Pinworthy: Apps for planes, trains, and automobiles

Pinworthy: Apps for planes, trains, and automobiles

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In case you haven’t seen it, Planes, Trains & Automobiles is a classic holiday comedy about the misadventures of Neal Page and Dell Griffith (played by Steve Martin and John Candy) as they struggle to make it home for Thanksgiving. I like the film not only because Steve Martin and John Candy are hilarious, but I can personally relate to their trip-induced frustrations: flight delays, terrible train rides, bad rental cars, and more.

If only Neal and Dell had Windows Phones, they could’ve avoided many of those mishaps.

With Thanksgiving less than a week away in the U.S., and more holidays on the horizon, I thought I’d suggest a few apps for planes, trains and automobiles (and if you’re new to Windows Phone, don’t miss our $25 prepaid app card offer!). What about you? What Windows Phone apps get you through the holidays?


Both the American Airlines and Fly Delta are very useful Windows Phone apps that allow you to do things like view personal flight details, monitor your place on the standby list, and rebook on an alternate flight when yours has been canceled or delayed—all of which would have been helpful to Neal.

However, I wanted to review an app that’s helpful no matter what airline you’re on, which led me to Fly Time. The app tracks flights for hundreds of airlines worldwide, and provides global airport and airline information. But that’s table stakes for a flight tracker app. Fly Time ups the ante by allowing you to send your flight info to family and friends via Facebook, Twitter, text message or email – no need for me to call my wife with the flight number and time of arrival.

Fly TimeFly Time

It also tells you what businesses are near you. Granted, I typically use Local Scout to find places I want to visit nearby, but I like how Fly Time categorizes what’s around me by what’s important to a traveler: taxis, hotels, parking, transit, restaurants and even coffee.


Even Dell with his extra-large trunk wouldn’t miss his stop on the train or bus with Travelnapp. Enter your destination, tap on the integrated Bing map to confirm, and this app delivers your journey details, including current time, distance to destination, ETA, and average speed almost anywhere in the world.

Further, using your phone’s GPS, the app will play a loud (and rather annoying) alarm when you’re approaching your stop. If you’re listening to music, it automatically pauses your tunes before sounding the alarm. Travelnapp also features a set of fail safes to alert you if your GPS signal is lost for an extended period (like in a tunnel).



Remember the scene where Neal and Dell get on the interstate headed in the wrong direction? Too funny. But that wouldn’t happen if they were using Garmin StreetPilot, because the voice guided turn-by-turn directions would surely have stated “make a legal U-Turn” or “Re-calculating” again and again.

The StreetPilot app is essentially the same as having a stand-alone Garmin nüvi personal navigator in your car, but costs only $34.99. Besides turn-by-turn directions, StreetPilot also provides real-time traffic info based on your phone’s GPS location, so you can avoid delays from accidents, police, construction, and other incidents. The app offers up-to-date maps for the U.S. and Canada. It also integrates with Bing on your Windows Phone for local searches and can navigate to contacts in your address book.

Combine all of these features with the ability to pin your house location as a tile to Start for quick routes home no matter where you are, as well as the apps ability to provide current weather conditions and forecast, and there’s no way that our Planes, Trains and Automobiles friends would have been late for Thanksgiving dinner.

Garmin StreetPilotGarmin StreetPilot

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  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    @Michael Stroh

    But I have this great clickthrough program where if I spam 100 posts I'll get $1000.  And its to advertise this great bridge I got in California for sale!  You think these 200+ posts were because I care about WP7?  Nah, I was just building your trust.  Now click here:!

    Now seriously, thanks for spam zapping.

    I will say I used the Fly Delta app on a trip I took recently and loved it.  One less stupid thing in my pocket to deal with.  Although just remember your screen blacks out after a bit.  (I forgot to take off the lockscreen before trying to scan my boarding pass.  #fail).

    Also it appears the most recent update is crashing the app. I uninstalled an reinstalled and it seems to work fine now.  But for people with pending travel, I suggest not updating.

  • Another great little travel app I keep pinned is Travel Wallet. Its an organizer for your frequent flier programs. I always used to store my frequent flier programs in a OneNote file on my phone but now I have them nicely organized in Travel Wallet. I travel a lot, so keeping it pinned makes it very quick for me to look up my frequent flier number when booking a trip. The app also shows me partner airlines and hotels which helps me choose which card to use to maximize my points by using one card for each alliance and not spreading them across every different airline or hotel I book.

  • @Rodney: Spam zapped.

    Folks: Posts with plugs for your personal businesses or anything unrelated to Windows Phone will be vaporized. You've been warned.

  • geogeek
    7 Posts

    I'm curious if anyone else has experienced this problem. I recently downloaded an app called Recent Earthquakes. I then went to my app page and clicked on a letter so that I could get to the app. Well, the "r" is grayed out and I can't bring up any apps starting with the letter "r". If anyone knows how to correct this bug please let me know.

  • Here Microsoft, You can have this. Please use it on TV.

    " Windows Phone! Because You're Not An i... You're not a robot...You're A Person"  "Always Put People First!"

  • To many spammers in here! Can we get something done about this?

  • Just had a weird thing happen with Zune on my device. It was running through song after song very fast. The time bar zipped by and moved to one song after another real quick. Even on the lock screen the songs and pictures zipped by. Now, the audio played at regular speed, it was just the time elapse issued regarding the graphics. I have video of this which I will post soon.

  • This is a great app, and builds nicely on the windows phone agency 's work on the British Airways phone app which came out earlier this year. A really great delivery.

  • To many spammers in here! Can we get something done about this?

  • Yeah, the WebOS version let music and navigation coexist and that is the one real complaint I have with the Arrive...

  • KTGiang
    34 Posts

    Sprint TeleNav GPS sucked a lot on release on the HTC Arrive. The features were more disappointing than it was on the LG Lotus (feature phone) but the experience was much smoother as it should be. I'm pretty sure one of the recent updates pushed it to Mango and it makes it a great app to use for navigation now. The only issues I have with it is that the voice directions stop the audio and leaves the audio at the "pause/stop" position rather than turning it back on but thats only a minor one when I'm using my phone to listen to podcasts through my car speakers.The only way I would pay for another GPS app now is if it offers a great experience like the TeleNav along with offline maps.

  • Speaking of  "Planes Trains and Automobiles" I like the scene when they are at the airport and the attendant, you now that "C" list actress with the Wisconsin accent, Says to Steve Martin "Well looks like you're fu#$%d!" LOL all night!

    Here it is...

  • Every time I see reviews or comments about turn-by-turn navigation apps, I remember that Sprint provides TeleNav for free with the Arrive (actually with every smartphone I've had from them - Instinct, Pre, Hero) and I can't believe they're the only U.S. carrier to do so...  It may not look as pretty as the screenshots above, but it's always gotten me to my destination successfully!