Android Central

One of my absolute favorite travel apps for iOS is called App in the Air. As you may guess from the title, it's a flight tracking app. We've no shortage of those in the world, but this one caught my eye immediately because of its eye catching design. Now, whenever I fly, it's the number one app I use until the plane takes off. And now, the developers have brought it to Android.

Make no mistake though; this isn't some lazy port. The developers, have designed each version with its respective platform in mind. The Android app is clearly an Android app, and the iOS app is clearly an iOS app. I've been playing around with the Android version for a few weeks now, and it's every bit as good as I hoped it would be. Let's take a closer look.

Android Central   Android Central

The main user interface is very simple. You're presented with three tabs, each of which overlays onto a Google Maps representation of the data. Using the screenshots above for a flight between London and Barcelona as an example; we have a tab for London Gatwick airport, the specific flight, and for Barcelona airport.

Swiping left or right to one of the airport tabs first up zooms the background map view to the airport location on the map. It also tells you what time and time zone it is there, and at the bottom flashes up an airport tip. This is one of the nice features about App in the Air; the social aspect. Users are able to upload tips and tricks for making life as pleasant as possible at the airport. Tap on the on-screen tip to open up a whole list of them, with thumbs up/thumbs down rating system in effect to help you pick out the better recommendations.

The middle tab is the one you'll probably be paying most attention to while you're at the airport. This is the one that keeps you updated with the specifics of the plane you're boarding. Scrolling up or down through the list gives you times that check-in closes, when boarding closes and up to date information about take off and landing times. As details change the app will update the information for you. For example, when heading out to CES it notified me that the plane would actually be taking off 10 minutes after I expected. It's not 100% accurate, but then, it also relies on data outside of its control. But in three long haul trips with the iOS version, it's been plenty accurate enough. 

Android Central   Android Central

So, that's what you see in regards to your flights, but what about adding them? Well, there are two methods for this. The first is manually with your airline and flight number, or you can do it via TripIt import. I use it connected to my TripIt account, so every time I have a flight booked somewhere, I don't have to touch anything to have the details populated in App in the Air. Swipe in from the left, and the slide out menu that appears will list and summarize all your upcoming flights. If you're not using TripIt, you can back up all your flight information to the cloud, but this requires Facebook login as authentication. Other methods are being explored by the developers for future inclusion, but Facebook authentication is how they went in the iOS app, so it's how it is here too. You can also use Facebook and Twitter login to share details of your globetrotting adventures with the world.

Android Central   Android Central

That's mostly it. It's a simple app that's designed extremely well and carries out its purpose equally as such. App in the Air is totally free to download and use, but monetizes through in-app purchases. Before you begin to groan uncontrollably, the purchases add extra functionality in the way of notifications, but they're by no means necessary to get satisfying use from the app. Push notifications are just that – and pro tip; if you've got a smartwatch that you can see these on it's a hellova combination at the busy terminal – and text messages can be sent to up to three different recipients. So you can keep the family informed just as much as you are.

A years subscription is $29.99, or you can do it for 1 month at $2.33 or for 5 flights at $3.99. It's a little cheaper than something like a TripIt Pro subscription, but then it's also not offering as much as TripIt Pro either. But if you fly a lot and just want to be notified, then it's worth taking a look at.

So there we have it. It's a fantastic travel app that I'm really pleased to see on Android. It's a huge part of my travel arsenal – thankfully now on whichever device I happen to travel with – so give it a try, and let me know what you think. 

 
There are 26 comments

Jay Holm says:

Airports? I've been Home now for just over 16mo's,...NO airports for me! I'm staying put in Ct, New England, and the tri-state areas, that's it for me. No airports!

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Troneas says:

there is one thing that annoys me more than banner ads in apps - subscriptions. next!

Jay Holm says:

I don't mind ads in apps, so long as their at the very bottom!

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

So use it for free and don't get notifications then?

Troneas says:

i already have a paid app (Flightboard). Its pretty basic when it comes to features but shows essential information. it has no notifications which would be a nice addition. i really don't need anything too fancy as long as its informative and clean with minimum input from my part i'm happy. FlightTrack 5 has notifications and loads of features and does not charge a subscription, though.

