AutoPilot should be with you on your next trip

Mel Martin
M. Martin|10.07.09

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AutoPilot should be with you on your next trip
USA Today has released AutoPilot for the iPhone and iPod touch, and it looks like a winner. This free app [iTunes link] lets you plan your trip, informs you of flight delays, gives you quick links to hotel, rental car and airline phone numbers, gets you the weather for your destination, and pulls up Flickr photos of where you are going. Whew!

There are lots of other travel apps, but I think AutoPilot has hit all the highlights of useful information that people will want in one place.

The app even reminds you to check in for your flight, and allows you to email your itinerary to others. If you need to quickly call your hotel or your airline, all that information is there. You can tap on a phone number and the call gets made, or you can save the info to contacts. You can also click on a URL and go to a hotel, airline or rental car website

I put in some suggested trips, and everything worked very well except for flights with connections. Each flight had to be entered one at a time. I'd have preferred to be able to enter all the flights at once by typing in flight numbers separated, for example, by a comma.

The app integrates with Tripit, so if you have an account there it can pick up your flight information. Tripit, by the way, has an excellent iPhone app [iTunes link] as well.

Everything else about this app worked very well. There are ads at the bottom of the screen, but I did not find them distracting or obtrusive.

Having the flight tracker is very nice when you are meeting friends at the airport, and the information appeared up to date. The app was developed by Mercury Intermedia, the same firm that did the excellent USA Today [iTunes link] app. It's very slick and reliable for a version 1.0.

I can't think of any reason why a traveler wouldn't want to try this app out. I'm thinking about making a trip I don't even need to go on, just for the experience.

One other suggestion I'd make. The app shouldn't be limited to just air travel. If I'm driving somewhere, I'd still like the ability to define a trip, have the hotel and weather information and the destination galleries available for me, and maybe add some points of interest whether I'm driving or flying.

Check out the gallery for screen shots of AutoPilot in action:
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