The saying “getting there is half the fun” hardly ever applies to air travel. The security lines are long, getting to your gate isn’t always easy, and the legroom is tight. Although some of these problems aren’t easily solved, there are a number of smartphone apps that can help you navigate the system. From booking to boarding, these apps can help alleviate the stresses of getting to where you’re going.
When it comes to booking cheap tickets, Kayak is the go-to app. Browse, compare, and book flights (plus hotels, cars, and cruises) and stay in the loop on ever-changing baggage fees. Download this app and you’ll soon find yourself playing with dates for a weekend trip to Belize; the possibilities for fueling your wanderlust are limitless.
Even the most tried and true traveler has a tale of forgetting their phone charger or toothbrush. This app allows you to create your own lists from scratch or choose a list that is pre-defined. Try creating a basic list and then additional lists you can plug and play in categories like cold weather or business. The money you could potentially save is well worth the money you’ll spend on the download.
When it comes to the weather, you need the most reliable reports possible. This app not only gives you trusted forecasts and unbeatable radar maps, but it allows you to save multiple locations and customize your reports for travel.
Keep track of all the awards programs you’re enrolled in — airlines, hotels, car rentals, etc. — in one easy-to-use interface. Best of all, you’ll never scramble for your rewards ID number at the check-in counter again; it’s all right there in one place.
If you’re going to have to spend time at the airport, you might as well make it as stress-free as possible. GateGuru sends real-time flight status updates via push notifications. All you need to do is forward your itinerary to an email and you’ll be provided with check-in information, weather updates, estimated security wait times, and maps to your terminal and gate. Even airport restaurant reviews are available.
Here’s something useful for those waiting for you on the ground: Glympse tracks your flight and estimated time of arrival so you can coordinate airport pick-up or let others know you arrived safely. All Gogo-equipped aircraft utilize the app, which can be accessed via your smartphone or desktop computer.
Also useful while up in the air, Here on Biz is the first in-flight social network. View LinkedIn profiles of other passengers on your flight and start chatting; you never know where the connections could take you.
Like a digital personal assistant, this app keeps track of your airline, car rental, restaurant, and hotel itineraries. Directions, maps, and weather information is available and can be pre-loaded for you to use when you don’t have access to Wi-Fi. The app even syncs with your calendar, allowing you to keep tabs on all your travel plans.
— Written by Libby Zay, a Baltimore-based writer with a knack for scouting out the best local experiences and regional foods. She’s contributed to four travel guide books as well as outlets including AOL Travel, BUST magazine, Gadling.com, Gawker, Gizmodo, the Huffington Post, and Lifehacker. For more from Libby, check out
“8 Things You Need to Know About Air Travel in 2014” or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.