iPhone Traveler Pt. 6 – Apps and tips from an international airline pilot

erinflightdeckI’ll admit, I’m pretty excited about this. My sister Erin is a pilot with United Airlines. She’s been flying internationally for about 10 years, always with an iPod touch or iPad in tow. I asked her to share some apps and tips with you all, and she was happy to oblige. Here’s her post: iPhone travel apps and tips from an international airline pilot. Enjoy.


Don’t the the movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles happen to you.

A bad day of travel cannot be completely avoided, but the misery can be minimized when the traveler is prepared for the worst and has backup plans. A great tool is at our fingertips in the iPhone (or in my case, an iPod touch and an iPad mini). We have come a long way from Del (John Candy) and Neil (Steve Martin) in arguably the best Thanksgiving travel movie.

There are two app lists below. The first is a list of the apps I use while at work.

The second is a collection of apps that passengers should consider. Remember, pilots travel as working crew members and as passengers. The second list includes apps that airline pilots use when traveling as a passenger. Each can provide tips on making things flow better for you and those around you.

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The iPhone Traveler Pt. 1 – Pre-vacation planning

iphonepasspordApple’s iPhone is the best computer I’ve ever owned. It’s powerful yet fits in my pocket. It gets fantastic battery life and, with the proper protection, can withstand the bumps and bruises of daily use. It’s always connected to the Internet and can be almost whatever you want it to be, from an email client to a GPS receiver. It’s a camera and a weather station; a jukebox and a concierge. In other words, your iPhone is the perfect travel companion.

In this series of posts, I’ll describe how I use my iPhone to manage every aspect of a vacation. It’ll break down like this:

  • Pre-vacation planning
  • Making the journey
  • Getting the most of your destination
  • Returning home
  • Preserving and sharing the memories

I’ll share the apps that I use, review related products and have a few surprises along the way. I mean the good kind of surprise, not the “your water heater has been quietly leaking into the basement since 2 AM” kind. I’ll also making a few assumptions.

First, I assume you own an iPhone and that it’s up and running to your satisfaction. [1. I’ve got a post on setting up an iPhone from scratch that I can save for the end of the month if people request it.]

[pullquote]As of this writing, there are over 500,000 apps available in Apple’s App Store. I encourage you to consider the apps I’ll describe this month (after all, I’ve listed them because I enjoy them so much), but I also suggest you conduct a search of your own. It’s possible that the “mother of all travel apps” has been released since this article was published. If you find it, install it and love it, and please let me know.[/pullquote]

There are a few other things to keep in mind as you read these articles, other than how handsome and talented I am. First, all prices are US dollars unless otherwise specified. Also, app prices, functioning and availability may have changed since the time of publication. See each app’s online description for up-to-date details. Also, the apps I suggest this month are starting points. I do not believe that any one app is the definitive solution to a given need, even those I personally swear by, because everyone’s preferences and needs are different. Also, the sheer number of iPhone apps available make it impossible to identify any one as a definitive solution.

Finally, this series will focus on traveling within the continental United States of America. Later this month, I’ll share my detailed suggestions for international travel, including dealing with overseas charges. Also, while all of the apps I describe may be purchased through the US App Store, they may not necessarily be available in versions of the store outside the US. With the large number of available apps, you are likely to find a different one that will work well for you.

Now, let’s get started.

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