Flying for iPhone looks like a great flight app

Flying – an iPhone app for all your air travel from Flying on Vimeo.

Flying for iPhone, still in public beta, wants to be on my iPhone so badly I can hear it whispering, “Install meeeee.” This seriously good-looking app shares information you’d expect like departure and arrival times, terminal and gate info (both sides) and weather. It’s also a bit playful, presenting your route data in a fun, novel way (see the video above).

The social aspect looks great, and reminds me of the bits of Gowalla that I enjoyed so much. You can receive “stamps” for achievements and share/compete with your traveling friends. For example, “You crossed the Atlantic Ocean!” Who among your buddies has racked up the most miles?

I don’t have any flights planned in the immediate future (I *might* go to Florida in a few weeks), but I’ll try out Flying as soon as I do. It looks great.

Why must you turn your iPhone off during takeoff?

boarding

Many people don’t understand why they’re asked to disable electronic devices during takeoff and landing. So why do you have to turn your iPhone off? I got an answer from an airline pilot I happen to know:

“Some older aircraft do have extremely old school radios. Some do not even have GPS. So the FAA has decided two things:

  1. Since it is too contradictory for passengers and flight attendants to discriminate what aircraft they are on, and what should be the corresponding announcement, the same one is used for all aircraft.
  2. The FAA can not take time to test every new device as it’s released. In fact, such testing falls to near the bottom of its priority/to-do list.”

There you have it.

Photo Credit: Sprengben [why not get a friend] via Compfight cc

More travel tips from the flight deck

IMG_0054Earlier this month my sister the airline pilot shared a list of iPad and iPod touch apps she uses at work, as well as several apps she recommends for travelers. Today she’s back with another post. This time is general tips for those traveling by plane. There’s some good stuff in here, so dig in.

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Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned during my years of flying. I hope you’ll find something useful!

  • If an overhead bag fits perpendicular to the airplane and baggage overhead bin, place it with wheels out. It will fit in deeper. Throw your coat on top of that bag if you can, giving others room.
  • Prepare a small bag to be kept under the seat for things you may need during the flight. It might include electronic devices, chargers (most seats have outlets), any medicine, travel docs (passport, etc.), wallet (you may want to buy inboard food or order Direct TV), packed sandwich or snacks (bananas, apples, granola bars) and your own water bottle, purchased once inside security. Also consider bringing your own headset if you want to watch TV without using the painful coach headsets, a neck pillow and something light to throw over yourself in case it is chilly.
  • It seems easiest to pack your Zip Lock bag of liquids into the aforementioned small bag, so only one bag has to be opened at security. This also prevents those things from getting crushed in the larger bag.
  • Taking the first flight out is ideal since MOST airplanes have been at the airport overnight and there is LESS of a chance that delays related to late inbound aircraft for an outbound flight. You’ll also have LESS of a chance of other flights getting canceled and rebooked on a morning flight, smaller security lines, less amount of terminal crowds, and LESS weather effects as the weathers trend toward calm in the A.M.
  • While enroute, look at the airline magazine in the seat back pocket. They contain airport diagrams for major airports. This helps give you an idea where you’ll be when you get off the airplane. It helps you anticipate where to exit for pickup (arrivals is typically on the baggage claim level) and where to transfer to your next departure gate when connecting. Feel free to ring the overhead to call a flight attendant and ask for gate arrival number. The crew typically knows the gate assignment 30 minutes prior to landing.
  • Ear plugs and eye masks/sunglasses are great for sleeping.
  • Window seats good for sleeping.
  • Choose a seat near the wing if your body does not like to fly and you have tendency to air sickness.
  • Choose a seat near the front of coach, near an exit door or in economy plus/business/first class for quick exit on and off.
  • If on a 50-seat regional jet, choose the single first three seats to attempt personal space on a smaller aircraft.
  • Step into your seat and let passengers pass until you see a break in the boarding passengers to step out and find an overhead bag spot. Seating in the front of coach aids in getting first dibs on overhead space, so you never have to search. Some airlines board by zones…look for zone one first for the same bags reason.