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The Skyscanner app on iOS

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Gadgetwise: Flight planning apps

  • May 10, 2014 - 2:00 PM

apps to help you go from here to there

Organizing air travel doesn’t have to be complicated and frustrating. There are many mobile apps that can help you book flights with ease.

Skyscanner, free on iOS and Android — with versions available for BlackBerry and Windows Phone that offer slightly different features — is a strong flight-booking app. Its main attraction is the well-designed interface, which means you know where you are in the app and what you are doing at all times. Also, it’s great at delivering deals on cheap flights.

When you open Skyscanner, the app automatically presents the option to fly from where you are to anywhere — great for last-minute getaways. You can also enter start and end locations for a trip, along with dates, your preferred flying class and the number of passengers.

The deals come from different flight-booking providers that are not controlled by Skyscanner. But Skyscanner will connect you directly with these booking services by phone, or send your booking request straight to a provider’s online booking system.

A good alternative to ­Skyscanner is Kayak’s free app, available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry. This app offers similar convenience in finding flight deals offered by different airlines. It is more conventionally designed in its look and feel than Skyscanner, and is straightforward to use. It also offers extras, like the option to search for flights within one or two days on either side of a target date, which will give you more choices.

If you don’t like the way these two apps work, or can’t find deals that tempt you, then it’s also worth trying Orbitz’s app, which is free on iOS and Android, and works similarly to Kayak. This app has a much more webpage-like design, and it seems to have a lot more “twirling clock” icons as it loads information than its rivals do.

Once the flight is booked, different apps can log an entire trip itinerary in a single, easy-lookup interface. TripIt, free on iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone, does this particularly well.

NEW YORK TIMES

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