The holiday season is a tough one for air travelers. Bad weather, oversold flights and flight cancellations can really screw up your holiday plans. Sadly, when things do go wrong, airport staff are not always able/willing to assist, and when they do, the line to reach the desk can be huge.
Thankfully, if you have an iPhone, you really do “have an app for that”. In this lineup, you’ll find six iPhone apps that can help survive the worst the airport throws at you.
Don’t rely on the announcements from gate staff – stay one step ahead of everyone by listening to the air traffic controllers at your airport. The application covers 100’s of airports, in the US and abroad, and streams the live conversations between the controllers and aircraft. So, next time the tower tells your plane that it’ll be 2 hours, and the captain tells you on the intercom that they wait “won’t be too long”, you’ll know the real situation.
This app also works great from the gate, or even on the drive to the airport. Sure, you need to be a bit geeky, and it’ll take a little practice to understand all the various aviation terms used, but before you know it, you’ll be a pro at deciphering all the communications with your flight.
iTunes app store link: LiveATC
This is an indispensable application for any traveler with an iPhone. FlightTrack Pro links to TripIt, allowing you to import all your itineraries. The app keeps a close eye on your flight, and alerts you of any delays, gate changes or cancellations.
In my experience, FlightTrack Pro can even alert you to these changes before the gate agents or PA announcer are informed.
It has happened to me several times that I walked to the new gate 10 minutes before the rest of the passengers even knew about the change.
FlightTrack Pro is also fantastic for gate notifications on connecting flights. Simply turn your phone on when you land (and when the flight crew say it is OK), and you’ll immediately see where your next flight departs from.
iTunes app store link: FlightTrack Pro
Sooner or later you’ll hear the dreaded announcement – “flight canceled”. If the delay is weather related, the airlines will usually just close up for the night and leave you on your own. At this point, most passengers will be running for the hotel booking desk. You are prepared, so grab your iPhone, start HotelPal, and within 20 seconds, you have a list of all the local hotels, their current rate for the night and their distance to your location.
You can reserve a room directly inside the application, view detailed information about the hotel and even see its location on a map.
iTunes app store link: HotelPal
preFlight displays current FAA supplied delay information for virtually every airport in the country.
It shows departure delays, arrival delays and any other specific delay information.
Best of all, it shows why the airport is suffering delays, which can give you a good idea how long you’ll be stuck at the airport food court.
iTunes app store link: preFlight
Do you know the phone number for your airline? Or a quick way to reach their online check-in site? FlightSites is a really simple collection of airline phone numbers and web sites. It covers most of the US carriers, and provides links to their customer support pages, frequent flier site, online check-in site and a quick way to call their customer support.
iTunes app store link: FlightSites
Airport maps for iPhone
What do you do when you arrive at an airport you’ve never been to, and only have 10 minutes to find your connecting gate?
Or what if you arrive at the airport in desperate need of a Big Mac? Airport Maps for iPhone covers 59 major North American airports, and displays gates, amenities and other services.
The app shows easy to navigate maps of the airport, with pinch and zoom control.
Since the application stores all the maps locally, you can browse your destination while still in the air (with your iPhone in flight mode of course).
iTunes app store link: Airport maps for iPhone