Blog Post

Must-Have iPhone Apps for Surviving Air Travel

Editor’s note: With this post we welcome Nancy Nally to the WebWorkerDaily team.  Nancy is the owner of Balalaberry Media and is the editor of its online scrapbook industry trade journal Scrapbook Update, which she founded in 2004, along with working on other writing projects. She shares her home in Palm Coast, Fla., with her geek husband and young geek daughter, who has autism.

I may not be able to make a phone call on my iPhone (s aapl) from 30,000 feet (yet), but I’ve still found that when I’m out of my office and have to fly, having an iPhone in my pocket is a powerful sanity-saving tool. Here are the apps that help keep my air travel running smoothly.

Plan.Pack.Go: Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush

Flying means packing. Even if you have a standard “kit” you travel with, it’s still easy in the rush to get out the door to forget your toothbrush, or charging cable. The list templates in this app let you create and save your standard list, edit it if needed for a specific trip, and then check off items as you pack them. Unlike many packing apps, this one includes list items for standard pre-travel tasks, like charging batteries. A sideways shake switches between your unpacked and packed list items, and the categories are well-organized. I’ve tried several packing apps, and this is by far the most slick in design. Designed by Tangent software, and available from the App Store for $1.99.

TSAwaitTSAwait: Don’t Get Caught In a Surprise Security Line

If you fly out of different airports frequently, it can be hard to know how much time you need to allow for security lines. This app puts the average security wait times 24/7 for U.S. airports at your fingertips. Updates are drawn from TSA databases regularly, and airports can be located by state/city search or by airport code. I’ve found it useful in planning airport arrivals, since lately it seems I never fly out of the same place twice. TSAWait is designed by Tactical Logic, and priced at 99 cents.

FAAwait: See Trouble Coming Before It Finds You

This handy little sister app of TSAwait lets you monitor weather and FAA delays in the U.S. to provide early warning of potential flight delays. FAAwait accesses the FAA air traffic control status to display a list and map of U.S. airports that are experiencing ground stops or delays, and lists the length and reason for them. There is also an NWS weather map that displays all current weather watches or warnings in the continental U.S. For traveling control freaks like myself who want to anticipate possible delays in their connecting city or with incoming equipment, this app gives a great summary of the current status of air traffic and weather nationwide. Also by Tactical Logic, and priced at 99 cents.

FlightUpdateFlight Update: Walk Right Past Those Crowds By the Monitors

This flight status app supports over 1,400 airlines worldwide, and packs a lot of info into one status screen for quick reference on-the-run. Enter your itinerary and see status data such as times, gate and terminal, baggage claim, delays and aircraft type. For U.S.-based flights, tracking is also available. If your flight is canceled or delayed, the “find” feature can help you find an alternative (and show you the status of those flights, too). Now I can walk past an airport status monitor without even the urge to pause or look up at it. Flight Update is by Silverware Software, and priced at $4.99. Flight Update Pro, which offers compatibility with Tripit, is $8.99.

What iPhone apps do you find invaluable when you are on the road?

22 Responses to “Must-Have iPhone Apps for Surviving Air Travel”

  1. Hi There,

    I travel around the World at least once month from Wellington, New Zealand and am constantly prone to delayed or cancelled flights and my business contacts and family are constantly trying to understand when I am landing so that they can reach me.

    I have therefore created an iPhone application that gives live departures and arrivals information for any flights at any given airport around the World. You can find an overview of the application at .

    There is also a draw to win an ipad everytime a milestone of 10,000 download is reached on the AppStore, more information can be found on:



  2. I was expecting apps that would provide in-flight entertainment, but was pleasantly surprised by this list! Flight update is absolutely priceless for those, like myself, who often find themselves running late. Rather than guessing about a flight’s status, you can simply check it from your phone. Absolutely brilliant and, for $5, an easy purchase.

  3. Peter, I did compare FlightTrack before deciding that I personally preferred Flight Update. For me, the deciding factor was the screen that is pictured above next to the Flight Update listing. Its trip summary screen has much more information contained on it than FlightTrack provides on the comparable screen.

    I prefer having all that information on one screen, instead of having to select each individual flight to see gate information, on time information, etc.

    It’s a personal preference but I just find it more convenient. I’m an information junkie when I fly so I like having all that information right in front of me on a single screen.

  4. NileGuide offers a great iPhone app that enables users to browse suggested trip itineraries in their current location and 130 destinations around the world, including things to do, places to stay, and places to eat. The free app also enables users to view their own customized trip itineraries on their device as an alternative to downloading a PDF.

  5. Peter Astonowicz

    I am surprised you list Flight Update. I love FlightTrack–and it has been the top-selling travel app for many months. I recently moved up to FlightTrack Pro. I love it.

  6. LOL dda I didn’t take it personally. :) I actually was kind of poking fun at myself. I’m obsessed with my iPHONE. But I don’t actually use it as a phone barely ever. Actually, so infrequently that when I do I have to stop and think about which buttons to push! How crazy is that?

    I can’t imagine flying that often. That must be really stressful with all the security hassle and everything these days. I fly a couple times a year and that’s plenty for me.

  7. Nancy, the comment wasn’t directed at you personally, rather a comment on the general possibility to be seated in a plane where phone calls are allowed… I fly 100+ times a year, so airplanes are my last refuge from loud phone conversations…

  8. The pro version of TripIt ( is also very cool. You can get check-in reminders, alerts about delays and gate changes, and it tracks rewards point for you. There’s an iPhone app, but Tripit’s service is also accessible on almost any phone with an Internet connection.

  9. I assume the concern about the one star reviews is with the plan.pack.go app, from looking at the ratings in the iTunes store.

    If you look just at the ratings for the current version of the app, the one star commenters have basically two complaints. A couple want to be able to add their own categories to their list, which I don’t feel I need since the available categories are very comprehensive.

    The second complaint is that the app has been extremely crash-prone since the upgrade to iPhone 3.0. I’ve been running it on an iPhone 3G upgraded to iPhone 3.0 since the day the upgrade was released and haven’t experienced a single crash while preparing for multiple trips with it. So my experience has been really good and I don’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

    Stephen, Evernote does have a very powerful iPhone app. If you are a user of their service you should check it out! And my personal game addiction for long waits on the air or on the ground is Bejeweled.

    dda, you don’t need to worry about me making any phone calls from up there. I hate talking on the phone! But I can’t wait to hook up to some of that WiFi in the sky. You’ll hear the tap-tap of my keys as I email and twitter the whole flight!

  10. It is obvious, but I use use Google Maps so much it is worth a mention.

    I also get a lot of mileage out of TweetDeck for the iPhone.

    For long flights, I must admit I succumb to Hold ‘Em Poker. Does that make me bad? I’m tall, so flights are often particularly uncomfortable for me. The distraction is welcome, and usually keeps me occupied for half an hour.

    I haven’t tried it yet, but I am told EverNote has an iPhone version, which I am keen to look at also.