Last month we tested the three must-have travel gadgets to see if they help or hinder business travel. Now, we ask two more IoD members to test out a couple more travel gadgets to see if they are must-have travel companions too
1. Trakdot luggage tracker, £79.99 (pictured above)
Emily Perry, founder and director, Humm Media
Whenever I travel I’m met with the same concern each time – what happens if my luggage gets lost? Even though this has never happened to me in all my years of flying, when I travelled to Fuerteventura recently, I was excited to try out Trakdot.
The device is a lightweight plastic product, which fits into the palm of your hand and is placed inside of your checked-in luggage. It is powered by batteries and uses Bluetooth connections and GSM tower signals to identify where the device is currently located. Notifications are sent via email and text message (depending on how you set up your preferences) and are delivered once the device is located within an airport.
A mobile application is available alongside the device which is simple to use and provides a location map allowing you to pinpoint the location of the device within 30 feet – which, as the website and packaging explains, is ideal for knowing when your luggage will arrive on the carousel.
Setting up the device was relatively straightforward – however, disappointingly the instructions in the booklet failed to match that on the website; which also was not mobile-optimised making registration using a smart device tricky.
When arriving at Fuerteventura I realised that the mobile application would not open without some sort of internet connection – for those who are conscious about roaming charges this becomes an issue. Luckily I had set up preferences for text messaging rather than email, however I had already found my suitcase, loaded it in the taxi and travelled half way to the hotel by the time the message arrived – meaning the device became somewhat redundant.
When returning to the UK I used the device again and was surprised to see the battery life, despite being turned off immediately on arrival at the hotel, had deteriorated significantly. So for those flying long haul, a spare pair of batteries wouldn’t go amiss. Positively, when I arrived back at London Gatwick, delivery of the text message was far quicker.
Sadly I wouldn’t recommend this device in its current guise. It’s a great looking piece of equipment, and should someone using it lose their luggage I can imagine it helps speed up the process of locating slightly, but for me it makes this task more a needle in a haystack rather than a needle in a hayfield. trakdot.com
Emily Perry is a member of IoD London
2. Easy Jet App, Free
Paul Crilly, managing director, Not Just Cleaning Ltd
I am a regular air traveller with weekly commutes from Glasgow to London Luton, regularly experiencing the highs and lows of air travel. I choose easyJet principally because of the amenable logistics, airport location, and flight times and of course, price.
The app contains six principal features, three of which are focussed on bookings: flight booking, hotels and car booking. The other functionality is Flight Tracker providing the ability to track all easyJet flights, albeit the information the tracker contains may be very basic and less than informative in relation to delays. My Bookings is the repository for all bookings made, which also provides the functionality for online check in and Boarding Passes is the collation of all downloaded boarding passes which allows the storage of all current bookings that are ‘open’.
The app is very simple to use and navigate but its simplicity is in itself a weakness, as it is not integrated into airport systems and for instance does not notify of gate information or departure timings. The app information will regularly conflict with airport systems information and on an anecdotal basis, the app tends to have the most accurate information being a sub-division of easyJet’s main flight tracker database. The principal improvement would centre on integration with airport information systems providing gate and departure timescale information.
The attraction of the app relates mainly to the logistical efficiencies it offers, from online check in, local storage of the boarding pass to checking of the relevant flight status. Boarding pass management is the component I appreciate most.
I would recommend the app to others albeit with a health check that the app does not have the functionality of some other business travel software but is in line with other airline apps. easyjet.com
Paul Crilly is a Fellow of the IoD