Finding a decent sandwich that doesn’t cost a fortune while you are in an airport is something that seems more difficult to do than climbing Himalaya mountain with your bear feet and a terrible hangover. Airports can be complicated, we all know this for a fact. You will be there looking for the check in desk, searching for your terminal, wandering where to buy a decent read for your flight and dreaming at a cream coffee that taste like coffee and is not a rip off. Not to mention doing all this with your belt in hour hand, trying to keep the pants in place while the plane is being delayed.
You definitely should simplify this stressful processes with the help of your phone and a really good airport guide app. There are some out there that are useful not only in finding you decent food, shops, or direction to your terminal, but also parking, or ground transportation at a convenient price. Some of those apps are free and some payed. It is possible that you will need internet connection for all the function to work properly, so if you don’t have a strong data plan you better look for a WiFi in the area. More and more airports are offering their own apps, so if you are a frequent flyer from one particular airport and need in deep knowledge and guiding, you should check for it’s app. But If you want to be able to use one app for more airports that you’ll fly in and out, it is probably indicated to use a general airport guide that knows about many airports, not just one in particular.
Airport (All) Flight Tracker (free on Android and iTunes, PRO versions available) brings you a lot of information on an impressive number of airports worldwide. The concept behind this app is pretty interesting: it knows exactly where to look for the set of data you need. If you’re looking for parking at the Atlanta Airport,the app will open the page about parking on the Atlanta Airport mobile site. There you will be able to find all the info you need and navigate in the corresponding sections of the website. You will do all this within the app, with the possibility to return to the main menu for information on different topics. This way the app is able to bring you all sort of data about a record number of airports.
You will find restaurants, shops and WiFi connections, arrival and departures boards, parking, ground transportation, maps. The pro version gives information about flight delayed or canceled together with the tools to find and book an alternative flight.
This app will need internet connectivity to work, so if you are in a foreign country airport it is better to search for a WiFi and save money.
GateGuru (free on Android or iTunes) tries to be a sort of Yelp for airports but it lacks data for most international airports outside US. It has an organised list of amenities that you can browse using tabs like food, shops, services and you can read or post reviews. Check point time is submitted by users and is not always accurate. There are also tips from other travelers that can be quite useful: “the taxi waiting in front of the door are uninsured drivers who will charge an arm and leg. Always go with Yellow cab” says one tip for JFK airport. Maps are accurate and helpful and the app has photos submitted by users.
The main drawback of this app is the amount of airports it covers. Currently is US orientated, with only a limited number of international airports. Some of the most important airports of the world have little to none user reviews or are completely uncovered. Check the airport list before installing this app. There are also important differences between Android and iPhone versions, with the data on the iPhone being more accurate and up to date.
This app provides log in with Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tripit and Kayak and will bring you trip details when you are connected with Tripit or Kayak.
iFly Airport Guide (free on Android an iTunes with PRO versions for more features) has a similar concept to the GateGuru app, but covers a lot more airports in US and worldwide. One thing that will help you a lot is the GPS in terminal navigation with position and reviews for shops, bars and restaurants. WiFi coverage, parking information, ground transportation, terminal services, including ATMs, banks, or currency exchange are offered for over 700 airports. The pro version will provide flight tracking. Airport status is available, but only for US.
One think that will come to mind when using this app is that it might be just a little to ambitious at the moment. The set of data for some of the airports is inaccurate or incomplete, with maps missing or data being old and inaccurate.
FlightStats (free on Android and iTunes) is a great free tool to track flight status. You can search by departure, route, or flight number. The data is accurate and you can watch the flight on a map while it moves across the world. You will have access to info about departure or arrival times, delays, gates or whether conditions at both departure and destination airports. Great app to use when you need to catch a flight but also when you have to pickup someone from the airport.
App in the Air (free on iTunes) comes with flight tracking and airport information. Together with tips and advice, this app has a chat that connects you with other travelers.
Creating a general airport guide that covers an important number of airports across the globe is a complicated task. You have to remember that more and more airports are now offering their own apps. Frankfurt Airport, one of the busiest in the world, has a very useful and complete app, free for Android and iPhone. If you are a frequent flyer to one particular airport or you need complete info and services it is better to search for a dedicated app. Chances are that it will have better of everything then a global airport guide.
If you are using other Airport Guide apps feel free to share them here.