Over the last few years I’ve reviewed several smartphone and tablet apps designed to help you plan and take a trip, including those of use when you’re travelling by air.
Way back in the Last Century, air travel within the U.S. wasn’t too complicated.
The federal government set fares, so regardless of which airline you chose, you would pay the same amount to fly between any two cities.
There weren’t ancillary fees (such for checked bags, seat selection at booking, phoning the airline’s reservation number) that varied between airline to airline. You simply paid one all-inclusive fare.
Meals were served aboard nearly all flights, even those that were relatively short, so unless you had a long layover between connecting flights, or arrived at the airport well in advance of departure, finding a sit-down restaurant where you could have a quick meal or “grab-and-go” food vendor that would sell you a “take-aboard” meal, wasn’t something you even thought about.
There either we’re no airport security checkpoints, or you breezed through any that did exist without worrying about whether you had allowed enough time to pass through them and get to the gate without missing your flight.
And flight delays and cancellations seemed rare.
Today, managing a trip that includes air travel can be a real headache.
But is there an app that can provide “pain relief” to airline passengers?
Unfortunately, according to tech writer, David Pogue, the best of those apps, “FlightTrack Pro,” is no longer available, prompting him to put together, for his benefit and yours, a detailed review of several replacement apps.
One of Pogue’s eight required features (which FlightTrack Pro had) for a great air travel app was the ability to automatically pull in information on your flights, perhaps through synchronization with TripIt, so you wouldn’t have to enter it manually.
There were two apps that he thought were good choices for air travelers today.
He found that Flight Update Pro ($9.99, iTunes app store) all eight necessary features, and said that “it seems clear that Flight Update Pro is indeed the rightful heir to FlightTrack Pro—not identical, but damn close, and superior in some ways. The developer says that an even better version is coming next month.”
Pogue’s other pick was App in The Air (available for both iOS and Android devices) which has many “bells and whistles,” including the ability to automatically check you in for your flight.
The only downside to that is that Pogue said that the free version “will make you crazy, it’s so full of ads and come-ons to upgrade.” To avoid that nuisance problem, you must become a “subscriber” and pony up $3.50/month, $30/year, or $50 for lifetime use.