Tag Archives: smartphone

Another Five Travel Apps For Your Consideration

Regular readers know that I am a freak when it comes to travel apps on my iPhone. And because of that, I have people asking me all the time which ones are among my favorites.  I get recommendations and try them out. Then I reorder, cut and add ones into the mix.  Below are another five apps you ought to give a try.

  1. WorldMate – I can’t take my virtual assistant Cristina (let me know if you’re in the market for a GREAT VA) with me on trips, this free app comes in handy when I travel. Give it your travel information and it will spit out an itemized itinerary of your trip. It also organize flights, hotels, cars, meetings, and transportation; checks in for your flight; and plots your entire trip on a map and get directions to your hotel and meetings.
  2. HopStop – Since we all can’t afford to use cabs and limos when we’re out of town, this app provides great directions on using public transportation in more than 600 cities across the globe.  And did I mention that it’s free?
  3. Free WiFi Finder – I have an iPad that doesn’t have the data plan, so sometimes I need to know where the free WiFi is. This handy app uses your iPhone to find the nearest locations.
  4. HitList – Type in your destination and this free app will send you the cheapest flights to dozens of cities across the globe. It will tell you when the cheapest fares are listed and email you when fares to your chosen destination drop.
  5. Been – While this isn’t an app that will help you with your travels, it does help you generate a really cool map that tracks all the places you’ve been and gives you a percentage of the world you’ve seen.

So – you know the question: what apps did I miss?

RELATED BLOG POSTS

10 Must-Have Travel Apps

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My Top 5 iPhone Travel Apps

 

Best Of Aviation Queen: 10 Must-Have Travel Apps

Editor’s note: I’m taking the week off for vacation, so check out some of my favorite blog posts of 2013. Everyone is always looking for the best travel apps, so here are some of my picks. The post below first appeared on the blog on Aug. 13. Enjoy!
iphone

Last week, my friend Jim asked me a question about a travel app. He said that I should do a blog post on my favorite travel apps, and I agreed. Apps have revolutionized the way we travel, and I have 10 in my travel apps folder on the iPhone that I can’t live without, in no particular order. Enjoy!

  1. MyTSA (free) – I have to give props to the Transportation Security Administration for creating 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 the most common security questions.
  2. Smart Traveler (free) – this official app from the U.S. State Department is great for my international travelers.  It offers information including official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps and U.S. embassy locations.
  3. Next Flight ($2.99) – this one is most valuable if you’re experiencing a flight delay or want to catch an earlier/later flight. Type in your city-pair and travel date, and the app shows all the flights available that day. That can be very handy if you get a less-than-helpful gate or ticket agent.
  4. Flight + ($3.99) – this app is the perfect companion to Next Flight. It offers the ability to track any flight in the world, check out flight boards at hundreds of airports, weather, maps and the ability to sync with calendars and share flight information via e-mail, text message, Facebook, and Twitter.
  5. GateGuru (free) – TripAdvisor bought this handy little app, which has expanded greatly since the acquisition. The JourneyCard 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 GateGuru’s calling card, offering maps, details and reviews of food/beverage and retail outlets and weather.
  6. Packing + TO DO (99 cents) – if you’re like me, sometimes you forget to pack key items (underwear). This app has a catalog of 800 items and allows you to customize your packing lists. You can also access the lists in the cloud. And the app is very handy in case your luggage is lost, because you can give a detailed list of items you packed.
  7. Kayak Pro (99 cents) – this is my go-to app when checking on airfares. It covers every carrier except Southwest, and gives dozens of options and price ranges. The app also lets you check hotel and rental car deals, book hotels, track flights, manage your flight, check bag fees and view maps for more than 100 airports.
  8. Hotel Tonight (free) – let’s say the worst happens; your flight is delayed or cancelled, and you’re stuck. This app offers amazing same-day deals at hotels in dozens of cities across the world. And these are not Motel 6-type facilities (no disrespect to Motel 6). Most of them are chic boutique hotels at bargain basement rates.
  9. Taxi Magic or Uber (free) – Taxi Magic allows you to book, track, pay for and get receipts for cab rides, all from your smartphone. Uber is similar to Taxi Magic, but it offers a range of cars (from UberX to Lux) to fit your budget.
  10. The Plane Rules (free) – With all the myriad rules airlines have in place when it comes to travel. Frequent flyer guru Terry Tripler’s app is a godsend to travelers who may not know the rules when it comes to airlines’ contract of carriage, liability for flight schedules and rules for same-day standby and flight changes.

– See more at: http://www.aviationqueen.com/10-must-have-travel-apps/#sthash.YDnOEPWl.dpuf

Why Mike Benjamin Is A Holiday Travelers’ Best Friend

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All images courtesy of FlightView

Mike Benjamin is the CEO of FlightView, a flight tracking and travel itinerary management company that’s been around for 30 years. FlightView, available on your desktop or as iPhone and Android apps, tracks more than 100,000 commercial and general aviation flights around the world every day.

