TripIt: Revolutionizing The Way We Travel

It’s early Monday morning and somehow you managed to wake up on time for your 7:00 a.m. flight. You gave yourself two hours to get to the airport, return your rental car, check your bags, go through security, and make it to your gate. However, when you arrive to the airport, the line for security is extremely long and there are no signs that it’s moving. After waiting in line for what seems like forever, you finally make it to your gate only to realize that your plane has left without you. We have all been there.

If only you could have known how long the security lines were before you left home so you could have given yourself extra time. Enter TripIt. According to a spokesperson for the app, “TripIt Pro now monitors security checkpoint lines and lets travelers know how long the wait is for the checkpoints near their gate. To help travelers plan ahead, TripIt will send users an alert three hours before a flight showing them the current wait times—so they know what to expect when they arrive. Travelers can then check the TripIt app for real-time updates.” TripIt will also merge the TSA wait data with commercially available traffic-flow information and airline flight status to advise travelers when to start driving to the airport, based on their GPS location.

A waiting line is when one or more customers are waiting for a service and long waiting lines tend to develop because there is a temporary imbalance between the demand for service and the capacity of the system to provide the service. More often than not the rate of producing the service also varies, depending on customer needs. In the case of airport security, the customer population differs drastically depending on the day of the week, time of day, or the number of flights.

Airport security lines follow the traditional structure of waiting-line problems and there are four common elements to all situations:

  1. An input, or customer population (travelers)
  2. A waiting line of customers (the airport security line)
  3. The service facility consisting of a person or machine necessary to perform the service for the customer (TSA agent)
  4. A priority rule, which selects the next customer to be served by the service facility (the next person in the security line)

According to TripIt’s Director of Product Jen Moyse, over time as the technology matures, security line wait-time data “should be part of your travel plans” especially for business travelers with tight schedules. TripIt will present travelers with the ultimate piece of the puzzle that allows them to waste as little time as possible. “The simple knowledge of how long it will take them to get through security is reducing traveler anxiety and increasing satisfaction for one of the most stressful stages of modern-day travel.”

The app is targeting most of the 30 largest airports in the U.S. which account for almost 85 percent of all annual U.S airline passengers. TripIt is ranked 4.8 out of 5 stars in the app store and is available for subscription for $49 per year.

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7 thoughts on “TripIt: Revolutionizing The Way We Travel

  • February 22, 2018 at 2:05 am
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    Lily,

    Your post is really so relevant because so many of us do travel: to and from school, for vacation, and for study abroad. TSA and traffic is truly unpredictable among airports, times of day, and so many other factors. I am not a traveler that is easily stressed about time, but many of my family and friends are. I think this is a great App for them to help set their travel plans and ease the nerves that come along with travel.

    While reading your post I was reminded of something I always pass in the Denver International Airport. Denver is notorious for long security lines, but that may just be because I am always traveling around Christmas time. At the beginning of security, they have a stand and ambassador for a brand called ‘CLEAR’. This company markets itself as a fast and easy identification and security system. Basically, if you take the additional time to enter yourself into the system once, you can go through security in “under five minutes” every consecutive time. CLEAR has its own TSA security lane, that ironically, never has anybody in it. I wonder if that is due to the company being unsuccessful or the fact that it really is such a quick process, you never see anyone actually waiting in line.

    My favorite part about being at the Denver Airport is watching people interact with this company. First, a traveler will see the daunting length of the line and approach the representative to inquire about how long s(he) deems the normal TSA security line to be. The representative gives a short script on how CLEAR only takes five minutes and will get them past the line in no time. CLEAR markets itself as free for the first 3 months, and then turns into a subscription of around $60(?) per month thereafter. About five minutes later, the traveler realizes they don’t actually want to participate in this system and they are five minutes behind where they could have been in line.

