As the year winds down, air travel in America ramps up. Whether you’re a college freshmen going home for the holidays, a young couple escaping winter snow on a Caribbean resort, or a family scattered across the country congregating at the old homestead for Thanksgiving dinner, your holiday plans probably involve that necessary evil: air travel.
Terminals like those at Chicago’s O’Hare and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson are so sprawling and expansive, they’re practically cities unto themselves. It doesn’t matter whether you have 30 minutes to catch your connecting flight or 3 hours to kill during a layover – being stuck in an airport often manages to straddle the line between boring and overwhelming. Didn’t you leave that odd amalgam of feelings at work?
TripAdvisor’s GateGuru app, available for both Apple and Android devices, is ready to revolutionize your air travel.
A simple free download will grant you access to GateGuru’s impressive airport database. Search by airport name, city, or code to find your airport and instantly get all the information you could ever need delivered right to your fingertips. Click on a terminal to find a full list of its shops and restaurants, complete with user reviews. Craving a Jamba Juice at Newark? Look in the lobby near gates A20-A28. Need an ATM or a charging station? You can find that too.
The user reviews don’t just apply to individual services. You can find ratings for the entire airport, so when you’re flying into Washington D.C., you know whether to choose Dulles or Ronald Reagan. The detailed Checkpoints tab will show you what the wait times are like at various spots around each terminal.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Sign up for a free GateGuru account to access a whole host of other features. Not only can you add your own reviews and tips, you can connect a TripIt or Kayak account to load in your personal trip details. The app will post real time updates to security wait times, flight delays, gate changes, and layover time adjustments. And say goodbye to the search bar. Just tap the airport code on your itinerary to pull up all the airport specific information you were able to seek out before.
You can even sneak a peek behind the doors of those special airline first class lounges you’ve always wondered about. Will you find a stocked complimentary bar and hors d’oeuvres or an outdated facility overrun with noisy kids? If you find one you like, switch over to Lounge Buddy, an app for Apple and Android devices that will show you whether you can get in for a one-time fee. Make a reservation right from your phone and enjoy the VIP treatment, whether that means a luxurious spot to unwind or a quiet corner where you can bust out your laptop and be productive.
Between high-class lounges, shops, and restaurants, there’s little need to be bored during a long layover, and apps like GateGuru and Lounge Buddy take the guesswork out of changes to your flight and navigating the terminal.
For more great travel apps that belong on your smartphone, continue reading here.