By Joe Allen-Black
Reviewing: FlightTrack Pro
Available for: iPhone, iPad, and Android
Should you get it? Yes, if you want to be organized while traveling
Planning a trip has always been an intense process for me. I'm the type of person who likes to have every detail mapped out, full directions at my fingertips, and all times laid out in a quickly accessible way. For a trip to Detroit a few years back, I had a 100-page binder with color-coordinated tabs separating all the information I needed like directions, flight tickets, and hotel reservations. I was both impressed by and scared of the organization.
Thousands of forests of trees are probably rejoicing that my iPhone can handle all that organization that I once lugged around in binders. My biggest help? An app named FlightTrack Pro from Mobiata.
At its most basic, the app simply keeps a list of all the flights you put into it. So if you book a trip to Atlanta in the next few days, you can put in flight carrier location and flight number. The phone will then keep track of the flight, and let you know if there are delays. Also, since it's in your phone, you don't need to go back to your e-mail constantly to make sure you are correctly remembering the flight time. For that alone, it's pretty nifty, but not enough for an entire review.
Where the app gets cool is in its ability to send push alerts, show me terminal maps of airports, add the flight times to my phone's calendar, and take data about my flight from an e-mail.
So here's the breakdown of the better features:
Push: I'm one of those people who has dozens of alerts on my phone. I like to have early reminders for meetings and events, as much as possible. My panicking mind likes to have something reassure it that it's planning the day correctly. The app will alert you an hour before the flight. It will also alert you to any delays or changes in time, as well as alerting you to when flights finally depart and land. When I had family in town recently, this was a great way to follow their trip from Florida to Boston via New York City. I got alerts when they left and landed, as well as information about delayed flights. It is so much easier than reading the monitors at Logan.
Maps: I try my best to avoid layovers at airports. I'm terrified of missing the connection and being left in some bizzaro part of the country that I don't to be in. To calm my nerves if I do have a layover, I like to map how I'm going to go between my different gates. The app offers full maps of major airports, so you can chart the best course (and maybe find the the food court along the way).
Calendar sync: Any time my apps can share data, I'm happy. This app shares your flight info with your calendar.
Flight times: If you sync the app with a service named TripIt, you can save time even entering your flight information. With TripIt, you can e-mail your flight confirmation to the service and it'll automatically appear in the FlightTrack app.
Other fun features of the app include showing you the weather of any city you have flights to or from, a map to show where a flight in progress is estimated to be, and easy share buttons to send your friends your flight information.
All in all, if you're a person who travels a lot, definitely give this app a try. It'll save a few trees and a few mental freak outs.