Here are two services that make life on the road slightly better for frequent travelers. They do for me.
1. Tripit.com – This service has a couple of key features. First, it helps build complete itineraries. Travel is often booked in stages (ex. I know the hotel where the conference is going to be, but I haven’t decided when I’m going to fly in or if I’ll need a car). With Tripit, I can forward the booking confirmations as I have them into their site and they’ll turn them into a complete itinerary. They also offer a calendar sync feature, so booked trips automatically show up on my calendar. In fact, you can even give Tripit access to your email so they can monitor for flights, hotels, and rental cars you’ve booked.
Additionally, Tripit has a points tracker feature where they’ll track how many miles you’ve earned on various travel loyalty programs (there are a few exceptions to this like Southwest). I’ve found this valuable because the Android app gives me easy access to my loyalty numbers (which don’t always end up on file at the time of booking).
The service also does a better job with travel alerts than the airlines do (SMS or email to your phone). Here are some examples of the alerts they send:
An alert 24 hours before my flight to check in, status of flight, timely reminders of time on the ground between flights, departure and arrival gates, and even baggage claim carousel info. All delivered to my phone at an appropriate time, and without having to set this type of thing up with each airline I happen to be flying on.
There a free and paid version of Tripit, and I don’t remember which features are available with each version, but I do know that the paid version makes a lot of sense for frequent air travelers.
2. MySeatFinder – I don’t know why this is such a big deal, but people tend to have some very strong opinions about what seat is the best seat on a plane. Some people like aisles. Some like windows. I tend to prefer non-bulkhead, non-exit row windows on the right side of the plane because I’ve found that I can lean right better than left when sleeping on a plane, I’d rather store my bag under the seat in front of me than in an overhead bin, and I’d rather check my email than listen intently to security procedures.
MySeatFinder is a service that works to get into your preferred seat. You set it up with your airline account information and it keeps an eye out for new flights you’ve booked (or have been booked for you). It then gets to work finding a better seat for you. Also, it’s a Minnesota based company.
Here is an example of this at work:
MySeatFinder found you a better seat for the following flight:
Airline: Delta Airlines
Reservation Code: HIYD42
Departure Date: February 04, 2011
Departure Time: 7:15 PM
Flight #: 4829
Origin Airport: Toronto, OT Canada
Destination Airport: Minneapolis/St Paul, MN
Your previous seat was 11C [aisle].
Your *NEW* seat for this flight is 2A [window].
In fact, MySeatFinder often knows that I’m flying somewhere before I know I’m flying there. For example, I knew that I was going to Toronto in early February, but didn’t know that my flight had been booked until I received an alert from MySeatFinder that, not only had my flight been booked, but my seat on the plane had been improved by 9 rows and moved from an aisle to a window. Those are fun emails to receive.
This service is currently $49/year after a 30-day free trial. Clearly, this is not designed for people who fly once a year, but for frequent travelers, this, again, is money well spent.
If you know of other services like this that I should check out, let me know.