Could Technology Have Helped My Airplane Flight?


I recently made a Transatlantic Flight. Just KNEW it was going to be a horror show. Prepared as much as I knew how. Wore sandles instead of shoes. Luggage as light as possible.

Starting out, make sure you are happy with the “travel agent” you are using. Since I knew exactly where I was going and when, I stayed with a solid company I have used before: Travelocity. If I wanted to add some spice to my trip and try some new places, I might have gone to someone with maps, videos et al, like Hipmunk. Need to look even closer to flights? Check out FlightAware. See where every flight is in the sky. Maps of altitude and speed. The high and low prices paid for tickets on that flight. And, most useful of all: Its average for being early or late.

Concerned where you sit? Start with SeatGuru. Don’t choose a seat online until you’ve checked it here! You’ll find out if your seat doesn’t recline, doesn’t have a window, has a broken TV, and so on. No ugly surprises. Problem? Try When you book your flight and find that only middle seats are available, what should you do? Panic? No — go here and ask to be notified if an aisle or window opens up. They often do, so you can swoop in and snag them.

OK, let’s turn our attention to the actual flight.

Use the airline’s “app” to check in — while you’re still at home. That way, you buy yourself a lot more time. You don’t have to be at the airport an hour before the flight; you’ve already checked in. Every major airline except Virgin has an app (and Virgin is working on one).

If you have an iPhone, add your electronic boarding pass to the built-in Passbook app. For Android, Google has PassWallet. Every time you have to show your boarding pass – at TSA Precheck (see next paragraph) and at the gate — you don’t have to unlock your phone or hunt for the right screen.

Now along comes something that could become the answer to our prayers: TSA Precheck.

Lot has changed with this program, which lets you breeze through security without taking off your belt, shoes, jacket, or underwear — and without taking your toiletries and laptop out. It is still growing. I first ran into it at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). For me, Brussels and London are the two “baddies”. Nice, France (my departure) is a “dreamboat” (coming and going)

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