On the road again. Summertime is travel time for so many of us, which makes it a great time to share some Web tools and phone apps designed to help us travel more efficiently, whether for planning meetings, attending meetings, or for pleasure trips.
The Best Seat on the Plane. For a number of years, I’ve booked my trips with the Seat Guru open in my browser. It lets you know which seats on the plane are way cool, and which ones should be avoided. With schematic info for almost every plane from most airlines, I no longer need to be stuck in the seat that doesn’t recline and is just above the engine. (You know the one. The seat that is so noisy that your noise canceling headphones keep whispering to you, “It’s too loud back here. Pick another seat next time.”) Don’t forget to look at the sortable comparison chart to find out which planes have the most seat pitch and width.
Stats Are Our Friend. One of the best sites to check flight info, such as online arrival histories, is Flight Stats. It’s nice to know before booking a tight connection that the flight you’ll be coming in on lands on schedule only 30 percent of the time. (Don’t book it, btw.) A great Flight Stats feature: It allows you to get Twitter updates on the status of your flight.
Just Tell Them Joe Sent You. I’m a sucker for good information portals. Joe Sent Me has been one of my favorite travel portals for a number of years. Links abound to great travel resources, including airlines and airports, visa and embassy information, and almost anything you’ll need while traveling. Check out the excellent travel blogs (don’t miss the Blogistan link to find an enormous list of them), and you can see why JSM is required reading.
Where’s the Remote, Honey? This is one remote that is difficult to misplace. The Airport Remote app gives you access to hundreds of arrival and departure monitors right on your smartphone. It’s not free (but it’s less than $5, so don’t have a cow), but it just might be your one indispensable remote.
More Apps, You Say. Well, there sure are plenty of them, many of which are just mobile versions of Web tools. Hungry? Check out the apps from OpenTable and Yelp. Need a map of the airport you’re stuck at for a few hours? Check out Gate Guru to find something to do in 85 U.S. airports (currently only available for the iPhone). Just want to have a way cool map? Check out UpNext 3D Cities. There are only a four cities available so far—Boston; New York; Washington, D.C.; and Austin, Texas—but well worth downloading (iPhone only).
Will That Airfare Ever Drop? While some of you may see that as a rhetorical question, I’d rather see what history dictates. The cool tool formerly known as Farecast is now integrated into Bing’s travel site. Enter your travel dates and locations, and along with a listing of flight fares from the various travel engines, Farecast will predict whether that fare will rise, decrease, or stay about the same in the days ahead. No guarantees here but certainly a little yield-management technology can go a long way.
There are plenty more out there. What are some of your favorites? Post a comment to share with everyone.
Gotta go … my flight is starting to board.