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Apps to help you avoid airport annoyances

Jasmine France | April 25, 2013
The happiest place on earth they're not. But we find a handful of helpful apps that take the sting out of air travel.

Of course, Rhapsody isn't the only option available: Pandora, Rdio, Slacker, and Spotify offer apps with varying features and services. Lesser-known music-streaming services are worth a try, too. For example, Songza selects a mix of music to match your mood. ("Cranky about delayed flight" isn't an option, but you can specify "angsty," "gloomy," or "aggressive.")

Where's My Water?--Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone ($1)

Anyone who has ever been hooked on a video game, knows that playing a truly engaging game causes time to pass with almost magical swiftness. Where's My Water is an addictive, physics-based puzzle game starring a fastidious alligator named Swampy. Swampy loves to take long, hot showers, and your goal is to make sure that he gets enough water for the job. This one's great for keeping cranky kids distracted, but it's fun for adults too.

If you're traveling with children, be sure to check out PBS Parents Play & Learn, a full suite of games available for a wide range of devices (including Kindle and Nook) and designed to promote math and literacy skills.

Flight delays and cancellations

In a perfect world, flights would always be on time and you'd never have to deal with unexpected cancellations. You'd also have a lot more leg room, seats that fully recline (though the people in the row in front of you wouldn't), and tasty in-flight meals--but hey, we obviously don't live in a perfect world. These apps will help take the sting out of unanticipated bumps in the road.

FlightTrack--Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone ($5)

FlightTrack provides real-time status information for delays and cancellations at more than 3000 airports worldwide. You can view your flights on a zoomable map, and see satellite weather imagery to help you anticipate the likelihood that a flight may be delayed; another a feature provides forecasts of potential delays. And if you have to deal with a cancellation, you can find alternate flights right in the app.

FlightTrack also lets you label your flights, store your flight confirmation number, and save your seat number from within the app. Upgrading to the Pro version of the app ($10) brings you push flight alerts, delay predictions, and the ability to sync your flight itineraries with TripIt.

GateGuru--Android, iOS, Windows Phone (free)

GateGuru's FlightCard feature rolls up every detail pertaining to your flight, including real-time arrival and departure stats, baggage carousel numbers, estimated TSA times, airport weather, and estimated security wait times. In addition, GateGuru includes airport navigation tips and maps.

The app integrates last-minute rental car deals, which may come in handy if your flight is canceled, and a list of nearby stores and restaurants (with ratings) customized to your terminal location to help you endure the wait during a delay or a layover.

 

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