Thanksgiving is generally a horrible day for air travel, but tradition and the sweet smell of Thanksgiving turkey still makes millions of Americans forget the potential horror of being stuck in an airport. If you are one of them, or even if you are just heading to the airport to pick somebody up, here are some mobile applications and web sites than can help you make your Thanksgiving travel less stressful.
Not sure if your flight will leave on time? Surprisingly, the airlines often don’t have the most accurate information. Flights will show up as ‘On Time,’ even though your plane, which is supposed to take off in 15 minutes, is still sitting on another airport 500 miles away. FlightCaster looks at data from the airlines, FAA and combines this with historical data and weather information to give you a more accurate picture. The result is a good prediction whether your flight will leave on time.
Flightcaster is available as an iPhone and Blackberry app. The service is also available on FlightCaster’s website.
WorldMate, which is available in a free and Pro version for the iPhone, BlackBerry and most other mobile phone operating systems, gives you a one-stop shop for all your travel info. You can simply email receipts for your flight and hotel bookings to a private Worldmate address and the software will automatically update your itineraries on the mobile app. What makes the pro version so useful is that WorldMate also alerts you of delays and gate changes through push notifications and SMS messages. WorldMate also offers a list of nearby hotels and the ability to search for alternative flights if yours gets cancelled.
TripIt’s iPhone app offers similar service.
TripCase offers fewer features than WorldMate, but it’s free and also comes with push notifications. It’s available for the iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Mobile. Besides flight information and baggage claim info, TripCase also allows you to send out information about your flight status to your friends and family. You can also publish photos on your personalized TripCase site.
If you get bumped off an oversold flight or miss a connection, Next Flight can help you find alternative flights. The company indexes schedules from over 1,100 airlines and 4,200 airports around the world. Next Flight currently sells for $2.99 in the App Store.
If you are just picking somebody up at the airport, Flight Status is a nice iPhone app that gives you arrival information, including which baggage claim to go to. Flight Status is only available for the iPhone and costs $4.99. Flight Status was developed by the same company as Next Flight and also features data from 1,100 airlines.
Bonus: Flight Advisor Twitter Feed
If you just want to get a quick overview of airport delays in the US, also have a look at the Flight Advisor Twitter feed.
What About You?
Do you have your own favorite travel apps that we didn’t mention here? Let us know in the comments.