The 10 Best Travel Apps For Flight Attendants

1. FAAWait – During a creeping weather delay a flight attendant who also works part time as an air traffic controller told me about FAAWait. It’s his favorite app. One click and we knew which airports across the country were also experiencing delays, how long the delays were averaging, and what had caused the delays.

2. MyRadar: Recently a fearful flier on board one of my flights spent three hours watching the weather light up his iPad screen: blue, green, red – wow, so much red! He knew exactly when to expect turbulence, how bad it might get, and how long it would last. Knowing this kept him calm. At one point he even turned around in his seat to let the crew know it would be smooth flying from here on out. Two seconds later the captain called to tell us the exact same thing, it was safe to get up and finish the service. Since then I’ve been recommending the app to anyone who mentions they’re afraid to fly.

3. WhatsApp: An Emirate’s flight attendant from Bosnia based in Saudi Arabia told me about this app on a flight from Miami to New York. WhatsApp makes it possible to send text messages to friends and family out of the country free of charge. There is virtually no cost to stay in touch with loved ones. You can even share audio and video messages.

4. Twitter: Still the best way to get breaking news! You don’t need to “get it.” Just learn how to use the hashtags to find information as it’s happening. For instance, not too long ago I was at an airport that was being evacuated and no one knew why. That was my cue to search the airport code – #DFW. That’s how I found out there was a bomb threat on an incoming flight. I learned this from passengers who were actually on board the flight and tweeting about it as they taxied to the gate.

5. HappyHourFinder: Flight attendants don’t make a lot of money. In fact new hires start out making less than $18,000 a year. And yet we’re subjected to overpriced hotel and airport food on a regular basis. This is why we take advantage of happy hour specials, particularly ones that include half priced appetizers, which might explain how I ended up at Vince Neil’s Bar, Tres Rios, in Las Vegas two hours after learning about the app in the crew van on our way from the airport to the layover hotel.6. Instagram: Because when you travel there are just so many beautiful things to photograph. The app not only makes your pictures look ten times better, it’s easy to text and email your photos or post photos straight to Facebook or Twitter. What I enjoy most about the app is following people whose photos inspire me to travel, like @Lax2Nrt or even @Umetaturou who shares hilarious pictures of a Border Collie named Sora who can balance anything on his head. One of these days I’m going to fly to Japan and walk that dog!

7. Postagram: Remember when you used to send postcards to family and friends from around the world just to let them know you were thinking about them? Now you’re too busy to think, let alone search for just the right card to send. Not to mention all that time it takes to address and stamp it. With Postagram you can turn your cool photos into postcards by using pictures from your phone, Facebook or Twitter. Write a short message and Postagram will take care of the rest.

8. Yelp: Whenever I find myself at a layover hotel in a new city, the first thing I do is pull up Yelp just to see what’s nearby. I might use it to find a great place to eat, check out a tourist attraction, or locate a pharmacy within walking distance. Users post reviews and photos to help narrow down the search so you can determine whether or not it’s worth it to leave your hotel room.

9. HotelTonight: If you’re a commuter like me, this app will save your life one day. At noon each day HotelTonight offers great last minute deals on a couple of hotels near your current location. Get a $25 credit with your first booking, $25 for each friend who signs up, and $25 when a friend makes their first bookings. So … who wants to be friends?

10. GateGuru: Enter an airport code and up pops everything you could ever want to know about food, shopping, and any services offered, along with reviews, ratings and maps. Enter your flight number and access flight status, delays and weather conditions all in the same place.

Postagram app turns your Instagram photos into postcards

postagram instagram postcard app iphoneThe whole crew here at Gadling loves sending postcards. Heck, we love receiving them, too. Sadly, handwritten notes – including postcards – are nowhere near as popular as they used to be. Why send a postcard from the road when you can instantly Skype or IM with someone? Why send one stock photo when you can upload all of your own pictures? The answer to both questions is the same: sending someone a personalized, analog message shows that in that moment, at that place, you were thinking of them and wanted to put some effort into showing them just that. Thankfully, there’s a new iPhone app that combines the thoughtfulness of postcards with modern social networking. Postagram allows iPhone users to turn pictures from the Instagram app into real postcards.Our friends over at TechCrunch shared the info on Postagram earlier today. For just 99 cents, users can turn any one of their Instagram photos into a postcard, add a 140-character message and have it printed and in the recipient’s hand in 2-5 business days (longer for international shipping). Users can do everything from the Postagram iPhone app or on the Postagram website. The picture can even be popped out of the postcard if the recipient just wants the image without the message.

We think this is a great tool for sending postcards to friends, especially if you’re in a location where finding a post office is challenging. And the price is cheaper than the cost of buying a postcard and a stamp in many places.

Certainly there are downsides. The 140-character limit means that you can’t write much of a note to accompany the picture. Also, while it does save the addresses that you enter to mail Postagrams, we’d love to see it access your iPhone’s contacts to make selecting recipients and inputting their addresses that much quicker and easier. Lastly, since it won’t be mailed from your location, it lacks the mystique of postmarks from faraway lands.

That said, it’s still a unique image that you took and chose to share with someone. In that sense, it still maintains the personal feel of postcards.

Anyone who signs up today will receive their first Postagram for free, which is a nice way to try out the app and service. I just made my first Postagram (for free, since I signed up today) and it was quick and easy. Oddly, while their site says that the Postagram will arrive in 2-5 days, the app itself said that it would take 3-7 days. That’s certainly something to keep an eye on.

Postagram is free and available on the iPhone App Store.

[Via TechCrunch]