Lonely Planet Writer

Lost in an unfamiliar departure lounge? There's an app for that

If you have ever been stuck in an unfamiliar airport desperately searching for Wi-Fi, a children’s play area or even just a charging point for your phone or laptop, help is at hand.

A  wide range of apps now available to guide you around airports.
A wide range of apps now available to guide you around airports. Image by Matthew Hurst / CC BY-SA 2.0

A range of apps are available to guide you around the world’s air terminals, pointing you in the right direction whether in a hurry to make a connection or with plenty of time to kill.

The best feature of one of the apps, Flio, is that it will automatically get computers and phones hooked up to whatever free Wi-Fi is available.

Rather than filling out an endless succession of tedious forms, it saves personal details, and will automatically sign up to get travellers online in seconds.

It also offers advice on how best to navigate airports, finding the best path from terminal to terminal, or even to the nearest bathroom.

Flio now covers 850 major airports and is not only free, but also offers discounts at food outlets and shops, including major chains like Starbucks.

Starbucks looking to evening diners
Starbucks – discounts offered. Image by poolie / CC BY 2.0

They said: ‘We now support more than 100 airport Wi-Fi’s, of which 40 are already automated, including San Francisco, Moscow’s three international airports, Paris Charles de Gaulle’s three terminals, as well as Heathrow, Schiphol and San Jose Airport. We expect to accelerate our coverage in the [coming] months.’

In a similar vein is GateGuru, which operates as a journey planner to keep tabs on all flights that you currently have booked.

A JourneyCard feature offers real-time updates on flight delays, gate changes, and even the likely length of the security queue. On the AirportCard is information on the layout of the airport, maps, airport tips and even weather forecasts.

As a special feature, the apps also keeps track of travels to tell how many miles you have travelled and how many airports you have visited.

Also useful is an in-built review system based on passenger experience, which grades things like airport lounges from the best to those better off avoided.