Mobile phones may be verboten once the cabin door shuts, but nothing will stop citizen journalist travelers from reporting the conditions at airports in the U.S. with new moblogging tools.I am sure everyone who travels has a horror story or two to share. I fly about once per month, most often for business. Fully 50% of my flights are delayed by at least 15 minutes. Last week, my flight to London pushed back an hour late and my return flight landed about 15 minutes late. Often weather or other conditions out of the airport or airline's control are to blame. Whatever the cause, delays are delays and late is late. An hour or two may not be the biggest deal (unless you have a tight connecting flight), but delays of several hours or more can really snarl schedules.
We may not be able to do anything about delayed flights, but Orbitz has decided to put some power in the hands of the people. With its beta Traveler Update site, not only can travelers post information on airport conditions, but they can also access real-time airport information before arriving. The site will work best for registered Orbitz users, but anyone can post or retrieve information. One cool aspect is that registered users' information can be rated for quality and Orbtiz plans to build an incentive program into the site to award the best contributors.
Of the content available users can find FAA airport and flight status; 30-day average security line wait times; in-airport Wi-Fi availability; and real-time user-generated travel conditions for security lines, traffic, taxi wait lines, and check-in lines.
I took the site for a quick spin on my phone. Most of the information was up-to-date. There were some excellent graphs detailing security line wait times. It even posted traffic conditions around the airport so you can make sure to avoid sitting in your car too long.
All good stuff to know ahead of time, especially for the mobile professional on a tight schedule.