Get This App: GateGuru
[Apps to the left of you! Apps to the right of you! In the crowded app marketplaces, it’s all too easy to overlook a useful piece of mobile software. Our Get This App series can guide you to these under-appreciated gems.]
I find air travel stressful. Trying to get to your flight on time, having to take off your shoes, sitting in a cramped seat for hours on end. Above all, though, I hate making connections. Still, it’s necessary, from time to time, and if you—like me—have ever found yourself wandering through an unfamiliar airport, wondering how to kill a few hours, then you owe it to yourself to download GateGuru.
There are plenty of apps that keep you updated as to your flight status, and GateGuru can do that too. But what makes it stand out is a wealth of information about airports. Hungry? GateGuru can tell you what’s in the current terminal. Need some place to juice up your electronics? Likewise with charging stations. There’s also info on mailboxes, ATMs, shoeshines, and more.
Best of all, GateGuru offers maps of all the listed airports and their terminals, complete with labeled gates. That makes it easy to locate a particular establishment or service, which are all identified by which gate they’re near, and sortable by name, location, and rating. In the case that a particular eatery or shop is outside security, the app will note that as well. If you’re looking for just a particular type of amenity—or just those near your current gate—it’s easy to search the list by name, category, or location.
While the focus is largely on U.S. airports, you’ll also find listings for a variety of international ones, including several in Canada and Europe.
For all that alone, GateGuru is worth the price of admission—which, I’ll note, is free—but the app goes beyond that. For example, it provides estimates of how long it’ll take you to get through security at the various checkpoints, based on information submitted by other travelers (although, sadly, since it relies on people actively chiming in with that data, it’s not always up to date).
If you’re willing to register for a free account, you can add that information yourself, as well as review the various establishments in the airport, and submit tips for particular airports or airlines. You’ll also need to create an account if you want to bookmark any particular amenities to refer back to.
GateGuru also offers the now-ubiquitous-seeming ability to “check in” at a particular airport. And, of course, there’s the ability to connect with Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare. More usefully, you can also tie in information from Tripit and Kayak.
The social aspects, though, are not what makes GateGuru compelling to me. As someone who travels fairly often, the ability to quickly find the nearest place where I can grab a good sandwich or a cup of tea is often the difference between a mediocre flying experience and an outright terrible one.