Cool Tools: FlightViewApp

I got an iPhone. Did I ever mention that? In October, we all caved. Me, Jon, my sister, her husband. We had been flip-phones, sans camera (well, Jon had a camera but no picture-sending ability in his phone plan), for the longest time, and poo-pooed the fashionable smartphones. What makes people so much smarter with it? They just become lazy.

Then we decided to stop sounding like old cranky folks who can’t operate a computer and get with the technological times. The flip-phones became toys for my niece and nephew, and we got the iPhone 4.

Of course, with the iPhone, you have to download lots of apps. So, my co-worker, who is one of these stereotypical slaves to Steve Jobs and Starbucks (the kind I saw at South by Southwest), made me download the FlightViewApp. It really should be called the Stalker App, because that’s what it does – stalks flights across the sky. My co-worker, who traveled with me to Austin but on a separate flight out of DCA, took my flight info and then continually texted me updates about my gate, my flight times, my estimated arrival time, and my connection Dallas.

That’s exactly what FlightView does. Enter a flight number and date, and it will tell you when it lands and where. I admit it was handy when I was still on the plane and wondering where my connection in Dallas was, although part of me still resists being that dependent on my IPhone – and checked the monitors in the airport instead. There is also an “airport delay map” but only of the United States (and Canada) showing weather and delays, which is kind of cool, but not terribly useful to me.

What is cool, however, is the ability to keep track of upcoming flights for yourself and others. Picking up someone at the airport? You can keep that person’s info right on hand, and then check if they’re coming in on time before heading to the airport. It saves from having to dig through e-mails and airline websites to find out whether you’re delayed or not, especially if you’re like me and cut it close – sheerly out of principle because it shouldn’t take an hour to go through security.

(By the way, did I mention that in other countries like Japan and China, they actually HELPED you load your items into the x-ray? A nice individual helps put your coat and smaller items into a bin, asks you kindly to remove your belt and wallet, asks if you have liquids or a laptop, places it in a bin FOR YOU, and helps you put your other luggage on the belt as well? And there was hardly a line for security. When I flew out of Chicago, the TSA people just barked at me – remove your coat! Take off your shoes! Hurry up! Nobody to help me load it – and the line was significantly long. But this has nothing to do with FlightView)

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