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Essential smartphone, tablet apps for frequent flyers

Whether you prefer Android or iOS, these apps will prove useful when you take your next flight.

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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Skyscanner

Before taking off on your next trip, it's worth checking out different deals to make sure you're making the most of your money -- and to find out whether more convenient flights are out there. One of the most efficient apps out there is Skyscanner, which scans hundreds of airline booking systems to find deals, times, different dates and connection choices for fliers.

The app is especially handy for last-minute flights as you can book emergency flights from the app, which links you to airlines and travel agents directly.

Price: $Free

Operating system: Android | iOS

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2 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Kayak

If you also need to book a hotel or rent a car, Kayak adds this functionality to flight searches. The app also includes an itinerary section to keep your next trip organized, and issues alerts if your flight times or dates change.

Price: $Free

Operating system: Android | iOS

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3 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Seat Alerts

If you're a frequent flier, you are likely to have a preference on where you sit -- especially when it comes to the less-than-popular middle seat. Before booking your next trip, consider using Seat Alerts to check the seat map of a flight and (hopefully) grab the one you want. If it's a late booking, you can set up the app to give you an alert if a certain kind of seat -- such as window or aisle -- becomes available.

Price: $Free | In-app purchases

Operating system: Android | iOS

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4 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

LoungeBuddy

You'd be forgiven for thinking access to airport lounges has to be expensive or is only for those who regularly enjoy exclusive services. The LoungeBuddy app dispels this myth by taking the confusion out of finding and booking lounges -- and often not for as much as you'd think.

To use the app effectively, you input your travel plans, memberships and card details, and the app will tell you which lounges you can access either for free or for a fee. In addition, you can see if it's simply worth it, thanks to user reviews, ratings and photos.

Price: $Free

Operating system: Android | iOS

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5 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Tripadvisor

Frequent fliers often need to do some research on their next destination, and if they are flying out for work commitments, may have a short window to visit local areas of interest and tourist spots.

I rely on Tripadvisor to find interesting places to visit when there is an afternoon or evening free, and this app is useful as it contains visitor reviews, photos and tips for destinations worldwide. You can also find flight and hotel deals, restaurant recommendations, ask questions about an area and download useful maps.

Price: $Free

Operating system: Android | iOS

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6 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

AwardWallet

If you fly frequently, it can be difficult to keep track of what points you have earned and where you have clocked up enough milage for deals and discounts. You can use AwardWallet to keep track of everything, including loyalty programs, air miles and reward schemes.

Price: $Free | In-app purchases

Operating system: Android | iOS

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7 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Kindle

Before I fly, I consult a to-do list -- buy travel essentials, save my bookings to my phone and get my suit cleaned. However, I also update my Kindle with a selection of fresh books so I don't ever not have anything to keep me occupied while flying.

If you have an Amazon account, you can download the Kindle app on your mobile device to save and keep ebooks without the need to own a Kindle e-reader itself. Amazon offers millions of books which are both royalty-free and for purchase, and you can find a number of self-published indie authors too.

Price: $Free

Operating system: Android | iOS

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8 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Spotify

To drown out the noise created by other passengers, music is often a must when it comes to making a flight more comfortable. There's a range of subscription and free music streaming services available to mobile device users, but Spotify is one of the most well-known.

You can try this service for free (ad-supported) in order to find new music, listen to your favorite artists and create playlists for different moods -- or tap into the app's ready-made selections. If you go for Spotify Premium, you can enjoy ad-free music.

Price: $Free (subscription offered)

Operating system: Android | iOS

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9 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

TED

A go-to app for keeping yourself occupied on flights has been offered by Technology, Education and Design (TED) -- a collection of speakers across the world on subjects ranging from modern politics to design, ethics to technology. You can stream talks online, or alternatively you can download them to watch while in the air.

Price: $Free

Operating system: Android | iOS

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