I may not fly as much as some of my colleagues — in fact, I don't even have status with my preferred airline yet — but I still travel quite a bit. I just got back yesterday from a week in Anaheim for the NAMM Show, and before I even have time to fully unpack, I'm heading down to Florida for Mobile Nations' company gathering tomorrow. Add to that my upcoming flight to Barcelona for MWC, and … well, yeah, you get the point.
Phones make traveling easier, especially when something goes wrong.
Something I've noticed lately is how much easier flying has gotten over the years as smartphones continue to get more powerful and convenient. I don't need to print out my boarding pass, and I can check into my flight long before I ever arrive at the airport. Speaking of, let's not forget actually getting to and from the airport. With garage parking being so expensive (IND charges $20 a day, other airports charge even more), it usually makes more sense to just call a Lyft or Uber.
More specifically, though, phones make flying much easier when things go wrong. At the start of my trip last week, we were supposed to connect through Denver, but after an hour or so of sitting idly on the plane, the pilot announced that the Denver International Airport was delaying/canceling all flights.
Sure enough, my airline app buzzed on my phone to let me know that my flight had been canceled, and it had automatically re-booked me, along with the rest of the people I was traveling with, onto a flight into Salt Lake City leaving 45 minutes later at the next gate over. We de-boarded the plane, walked up to the attendant at the next gate, and stepped onto our new flight. Beautiful.
Once we got through our connecting flight and eventually landed in Orange County, there was one other issue. I'm always against checking bags when it's avoidable, but my suitcase is meant for two people and ended up being way too big for the overhead bins. Big surprise, it didn't make it to the John Wayne Airport with me, never having been offloaded to my re-booked SLC flight.
Delayed luggage is always frustrating, but the airline staff assured me that it would be delivered to our Airbnb (yep, booked that from my phone too) later that evening, and we had packed any essentials in our carry-on bags, so I wasn't too broken up about it. My trusty airline app kept me updated throughout the day with the status and location of my luggage, and the airline even messaged us through Twitter DMs to make sure I knew exactly where my things were.
None of this is particularly new, but it's astonishing nonetheless. From booking my original flights to re-booking after a sudden cancelation, tracking my luggage, and planning out an entire vacation, I never had to do so much as open my laptop or make a phone call. I manage all of my trips almost entirely from my phone, and if you ask me, that's pretty amazing.