Always Download and Use Your Airline’s App When Traveling

Last week I was on a flight that, like many others, was significantly delayed. This was what I knew when I arrived at the airport, so I moved on and found extra time to have breakfast. This detail was shared with me thanks to the airline app.

I fly a lot, so all major airlines have apps on my phone and they are very useful to me.

Learn about delays

The biggest payoff from installing the app is that you will receive a push notification when your flight is delayed. Obviously there are plenty of other apps that do this too (I love TripIt), but for the casual traveler, your airline’s app is fine.

Know when you sit down

The same delayed flight actually took off 45 minutes earlier than we had planned according to the original delay. If I didn’t have the airline app on my phone, I’m sure I would have missed it. Not only did I receive a push notification for an updated departure, but I also got a notification that boarding has started (my indication that the toilet line is not worth it).

In the past, there have been times when I sat at the gate and missed the boarding announcement, but also caught the push notification on my phone. It seems like this is a function you don’t need, but when you do it, it’s just awesome.

Change your seats

A surprising number of people I’ve met don’t seem to realize that you can change seats right in the airline app. I personally love flying in the aisle seats next to the nose of the plane. I’ll check the app when I get to the gate to see if the ones closer to the entrance have opened, assuming I’m not there yet.

Seats at the front of the aircraft are usually reserved for frequent flyers during the booking process, but open closer to departure. In addition, some of those who fly frequently may qualify for premium, which will free up their plush regular seats. If you don’t like your assigned seat, swapping in the app is easier than talking to an agent at the gate.

Rebook yourself

Flight delays do happen. Flight cancellations do happen. Most airline apps allow you to rebook yourself (free!) When these issues arise, so you don’t have to wait in that crazy support line.

My connecting flights were delayed and canceled dozens of times, and I could find myself a suitable replacement even before I landed at the next airport. This means that I can get off the plane and go straight to the new flight without speaking to anyone. Better yet, I could take the last seat on a later flight before the other passengers realize that our original has a problem.

Find your bag

Most airlines now also track your bags in the app so you can see that your bag is safe on the plane. My favorite part of this feature: you can also get frequent push notifications when your bag is about to appear on the carousel.

If you are not using your airline’s app yet, download it and give it a try. I promise you will not be disappointed.


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