Three essential travel tools. That I pay for.

We all travel with technology – it makes our lives easier.  There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of mobile apps, services, and other tools and utilities available, so how do you know which ones are worth trying?

There are three that I’ve found to be so useful that I pay for.

Just a note, I don’t receive any remuneration, reward, incentive from any of these three companies for recommending their services.

MyFlights

This is an iOS App and web service that monitors your bookings and alerts you to changes.  It’s genius.  Not only does it keep all of your bookings together in one simple interface, there’s a lot of detail that’s accessible from within it too.

For example, ticket numbers and for mixed carrier bookings it will tell you all of the PNRs (record locators) from the other carriers too.

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When an element of the booking changes it will send you a push notification and an email.  In addition, it handily shows you what has changed with the old info crossed out and the new details in green.

This could be as simple as a seat change, to an aircraft swap, to an entire flight segment being cancelled.

The only limitation of the app is that it works with bookings from airlines that are hosted on Amadeus (one of the large GDS platforms), and on some bookings stored in Sabre (but not all).  Do check to see if your most travelled airline uses something that’s compatible first.

TripIt

TripIt is a website and an app (which MyFlight is able to integrate with) for storing and organising a whole load of details about your journeys.

If you use Gmail, then it can automatically integrate with that, otherwise simply forward your confirmation emails and it will automatically parse the emails for useful data and build an itinerary with all of your confirmation numbers, all of the booking references, addresses, telephone numbers etc, stored in one handy place.

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Tripit Itinerary overview

Once you’re on a trip, it will monitor your journey for delays, sending you connecting gate information by push notification and email.  If there are delays it will look for alternatives to get you where you’re going.

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Tripit connection alert

You can share details and connect with others.  It has a teams functionality for travelling with colleagues.  It’s pretty comprehensive and pretty much essential when I’m on a trip.

Expertflyer

Expertflyer is where the geek in me comes out.  This web site provides an easy to use, web based front end, on to a Sabre GDS.

Let me start out by saying, if you don’t know what that is then there’s no point paying for it.  However to summarise a GDS (Global Distribution System) is essentially a marketplace where airlines advertise two key things.

  • What fares are available between two points, and what restrictions those fares have
  • The availability, split into fare “buckets”, for every flight which they operate

By combining what fares are available, interpreting the fare rules, and then applying them to what availability there is on a particular flight, enables you to book a flight.

I’ll go into this in more detail in future articles, but essentially ExpertFlyer allows you to see what the airlines see.

For example, the screenshot below shows the fare availability between Heathrow and New York – JFK at a particular point in time.

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Expertflyer fare availability display

I’m not going to interpret the data in this article, however wanted to post it in order to give you a flavour of what you’re going to get.

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