For most guys and gals in the content creation business, there’s one part of the job they despise above all out. It isn’t having to answer to mountains of “feedback”. It isn’t being on call twenty-four hours a day or having to endure strange looks when you take that last table with two seats to have space enough to eat and work. In my admittedly short time as a serious writer, the worst part of the job by far is traveling. While the internet has enabled all of us to do our jobs from the comfort of home, there are still times when camaraderie and backslapping is vital. For a tech journalist based in Richmond, VA that means having to spend a lot of time on transcontinental flights to Seattle, and I mean A LOT. A smartphone has made the trip a little more bearable, after all Xbox LIVE is only a Live Tile away, but what makes the trip a really decent experience is having the right travel apps to make the logistics of being in a different city less of a Tim Burton-esque nightmare and more of a Gene Roddenberry Utopia full of enlightenment and apparently cheap drinks.
When I took my first flight to the Microsoft HQ in Redmond it had been years since I’d flown. I’d forgotten what the experience was like. I booked my flight online, printed out my boarding pass and hit the skies, except it was raining and anyone who’s flown in a regional aircraft will tell you: flying in the rain isn’t flying at all, it’s dive bombing. After experience a flight that traumatic I and Delta Airlines were forever bonded. It’s the official airline of Trav. With that in mind you can imagine my elation when they delivered Fly Delta for Windows Phone. So think about what your ideal airline app would do while I give you the feature run down. Pinnable boarding passes, maps of all airports, luggage tracking, plane information, flight check in, seat maps, and stand by list tracking. I’d say the app was free and it is but of course only those who are ready to actually fly Delta will find Fly Delta useful. American Airlines and SWISS also have applications with many of the same features so if be sure to check those out if they are more of your style.
Having a great trip isn’t just about the flight, it’s also about how all the logistics of your trip come together. Enter social network/itinerary app My Trips. Together with TripIt.com you can share your flights with social networks like Twitter and Facebook, get real-time flight statuses, and gather real-time flight information. The real kick has to be the ability to see the trip details of other friends who have a TripIt account and compare the places you’ve been. MyTrips offers both a free version and a paid pro version for those who want that real-time tracking data.
Lastly we have the most important application to have ever graced the Windows Phone Marketplace with it’s presence. It’s not just the best app to have ever been created, it’s built around the greatest substance to have ever been created. Folks Find MY Starbucks is free to all users and uses your phone’s location data to do exactly what you would think. Point it to your closest little caffeine infested heaven.
That’s all I’ve got for you folks, I’ve got to get back to planning my next tripe to Seattle. If you’ve got application suggestions for a future App Flow column hit me up on Twitter – @harlemS.
Until next time folks, hit the skies.