Holiday travel, with the sheer volume of travelers and the potential for bad weather, seldom goes according to plan. If you are a frequent or even occasional air traveler, then you likely have an app or two on your phone that keep you apprised of your flight status. But I doubt you have an app that can answer the following questions:
"How do I get from Terminal A to Terminal B?"
"What are my ground transportation options?"
"Do I buy a soda and a soggy slice of Sbarro now, or can I get a beer and burger beyond security?"
"Does this airport have free Wi-Fi?"
"Can I get to the nearest play area before I begin speaking to my children in public in a tone I would prefer the public not hear?"
To get the lay of the land for an airport you may be passing through or stuck in this holiday season, make sure you have access to TravelNerd's Airport Guide. It's both a free and universal iOS app and a Web app.
I used the app on my iPhone, and before I jump into what the app does, let me clear up a source of potential confusion. The app is listed as Airport Guide in iTunes, but it shows up on your phone as TravelNerd. (The developer is NerdWallet.)
The app provides maps of the more popular airports, including international destinations. I was disappointed to find that my nearest airport in Manchester, N.H., is listed as "coming soon." It's a tiny airport, however, and easily navigated without aid. Thankfully, the more troublesome Logan Airport in Boston is included. Not only does the app provide a map of the airport and each of its terminals -- complete with a legend -- but it also features information from ground transportation and parking to restaurants and shopping to amenities such as free Wi-Fi.
You can tap to view a map in full screen and then you can pinch to zoom. The lists of restaurants and shopping are particularly useful because you can search by terminal or alphabetically, and though each eatery and shop isn't listed on the app's terminal maps, the app does tell you which gate an established is nearest to and its hours of operation.
In poking around the app this afternoon, I also discovered that the app provides travel updates. I was looking at the SFO terminal map and a notification popped up on the bottom of the screen, alerting me to a general delay due to low ceilings.
Before heading home for the holidays, I would advise you to have Airport Guide at the ready for the inevitable layover that lasts longer than expected.