Why You Shouldn’t Always Trust Your Travel App (A TripIt Story)

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You don’t have to be a frequent flyer to know that it’s a good idea to have a few travel apps on your smartphone to ensure that you’re well informed about the trips you’re taking. I used to rely quite heavily on the “MyFlights” app to keep me updated about a lot of my bookings but, since that app stopped having access to the information it needs to operate, I’ve moved over to TripIt Pro.

A lot of people seem to love this app but, although I like some of its features, I’m less enthused than some. Let me explain why.

I woke up one recent morning ready to head off to Heathrow airport to catch a flight to Cyprus. As usual one of the first things I did was to check my emails and there, waiting for me in my inbox, was an alert from TripIt:

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Apparently my flight was delayed by almost 2 hours.

I was staying pretty close to Heathrow so a 2 hour delay meant that I could stay away from the airport for most of the morning and relax in more pleasant surroundings than an airport lounge.

However….

I know better than to believe everything an app tells me so I decided to check the info elsewhere.

Mysteriously, the BA app only showed a slight delay to the arrival time and no delay to the departure time…..

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…and the FlightAware app agreed with BA:

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FlightAware also showed that the aircraft I was due to fly out on had arrived at Heathrow 2 days before…..

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….so there wasn’t an issue with a delayed incoming aircraft.

But TripIt was insisting there was a delay:

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At 9:50am (approximately two hours before the scheduled departure time) TripIt still showed a delay:

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Given the information I had I didn’t have much choice but to head to the airport as if my flight was on time – there was no way of knowing which app was the accurate one (although I suspected that BA and FlightAware were more likely to be correct).

I checked with the BA agents on the check-in desk and in the lounge and they all said that although they could see a late arrival time on their systems there was no indication of a late departure – everything indicated an 11:45 push back.

An hour before the scheduled departure time FlightAware and the BA app still showed an on time departure….

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….while TripIt was sticking to its story that we would be almost 2 hours late:

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At this point I was pretty sure that TripIt was horribly wrong but I thought I’d check to see when it would finally catch up with reality.

At 11am (45 minutes before scheduled departure) the BA App showed that departure had been pushed back by 15 minutes (not exactly drastic)….

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….but it wasn’t until approximately 20 minutes before our scheduled departure time that TripIt finally agreed that we weren’t going to be delayed by 2 hours after all.

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All morning TripIt would have me believe that my flight wasn’t going to depart until around 1:40pm and it wasn’t until approximately 11:25am that the app decided to tell me that my flight would depart at 12pm.

Had I believed TripIt from the start (admittedly a foolish thing to do) I could still have been at my hotel when I found out that my flight was leaving in 35 minutes – I would have missed my flight.

As things transpired we boarded approximately 10 minutes later than scheduled and we pushed back at 12:15 – almost one and a half hours earlier than TripIt was showing for most of the morning.

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Bottom Line

The moral to this story is pretty obvious – never trust what one app tells you…especially if other information appears to contradict it.

I was hugely disappointed with TripIt after this experience and I’m not sure I’m going to be renewing my subscription when my year is up. I use apps to help make my trips run smoother and to keep me up to date with information that isn’t readily available otherwise – this was a big fail from TripIt.

If I can’t trust the information I’m being given then what’s the point of paying for the app?