Good news for frequent business travelers: a handful of new mobile apps from airlines and airports aim to make your next trip a breeze.
Many of these apps operate through "beacons," which are sensors that transmit Bluetooth technology to communicate with users. Others apps use Wi-Fi, providing personalized information and directions to various airport checkpoints and restaurants.
Finding your way through an airport--especially one you've never been to before and aren't familiar with--can be quite confusing and time-consuming. "You have to know so many things today to be a frequent flier," notes Brett Fox, a sales manager with a legal research company, in a recent interview with the N.Y. Times. He recently used a "wayfinding" feature on the American Airlines app to locate a Cuban restaurant at Miami International Airport.
Here are five new travel apps now available for download on your phone:
1. American Airlines
The air carrier has an app that connects with Wi-Fi, helping you to navigate through airports in Miami, Chicago, San Jose and Phoenix. The feature will soon be available for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, La Guardia Airport in New York City, Los Angeles International Airport, and London's Heathrow Airport.
2. United Airlines
The company is testing its 'indoor location' app at Terminal C at the Newark Liberty International Airport. It integrated advanced mapping technology into its iOS app in August of last year.
3. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
In recent research, the Dutch airport found that 50 percent of travelers have trouble navigating the premises. In response, it rolled out its own app, allowing users to travel "without the hassle of checking paper documents all the time," said the airport's chief intelligence officer, Albert van Veen, an interview with the N.Y. Times.
San Francisco International Airport is testing out new technology at its Terminal 2; beacons would help visually impaired travelers by giving them audio instructions to reach their gate, checkpoints and power outlets, for example. Similar beacons at the Austin and Cincinnati airports let users assess the wait time at security lines.
The Luton, U.K.-based company has rolled out Mobile Host, in partnership with London's Gatwick Airport, to help travelers find the best place to check bags, or find their gate.