Last week I traveled on a flight which, like many others, was significantly delayed. It was something I knew when I arrived at the airport, so I went ahead and took some extra time to grab breakfast. It was also a detail shared with me courtesy of the airline’s app.
I fly a ton, so I have the apps for all major airlines installed on my phone and they’re beyond helpful.
Find Out About Delays
The biggest win for having the app installed is you’ll get a push notification when your flight is delayed. There are obviously tons of other apps that do this too (I love TripIt), but for your average traveler, your airline’s app will do.
Find Out When You’re Boarding
That same delayed flight actually left 45 minutes before we were scheduled to under the original delay. Had I not had the airline’s app on my phone I’m fairly confident I would have missed it. Not only did I get a push notification about the updated departure, but I also got one letting me know boarding had begun (my indication that the bathroom line wasn’t worth it).
There have been times in the past when I’ve been sitting at a gate and missed the boarding announcement but caught the push notification on my phone as well. It seems like a feature you don’t need, but when you do it’s amazing.
Change Your Seats
A surprising amount of people I’ve encountered don’t seem to realize you can swap your seats directly in the airline’s app. I personally love to fly in aisle seats close to the front of the plane. I’ll check the app once I get to the gate to see if one closer to the front has opened up, presuming I’m not in one already.
Seats at the front of the plane are typically reserved for frequent fliers during the booking process, but open up closer to departure. Also, some of those frequent fliers might get bumped to a premium class, freeing up their snazzy regular seat. If you don’t like the seat you’re assigned, swapping in the app is easier than talking to a gate agent.
Flight delays happen. Flight cancellations happen. Most airline’s apps allow you to rebook yourself (for free!) when those issues arise so you don’t have to wait in that insane line at customer service.
I’ve had connecting flights delayed and canceled dozens of times and been able to find myself a suitable replacement before I even land at the next airport. That means I can walk off my plane and go directly to my new flight without talking to anyone. Even better, I might nab the last seat on a later flight before other passengers realize our original has an issue.
Find Your Bag
Most airlines also track your bags in-app now as well, so you can see your bag is safely on the plane. My personal favorite part of this feature: you can also often get a push notification when your bag is about to come around the carousel.
If you aren’t already using your airline’s app, download it and give it a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed.