Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published November 27, 2014 at 9:21 AM | Page modified November 28, 2014 at 6:51 AM

  • Share:
             
  • Comments
  • Print

Thanksgiving travel woes? There's an app for that

Traveling by plane, train or automobile can be a headache. Mixing in Thanksgiving can make it a throbbing migraine. Technology provides some pain relief in the form of apps to let you know which roads are clogged, what gate your flight leaves from and whether trains are running on time.


Associated Press

advertising

Traveling by plane, train or automobile can be a headache. Mixing in Thanksgiving can make it a throbbing migraine. Technology provides some pain relief in the form of apps to let you know which roads are clogged, what gate your flight leaves from and whether trains are running on time.

The American Automobile Association forecasts that the Wednesday through Sunday period will see more than 46 million Americans travel at least 50 miles from home -- the most Thanksgiving road warriors since 2007. About nine in 10 are expected to drive -- or be driven -- with about 3.6 million flying.

Here are some ways to make the journey a bit less taxing.

PLANES

FlightAware tracks not only your flight's status but also any delays or cancellations, even gate changes. Set it up for a specific trip and it will send alerts so you don't have to keep checking for changes.

Seats matter, especially if you're traveling with kids. The ExpertFlyer app has a feature called "seat alert," which informs you when a seat you want to snag becomes available.

If you have the pleasure of a connecting flight, consider FlightBoard. Every five minutes, it updates with the latest from airport departure boards at over 3,000 airports worldwide. If you're picking up at the airport, it's one way to find out whether the flight will land on time.

Or, if you want to keep it simple, get the app of the airline you're flying. That will typically let you do things such as get a boarding pass or -- gulp -- rebook your flight.

TRAINS

While Amtrak has an app that lets you make or change reservations and check the status of your train, local and regional public transit doesn't have the same range of resources as air travel.

At least 70 percent of larger transit agencies have apps that offer real-time travel information, according to Darnell Grisby, director of policy development and research at the American Public Transportation Association. As for using your phone to buy and manage tickets -- that's not as common an option, but some agencies offer it.

AUTOMOBILES

Traffic apps are a familiar friend for many commuters. Some, such as Sigalert, offer color-coded highway maps -- red for "jammed up," yellow for "slow," green for "full speed ahead." Sometimes the data that inform the maps are just outdated enough that they can lead a driver onto a freeway that may have been traffic-free five minutes ago, but now has a building bottleneck.

The popular app Waze tries to solve that problem by asking drivers to report traffic and other problems, which the app then shares with other users.

AND JUST IN CASE

Should everything go sideways, and you're suddenly stranded, Priceline and Hotel Tonight can help you find a room nearby.



Four weeks for 99 cents of unlimited digital access to The Seattle Times. Try it now!

Also in Business & Technology

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Relive the magic

Relive the magic

Shop for unique souvenirs highlighting great sports moments in Seattle history.

Advertising

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►