Last month, I found myself with an hour to kill between connecting flights in Denver International Airport. During the course of that hour, I used my smart phone no less than five times for specialized airport and flight information. What airport apps did I find so important during that 60 minute period? Read on for my pick of five best airport apps for any airport layover.
The first thing I needed upon touching ground in Denver was food. I’d spent time in Denver International before, but when you see the inside of a lot of airports, they quickly blur together in your mind. Was Denver the airport with that great bento place? Did it have a Starbucks (well, duh), and most importantly, was I in the terminal where I remembered the Ben & Jerry’s? GateGuru offers detailed maps and guides to over 85 airports worldwide, and it’s easy to navigate by category (food or shopping, for instance) or by terminal. At a glance, I could see what food offerings were in the gate area I was already standing in, instead of hiking half a mile just to see what else there is. Best of all, GateGuro is free.
FlightBoard is $3.99, but saves you countless trips to the reader boards for departing flight information. Instead of finding a screen, I checked my flight’s departing gate from my lunch table. Since FlightBoard updates every five minutes, I am kept up to date of gate changes, too. (Is it just me, or do flights change gates more and more often these days?) Also, your airline might have its own free app with gate information — be sure to check that out, too.
If it’s possible to know too much, that’s what will happen with FlySmart in your app arsenal. It’s such an extensive airport guide, you’ll know virtually everything your airport desk attendants know (and you can see how stressed they look). The best part of FlySmart is it’s ability to load your full flight itinerary, making it easy to have all your information in one place if your travel day includes several layovers and gate changes. FlySmart is free.
If you like to borrow trouble (and yes, that’s me), FlightCaster will indulge you by predicting whether your flight will be delayed or on time. I used it in Denver to double-check my outgoing flight after several at the gates nearby suddenly became delayed (turns out I was lucky). How it works: FlightCaster uses an algorithm using real-time data, weather reports, and ten years of historical flight information to predict the likelihood of a delay up to six hours before those little digital numbers on the reader board change for the worse. Your cost for preparedness: $1.99.
5. Wi-Fi Finder
An oldie but a goodie, Wi-Fi Finder is still one of the handiest apps to have while on the go, whether in airports or anywhere else. This app will alert you to any businesses or restaurants that always offer free wifi, as well as any free airport networks. And when it fails to find anything, here’s a hint: go sit next to an airport members-only lounge for their free wifi signal. (But shhh…you didn’t hear it from me.)
What apps are in your travel and airport tool belt? And if you’re looking for more airport and travel app ideas, check out our list of best iPad apps for travel.
Photo credit: Yorick_R.