JobiWan144 says:

I have to agree with you: I have a pretty strong aversion to subscriptions to things that don't feel like an ongoing service. For example, Google Play Music, Hulu Plus, and MMO's are acceptable for subscriptions; a third-party launcher, a podcatcher, and a travel app's notifications aren't. Richard, do you happen to know of a similar app that's either completely free or involves a one-time purchase instead of a subscription?

Edit: apparently there are suggestions below. I should read more.

Posted from my HTC EVO 4G LTE via Android Central App

tdizzel says:

When i first saw the name of this app i thought it would be similar to my favorite app of all time-send me to heaven. Love that app.

Posted from my newly Kit Katted Droid Ultra

Gekko says:

no thanks. i prefer FlightView Free with FREE FLIGHT STATUS PUSH ALERTS.

FlightView Free Flight Tracker
FlightView - January 29, 2014
Travel & Local

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.flightview.flightview_...

p.s. a big F**K YOU goes out to those greedy pricks at Mobiata/FlightTrack!

Troneas says:

i like their apps. greedy are those who charge subscription fees. FT5 has tons of features and has been completely redesigned and its not expensive to update. i know its frustrating coming from an earlier version but many companies do it. when agilebits updated to 1Password 4 in iOS they charged everyone again as well.

And in-app advertising. Personally, I'm happy to pay for a good app with good service that has no crappy ads in it. But each to their own. That's what's good about choice :)

Gekko says:

they have no-ad paid versions.

As I said. Choice is good.

Tenebrous says:

A bit confused - the long established FlightTrack Android app does all of this - including push notifications and a widget - without requiring an annoying and expensive subscription. It does have a few advertisements, but pay a one time nominal fee and those ads disappear - that's it, no subscription, no hassle. This alone makes FlightTrack better.

The app itself is free to download, free to use and there are absolutely no ads. You pay if you want text messages and push notifications. If you're OK without notifications, no outlay, no ads. That's why I started using this app in the first place on iPhone. But I liked it so much I decided to pay for a subscription to get those notifications. 

Regarding all the bugs - the update will appear very soon =)

We'll be happy to improve our app )
A hope new features will appear every one-two weeks.

We charge for notifications because no one does Text/SMS messages to any number of people.

Any comments / issues / ideas you can send at support@appintheair.mobi
Or directly to me at sergey(at)pronin.me

Sergey Pronin,
Senior Developer / Product Manager @ App in the Air

Gekko says:

IMO flight status push alerts (on device notification) should be included in the free basic functionality like the competition. save the subscription fee for the Text/SMS features etc.

technomom says:

A lot of this is redundant on Android since Google Now already provides a lot of this info. Secondly, what's the Facebook login for? If it's forcing that for identification purposes, it's a complete turnoff to me. You're on Android, you already have a perfectly good authentication method at your disposal in Google.

Same here. If you want to have Facebook as a login option, that's fine, but give us other choices.

Posted via Android Central App

Hi there! We'll provide g+ sign in in a week or two.

Hello! We are using facebook authorization to provide you with flights synchronization between the devices. Android authentification are already in our roadmap, we'll release it very soon.
Google Now doesn't provide real-time notifications, as I know. And doesn't suggest SMS|phone-notifications.

technomom says:

True on the real time notifications so it's good to see that. The SMS/phone notifications are kind of redundant if you have Google Now sending you notifications though.

amcity32 says:

Haha the tip in the screenshot: "Don't tell the airport staff you have a bomb."
I would think that is common sense.

Posted via Android Central App via my Nexus 4

rayjr13 says:

News to me :p #looselips

miles_prower says:

Form over function. WAY too much swiping to get relevant information. I know most iOS users are used to walking/sitting/talking and swiping-swiping-swiping. But I prefer glancing and seeing more than one small tidbit of information at a time.

Plus, as far as I can tell, this app does not tell you any details of where the actual aircraft is located or what it's currently doing. This is crucial information when the gate agent is telling you boarding will commence in 30 minutes, when in reality, the plane is still enroute from its previous departure city and an hour out at that.

App in Air is nice to look at, but Flightview Free is my choice for best air-travel app, and most of my frequent-flying friends use it too.

Why?

Yet again a neat little app without tablet landscape support.

Come on...

Installed, dismayed, uninstalled. Bye bye