Mike Benjamin

Mike Benjamin

That information is based on data from airlines, airports and the FAA that comes in on a minute-by-minute basis, says Benjamin. And it’s the data that will help, now that news outlets, including Quartz, are saying that a pre-Thanksgiving nor’easter is going to cause some major travel woes.

“It’s the holiday season and that’s when we get stressed out the most. But  I think the key thing is well-informed traveler can always deal with  the ups and downs of what’s going on better,” said Benjamin.

And one great way to keep informed during the compressed Thanksgiving travel window is the FlightView app. Users can do the following: track flights by flight number or route; watch a moving map to track a particular flight; check for airport delays via a map or by name; and upload itineraries that allow FlightView to share your trips, check flight status and receive alerts if there are any changes.

FlightView also has a handy feature — the ability to show you information on the location of an inbound aircraft for a desired outbound flight. “I was recently on a US Airways flight to Philadelphia, and transferring to a flight home to Boston. We were late arriving to Philadelphia,” said Benjamin. “When I checked the app, I discovered that my next flight to Boston hadn’t even landed yet, so I had time to stop at the restroom and enjoy a cup of coffee.”

A smartphone is the best tool a traveler can have, said Benjamin. “You can immediately use it to rebook flights if there’s a delay or cancellation,” he said. “It can offer the most complete travel information, and can help you look for alternative routes that may be with different airlines.”

It’s all about being informed so you know what’s going on., said Benjamin.  “And by having information and being first to call an airline when there’s a delay, you can also be the first to get things fixed with your airline,” he stated.

The FlightView app has had more than 2.5 million downloads, said Benjamin.  “Our job is to take the data, make sense of it, and give you the data you need for your travel,” he said. “The information is out there and if you have it, you know what’s going on and you can relax and enjoy the holidays.”

10 Must-Have Travel Apps

iphone

Last week, my friend Jim asked me a question about a travel app. He said that I should do a blog post on my favorite travel apps, and I agreed. Apps have revolutionized the way we travel, and I have 10 in my travel apps folder on the iPhone that I can’t live without, in no particular order. Enjoy!

  1. MyTSA (free) – I have to give props to the Transportation Security Administration for creating 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 the most common security questions.
  2. Smart Traveler (free) – this official app from the U.S. State Department is great for my international travelers.  It offers information including official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps and U.S. embassy locations.
  3. Next Flight ($2.99) – this one is most valuable if you’re experiencing a flight delay or want to catch an earlier/later flight. Type in your city-pair and travel date, and the app shows all the flights available that day. That can be very handy if you get a less-than-helpful gate or ticket agent.
  4. Flight + ($3.99) – this app is the perfect companion to Next Flight. It offers the ability to track any flight in the world, check out flight boards at hundreds of airports, weather, maps and the ability to sync with calendars and share flight information via e-mail, text message, Facebook, and Twitter.
  5. GateGuru (free) – TripAdvisor bought this handy little app, which has expanded greatly since the acquisition. The JourneyCard 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 GateGuru’s calling card, offering maps, details and reviews of food/beverage and retail outlets and weather.
  6. Packing + TO DO (99 cents) – if you’re like me, sometimes you forget to pack key items (underwear). This app has a catalog of 800 items and allows you to customize your packing lists. You can also access the lists in the cloud. And the app is very handy in case your luggage is lost, because you can give a detailed list of items you packed.
  7. Kayak Pro (99 cents) – this is my go-to app when checking on airfares. It covers every carrier except Southwest, and gives dozens of options and price ranges. The app also lets you check hotel and rental car deals, book hotels, track flights, manage your flight, check bag fees and view maps for more than 100 airports.
  8. Hotel Tonight (free) – let’s say the worst happens; your flight is delayed or cancelled, and you’re stuck. This app offers amazing same-day deals at hotels in dozens of cities across the world. And these are not Motel 6-type facilities (no disrespect to Motel 6). Most of them are chic boutique hotels at bargain basement rates.
  9. Taxi Magic or Uber (free) – Taxi Magic allows you to book, track, pay for and get receipts for cab rides, all from your smartphone. Uber is similar to Taxi Magic, but it offers a range of cars (from UberX to Lux) to fit your budget.
  10. The Plane Rules (free) – With all the myriad rules airlines have in place when it comes to travel. Frequent flyer guru Terry Tripler’s app is a godsend to travelers who may not know the rules when it comes to airlines’ contract of carriage, liability for flight schedules and rules for same-day standby and flight changes.

