The Cortana voice assistant is going a few steps further to ensure your next round of air travel goes as smoothly as possible.
In a blog post Monday, Microsoft described several new ways that Cortana can help with almost every phase of your trip, from checking your flight-related emails to monitoring traffic on the way to the airport to figuring out how much you're spending if you travel abroad. The latest improvements come courtesy of an update to the software.
Microsoft has grand ambitions for Cortana. Currently available only on Windows Phone 8.1, the voice assistant will expand to all Windows 10 devices -- PCs, tablets and phones -- in July. It will also debut for Android phones in June and iOS devices later this year. As such, it will truly go toe to toe with Android's Google Now and Apple's Siri.
One of Cortana's strong suits has always been its ability to remind you of calendar appointments and other events without you needing to tell it. Now, thewill offer a similar feature. So Microsoft must continue to innovate with Cortana if it wants the voice assistant to outshine the competition.
Cortana has always been able to keep track of your flights. But now if a flight-related email hits your inbox, Cortana will ask if you need help tracking the trip. Answer yes, and Cortana starts to document the trip in the Notebook, a small window that keeps you abreast of developments on a specific item. For example, the Notebook will keep tabs on your itinerary and other trip-related activity so you don't have to scour your email looking for specific information.
You can also now access your travel plans by making requests of Cortana, such as "Show me my flights." You can get more specific with a question such as "Show me my flights to New York in August." In return, Cortana calls up all the details available on the flight in question.
On the day before the flight, Cortana tells you when online check-in starts and links you to the airline's check-in page. Cortana also will deliver the latest weather reports for your destination. The day your flight is scheduled to take off, Cortana monitors traffic conditions to the airport. Once at the airport, Cortana shows you a map of the venue so you know where to drop off your bags and take care of other pre-flight tasks.
If your destination is a foreign country, Cortana taps into a currency converter so you know how much things cost and how much you're spending.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.