Airline apps and parking apps

To celebrate the launch of our Premier Gadget Insurance policy, we’re starting a new series looking at travel gadgets and apps for your smartphone, helping you to make the most of your holiday.

Check your app store
There’s an obvious place to start when looking for travel apps for your phone.

If you have an iPhone, bring up the App Store, choose Categories from the top left, and scroll down to the travel category. You’ll be surprised what you find. A treasure trove of apps awaits, from airline apps, to travel guides, to apps for individual attractions such as museums.

If you have an Android phone, you can find a similar set of travel apps on the Google Play store.

Airline apps
This month, we’ll look at airline apps, to help you book your flight, change your flight, check your flight is on time, and help you at the airport. Airlines are putting a lot of time and money into their apps at the moment, because they see it as one of the ways to encourage you to fly with them and not their competitors.

The most popular airline for European destinations is easyJet, so let’s start there. The easyJet app is free to use, and gets updated regularly.

To see it on your app store, click one of these links:
easyJet app for iPhone
easyJet app for Android

You can search for flights, make bookings, and check in up to 30 days in advance, directly from your phone. You can also keep your boarding passes directly within the mobile app, which saves you having to print out your boarding passes – a welcome relief if you’ve ever tried to find a working printer while you’re on holiday!

Of course, don’t let your phone run out of battery while you’re away, or a mobile boarding pass won’t be much use!

The Flight Tracker part of the easyJet app lets you keep an eye on your flight, see if it’s on time, and will give you the latest messages directly from the Operations Control Centre at easyJet if your flight gets disrupted.

Although disruption is often unavoidable in this era of frequent air traffic control strikes, airlines know it is a major source of dissatisfaction for travellers, so they are trying hard to help by at least giving us information on what we can expect when our flights don’t leave on time.

You can use Apple Pay to pay for easyJet flights on the app too, which saves the difficulty of having to type your payment card details into a phone.

The future of airline apps?
An interesting innovation that easyJet is currently experimenting with is called Mobile Host. It’s being trialled at Gatwick, and a dozen other popular airports.

The idea is that app will guide you through the airport process, reminding you to check in online before travelling to the airport, providing directions to the bag drop area, telling you which gate your flight will depart from, and telling you which baggage belt your suitcase will arrive on. It also gives live flight updates and directions to the gate as soon as it is open.

It sounds like this could make travelling a lot easier, especially if you are unfamiliar with the airport, or if you do not fly very often.

Other airlines also have apps, including Ryanair and British Airways — some more advanced with others — so search your app store before you fly and download your airline’s app. You could find it very useful, especially if your flight is delayed.

Parking your car
One last useful little gem this month:
Ever forgotten where you parked your car at the airport? There are several apps that use the GPS on your phone to remember where you are. You just set it when you park, and it drops a pin on the map to remember where you are.

Your phone’s GPS is accurate to within a few feet, so when you come back from your holiday you can use it to guide yourself back to your car! Simple but often very useful.

On the iPhone, the Parking Aid for iPhone app costs £0.79.

Android users have a couple of other choices, both free to download: ParKing for Androidor Valet for Android.

Be safe – insure your gadgets
Get 90 days Worldwide cover for your gadgets with Premier Gadget Insurance, and save 10% with code LAUNCH10.