Fly the Friendly Apps

Whoever said, “The journey is the reward” never had to fly cross-country in the middle seat of an overbooked Boeing 757, but getting home for the holidays is what people are doing this time of year. Whether we’re coming, going, or waiting for someone else’s delayed flight to finally get in, at least we have apps.

Although it’s known more as a fare-finder, Kayak’s mobile app packs in a ton of other travel-related features (including airport information from GateGuru, an airline-fee chart, a currency converter and …a packing list). The Kayak app can also track flights, but if you want a dedicated app for locating planes, there’s no shortage of ’em — just browse your mobile app store.

Flight Update (and Flight Update Pro) for iOS are $5 and $10 respectively, and bring a ton of flight-status and other travel information together into one well-designed app. FlightView for Android (which has a freebie and paid versions with more features for 99 cents and $4) is another flight-status app for those rockin’ a Google-powered device.

Mobiata’s versatile  FlightTrack app comes in several editions (free to $10) and comes in versions for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. The company also makes the $4 FlightBoard app for iOS and Android that turns your phone into your chosen airport’s arrival and departure board, in case you can’t see it slumped in your sticky vinyl chair down at the overcrowded gate.

Need live flight-tracking on the Web? Check out site like FlightStats and FlightAware (which has mobile apps for just about every smartphone platform) to check a flight’s status and get other aviation-related information.

If you don’t have to fly this season, satisfy your schadenfreude with US News & World Report’s list of America’s Meanest Airlines. Or, if you’re traveling by national rail instead, check out Amtrak’s mobile offerings. You may not be able to make the trains run on time yourself, but you can at least check the schedule, buy and use eTickets, and upgrade your seat.

But no matter how you get there, Pop Tech Jam wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!

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