patience; Tension Release; and Deep Breathing to Sleep.
This summer I went on a trip to China. Of course, I had my iPhone and my iPad. As open and progressive as China has become, it still restricts internet access to sites that we here the United States take for granted, like Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Gmail. But I wanted to document my trip with friends and family, which is where this app, revealed to me by my travel friend Ramsey Qubein came in. It has networks in 87 countries, and I used a server based in Denver for my needs. It was pretty fast. It costs $99 a year, but the company offers a free 30-day trial.
I'll share a secret -- despite all my world travels, I have a fear of flying. I do what I can to prepare and keep the stress from getting to me. So I was intrigued when this app was pitched to me. After downloading it on a smartphone or pad, it walks you through realistic simulations of what do do when anything goes wrong on your flight.
In an effort to stay organized, I use this web-based helper to create packing to lists for my trips because I am known for forgetting to pack key items (hey-no underwear in Germany). After asking a series of questions, it generates a list and allows you the options for Minimal, Normal and Perfectionist. The lists can be printed or downloaded onto your smartphone. And bonus -- if the airline loses your luggage, you already have a handy list of items to present.