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27/06/2009 – iPhone ‘App’ Of The Week : Flight Update Pro
There is no shortage of iPhone Apps for travellers to track flights, I have half-a-dozen excellent Apps that can track flights, however this week’s iPhone App of the week, while a flight tracker, is really a complete ‘trip tracking & planning solutions’ iPhone App.
This week’s iPhone App of the Week, Flight Update Pro – Live Status + TripIt, is a must have for every road warrior.
On the surface Flight Update Pro offers users an excellent interface for the basics of travel tracking. What really distinguishes Flight Update Pro is its feature that allows users to enter complete travel itineraries and have the iPhone App constantly search for and display flight status updates through a travel period.
This flight-tracking feature allows users to set up preferences for how often they’d like their flights to be tracked. While the App allows for custom-timed updates, users can still manually track their flights.
On-time flights appear in green and delayed flights appear in yellow allowing users to quickly determine their potential need to find alternate flights (or spend more time in the lounge) Should there be a delay, a little box at the lower left corner of the status screens makes alternate planning a breeze. This little box simply reads “Alternates” and allows users to find immediate alternate flights. This option is fantastic when a flight is delayed or canceled and a traveller is battling for seats with a planeload of displaced or delayed flyers.
Additionally the flight status box offers one-touch e-mailing of flight status or itineraries. This is ideal if someone is meeting a traveller at the airport, or while meeting up with other travellers in transit.
Once a Flight Update Pro user lands they can pull up their flight information that includes baggage carousels information in addition to gates, saving time when headed off to pick up baggage.
The use of Flight Update Pro from in-flight WiFi is ideal for tight connections or when there are weather situations is fantastic. Travellers no longer have to waste time checking the board when they land, for tight connections users can run up the jetway and sprint for their next gate. If there are weather delays that may cause a missed connection users can track their departing connecting flight or find alternate flights quickly and simply before landing Having all this information greatly reduces travel stress and makes the process or getting where you’re going.
For general travel planning users can search flights by specific flight or by route. This search process is excellent for last minute travel. When users don’t have the luxury of shopping around, being able to pin-point the ideal flight required to be where you need to be is an excellent resource. I have twice used it in the past week to help travellers quickly change their itineraries. Once while in the grocery store the other while in the car. Quick, simple and ideal for those “I gotta go” moments.
For pre-travel usage, a significant feature available from Flight Update Pro is access to SeatGuru. When looking up future flights you can click on a tab to view airlines you’re searching. Once you find the flight you’d like the aircraft is displayed, simply tap the aircraft type and SeatGuru’s outstanding mobile seating chart appears. Currently SeatGuru offers seating plans for 88 airlines and 500+ aircraft variants. Not all airlines may be available through Flight Update Pro until the App is updated, but it is a fantastic tool. Seat Guru requires your phone to have access to the internet, but this should be no problem if you’re on the ground or near wifi.
For travellers onboard flights with in-flight wifi Flight Update Pro allows users to search flights either directly by flight number or by route. Once you’ve quickly (and very easily) found your flight you can kick back and track your flight from 30,000+ feet.
For TripIt users, who maximize all the options of TripIt to organize travel, share travel plans and keep track of travel planes that occur between flights (ie: the actual purpose of the flights) Flight Update Pro has one-click access to TripIt as an added feature
TripIt will more than likely be an entire post to its self…and TripIt will soon launch a version for non-U.S. based travellers.
Flight Update Pro offers some other minor features that make using the App an absolute dream for any traveller. While Flight Update Pro is intended for road warriors its easy interface and total travel planning applications interface also makes it idea for the occasional ‘road worrier‘ who wants to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Below are 20 screen shots from Flight Update Pro + Live Status + TripIt from my iPhone.
If I gave Apps a star rating, Flight Update Pro would receive a 4.95 out of 5 (that last 0.05% is because if I give the App 5 stars there’d be no incentive for its developers to improve it).