There are no apps I want to use in an airport. As a frequent flyer – and a lover of my iPhone/iPad – this saddens me. A lot.
I don’t want to know about all the flights coming into an airport. A lot of apps assume I want to know this. I don’t want to know about the weather. I can get that already.
I want an airport app I can use. One that directs me to the food court or the bar. Or that uses augmented reality (AR) to alert me to sales at duty free. Or that lets me know about the lineups at security before I get there (though I can see how this might be impossible).
There are hundreds of apps out there and some of them fulfill some of what I want. But there is no single app I actually use at any airport because as of now all the apps that have been created have suffered from being full of information I don’t need.
I understand this is the way things are. I don’t watch the majority of the channels on my television (though to be honest, outside of watching sports, I don’t really turn the television on at all anymore – but that’s another topic).
I don’t complain about it either, because I expect it. Bruce Springsteen complained about the lack of anything worth watching on the tube a long time ago and so we’re conditioned to this.
What would my dream airport app have on it?
1) Waiting times. I want to know how busy the airport is. I want to know where the crowds are.
2) Food. What can I eat? Where can I eat it? Is it healthy? What’s on the menu? And, most importantly, is it busy?
3) Drink. Where’s the bar? What kind of bar is it? Is it loud? Is there food?
4) Lounges. Can I get into any of the lounges given the frequent flyer programs I belong to and/or the credit cards I have in my wallet? And are the lounges busy?
5) Shopping. What’s there to purchase? Are any stores having specials? What are the best deals right now? Which duty free shops do I have access to?
This should all come with obvious links on easy-to-read airport maps (as opposed to the botched jobs that some airport maps have become – I’m looking at you, CDG) and have a layered AR component to it so I can just “follow” my phone.
In other words, I’d like to point my phone in any direction and “see” what’s inside the airport. (Interesting that the guy behind the popular GateGuru app doesn’t think AR really works in the airport environment because it’s not “immediate” enough. I say AR is a great idea that is just waiting to be properly exploited by someone really smart.)
Whoever designs my dream airport app should take the simplicity and internationalism of airport wayfinding signs as their aesthetic inspiration.
I don’t want a planespotting app. Many of the apps out there seem to be for this type of person. I might be a fan of air travel, but when I’m working and flying, I just want functionality. There’s a lot in my head already.
Lay out the airport before me, like a carpet. Start with some simple information: my flight number and departure time, the date, some preferences I’ve already inputted. That’s it.
Am I asking too much? Or does this app already exist? Let me know.