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.
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.
Updated November 7, 2014 9:11 pm