How to Survive Holiday Travel — From Mike Benjamin, CEO of FlightView

Editor’s note: kids, your Aunt Benet needs your help me with her new Wednesday column, Rolling Aviation Thoughts. Before, I never posted on Wednesdays.  But now I’m using that day to write down the aviation/airline flotsam and jetsam running through my head at any given time.  It also guides you to links to other random stuff that isn’t big enough for a full blog post, but is still worth pointing out.  Drop me a line at benet AT aviationqueen DOT com or DM on Twitter at @AvQueenBenet.  You can be anonymous if you choose. I thank you in advance for your help!

As the holidays fast approach, I felt it was time to offer some travel tips to make the process smoother.  And who better to talk about this topic than Mike Benjamin, CEO of FlightView.

Aviation Queen: What are some of the things travelers can do to make their holiday travel less stressful?

Mike Benjamin: With just a little extra preparation, travelers can enjoy a more productive and calmer experience for themselves and their families. There are a few simple ways to prepare for busy travel conditions this holiday season:

  • When deciding when to depart for the airport, plan an extra 45 minutes due to heightened security and higher volume.
  • Instead of fighting crowds, losing your seat and lugging your bags around the airport to check the display boards, leverage your smart phone for updates on flight information.
  • Travelers should check parking availability before leaving for the airport – one parking detour could be enough to cause a missed flight.
  • As always, travelers can save time at the airport by checking in and printing their boarding pass in advance.

AQ: I have an iPhone/iPad. What are some of the best apps out there to track airline delays and airport security traffic?

MB: A smartphone in your pocket is a power tool while trying to survive the holiday travel chaos. There are two great apps to download – one for airline specific information and one for airport specific information.

App for Airlines

FlightView offers three versions of its leading real-time flight tracking app – Free, $.99, and $3.99.

Free features include:

  • Flight Tracker & Current Weather: Track flights by flight number or route between 2 cities – search flights yesterday, today, tomorrow, and up to three months in the future – and view a real-time map for in-air flights showing the plane’s current position, speed and altitude, and national radar weather.
  • One-touch Dialing: Need to get in touch with the airline to ask a question or rebook? One-touch dialing lets you call them right from the app.
  • Social Sharing: With social media integration you can share your itinerary or flight status with others.
  • My Trips: This feature is great for multi-destination trips or connective flights. Group saved flights together as a trip to quickly reference the flights in the future. Users can also add notes like car rental or hotel reservation numbers.
  • Airport Delay Map: Stay one step ahead of the game with a national airport delay map. View the red-yellow-green delay status of airports in the US and in Canada, along with current national radar weather overlaid on the map

Flightview Elite includes the free features as well as the following:

  • Flight Boards: View arrival and departure boards for the US & Canada’s largest airports. See gates, delays, and cancellations.
  • Flight Alerts: Get immediate notification of changes in flight status, delays, or cancellations on flights saved to My Trips – whether the app is open or closed.
  • Flight Details: Search and save flights up to six months in advance of scheduled departure. Travelers also have access to additional details such as plane’s altitude and speed, as well as the aircraft type to get a sense of the plane’s size and layout.
  • Airport Directions: This feature lets you find and integrate airport locations and driving directions directly into your app

App for Airports

The Transportation Security Administration launched a mobile app with multiple functions, including:

  • Airport Status: Users can see what airports are experiencing general delays or search for conditions at a specific airport (information provided by the FAA).
  • Can I Bring?’: Users can type in an item they plan to bring on a trip and find out if it is permitted or prohibited for carry-on or checked bags.
  • Guide: The TSA offers a wide array of travel tips including: traveling with children, rules for packing, tips on how to dress for airport security, and many more.
  • Security Wait Times: My TSA gives passengers the ability to share their wait times and see the wait times other passengers have posted for US airports.

AQ: Let’s say the worst happens, and either your flight is cancelled or you’re bumped during peak holiday times. What advice would you offer to get travelers to their final destination as soon as possible?

MB: Cancellations and delays are never fun, but there is a key window of time to take action. Before leaving for the airport, research similar flights that reach your final destination.  In the event of a cancellation, you’ll be one step up on the other travelers because you already know which flights you want to be switched onto.

When you need to rebook, speed is of the essence.  The best place to start is online.  If that’s not an option, call that airline while you are waiting in line to speak with a customer service agent.  That way, you’ll be connected with the first available person.

The most important strategy, though, is preparation.  When booking flights, aim to depart in the morning.  When the weather causes delays, morning flights tend to get postponed, while evening flights tend to get cancelled.  Additionally, it’s best to purchase your flights from the airline, as opposed to a third-party reseller. In the event you need to switch your travel plans, it’s a much simpler process if you bought directly from the airline.

AQ: How does FlightView keep its flight databases always up to date with the latest information?

MB: FlightView aggregates data from multiple sources on a minute by minute basis.  These sources include airlines, airports, the FAA, and schedule publishers.   The various feeds are combined to provide travelers’ with the most accurate and up-to-the minute view of what is happening in the skies.  FlightView’s data center contains over 40 high-speed servers that handle requests from over 180 million customers each month.