A few years back I was flying from New York to Sydney, Australia, with a stop in Los Angeles, California, along the way. Unfortunately, bad weather in New York caused my flight to be delayed for six hours. By the time I landed in Los Angeles, I had missed my connecting flight to Sydney. To make matters worse, the next available flight to Sydney wasn’t for another twenty-four hours. What was shaping up to be a nightmare scenario was made a little more manageable thanks to a few key apps.
Airports aren’t the most stimulating places to be. They are often sterile and lack anything to do outside of flipping through magazines at a newsstand. If you fly with any sort of regularity, then you’ve undoubtedly passed by an airport lounge. Sectioned off from the plebeians stuck waiting in uncomfortable chairs surrounded by noise, the airport lounge offers a reprieve: relaxation and privacy. In addition, airport lounges often provide numerous perks like meals, snacks, free Wi-Fi, and in some cases, showers! Compared to the nightmare fuel of a busy airport, lounges are like a little slice of heaven. Many airports have multiple lounges, which makes deciding on which one to visit a guessing game. Fortunately, this is where the Loungebuddy app (iOS) comes in.
LoungeBuddy features details about airport lounges in over 230 airports around the world. It provides information like the cost and amenities available at each lounge. In addition, the app includes reviews from other travelers detailing their experience to help you make a decision. Furthermore, you can book access to a lounge from directly within the app.
If you’ve ever had to suffer through a long layover, you know how mind-numbing it can be. If you can’t sleep well on a plane, there’s a good chance all you want is a few hours of rest before having to slog through another flight. Unfortunately, hotel rooms can be really expensive, especially near airports. You may think your only option is to stretch out across some of those uncomfortable seats by your gate. Luckily, there are two apps that give you a much more comfortable option.
DayUse (Android, iOS) and ByHours (Android, iOS) are two apps that allow users to book hotel rooms by the hour instead of overnight. DayUse claims users can save up to 75% compared to a traditional booking. In addition, DayUse boasts of over 5000 participating hotels in 23 countries. Similarly, ByHours lets users book “microstays” in over 2500 hotels at three-, six- or twelve-hour intervals. Allowing users to book hotel rooms for partial stays can not only refresh a weary traveler but save big money as well.
Flying anywhere means waiting in line. You have to wait in line to check your bags, then in another line to get through security, and yet another line just to board the plane. If you’re flying internationally, then you’re going to have the added pleasure of waiting in line at Customs. Having to wait in any line can exacerbate an already stressful situation, so it can really grind your gears when you have to wait in line for food. Fortunately, with Grab (Android, iOS), you don’t have to.
Grab allows users to browse airport restaurant menus and order straight from the app. Users can place their order for pick up when it’s ready, eliminating waiting in line. Furthermore, Grab offers step-by-step directions to partnered vendors, so if you’re not familiar with the airport, you’ll always be able to find your favorite eatery.
Layovers don’t have to be a complete waste of time. If you find yourself in a cool city with some time to kill, you might want to leave the confines of the airport and have a look around. However, you don’t want to be lugging your carry-on bags with you as you wander throughout an unfamiliar city. Luckily, with Bounce (Android, iOS) you can safely store your belongings at a number of convenient locations around the city. In addition, the $6-per-day fee won’t break the bank.
Unfortunately, at the time of this writing Bounce is only available within the United States. That being said, Bounce has hundreds of storage locations found in most major cities within the U.S. If you have enough time to get out of the airport and explore, Bounce can help you find a place to store your bags. Furthermore, Bounce is useful even when you’re not traveling. Use it to store your gym bag, work bag, school bag, anything you don’t want to lug around with you all day.
Getting through airport security is a bit of a mixed bag. Sometimes you breeze right through without incident, other times it can be incredibly stressful. Long lines and extended waits can potentially result in missed flights. This is especially problematic when trying to make a connecting flight. Fortunately, you can see what the situation is at security and get real-time updates on wait times with two apps.
MyTSA (Android, iOS) is the official app from TSA and provides crowd[sourced security checkpoint wait times, live chat assistance, flight info and permitted items info. Alternatively, MiFlight (iOS) also provides security checkpoint information. Like MyTSA, MiFlight gathers real-time input from other MiFlight users to ensure wait times are accurate.
Which apps do you rely on to help you survive air travel? Let us know in the comments!