    I always wonder if this system will become more popular among travelers. I think one deterrent is the infrequency that many of us travel. I would personally not want to pay a monthly subscription for something I may use only twice a year. Additionally, CLEAR is not installed in all airports yet, and having a subscription and not being able to use it at an airport would be even more disappointing. It would be interesting to see, however, if a system like this was used more in airports, would it declutter the waiting system, or would it only make it more complex?

    Feel free to read more about CLEAR here: https://www.clearme.com/home

    Thanks for your post!

  • February 21, 2018 at 10:42 pm
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    Lily,

    This app definitely seems useful to busy businessmen and women, families, and students traveling. I am not sure, however, that it will help with efficiency from a business perspective. Although, there is no doubt it is efficient for the consumer. It is possible it could help with efficiency in the way that the lines could be more evenly spread throughout the hours before a flight thanks to the app. Additionally, it could help (and be worth the app cost) if there was a special TSA line sponsored by TripIt, for TripIt users.

  • February 21, 2018 at 5:47 pm
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    Lily,

    I think one of the reasons why waiting in the airport security line is so infuriating is because of the excitement or anticipation of what lies ahead. A lot of people who travel are headed on vacation, and at least for me, I just want to get there. The security line always stands in the way of my future joy. This reminds me a lot of Disney World’s long lines for their popular rides and what the theme park does to combat the issue. Disney takes advantage of their FastPass technology, a free system that allows customers to preselect time slots to enjoy a certain ride with little to no wait. For a family that likes to plan, FastPass can provide the ultimate Disney experience. It uses a two line model that combines one channel with one phase. The FastPass line, however, moves much quicker than the line filled with people who show up unannounced. There are only a certain amount of FastPass tickets available during a given timeslot, so the system operates on a first-come, first-served basis to ensure fairness to all customers. At the moment, TripIt appears to be only an information service. If the company can find a way to get customers through the line faster like FastPass, however, I think the $49 subscription would then be worth the price.

    https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/fast-pass-plus/product-description/

  • February 21, 2018 at 4:26 pm
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    Lily,

    This seems like a great app, which I think that it will be helpful for travelers everywhere. I can see this being useful for business travelers who are waiting in security lines constantly, but also for families. Holidays–like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter–are are times of heavy travel. This creates long lines. By using this app, families will be able to take away one more stress associated with travel and not have to worry about missing their flight due to the security line.

    To me Tripit seems like Waze for the airport. They both have features that tell you when to leave as well as monitoring and approximating a user’s time in the line (or traffic). Waze has been an extremely successful app, which currently has a 10% market share and was bought by Google for $1 billion in 2013. Tripit is also similar because it is the first of its kind and is giving consumers something they really need.

    The only issue that I have with Tripit is the $49/year subscription. I fear people might be unwilling to pay such a high price for an app–especially when its counterparts, like Waze, are free. Furthermore, if travelers are using Tripit mostly to reduce their time in the security line they can sign up for TSA pre-check for $85 for 5 years. This is $13 less that two years of Tripit.

    Sources:
    https://www.tsa.gov/precheck
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/personal/2015/10/25/waze-remains-top-navigation-app-big-update/74340960/

    • February 21, 2018 at 5:43 pm
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      Caroline,

      I think your comparison of Tripit to Waze is very interesting. I was also reminded of Waze when reading Lily’s post about Tripit. Tripit and Waze both ensure that no time is wasted during each respective processes, those being catching your flight and getting from destination A to destination B. I agree that the cost of Tripit may deter many prospective users because they are most likely familiar with Waze and its free services. I think it is very insightful that you compared the costs of Tripit to that of TSA pre-check services. I agree that the price of this app is not worth the added expense and it is a shame that such a unique and useful idea may not be widely used solely because of price.

  • February 21, 2018 at 12:23 pm
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    Lily,

    For all of us that have studied abroad, I am sure we can all agree that we not only traveled a lot but also hated airport security. That being said, I wish I knew about this awesome app when I was traveling around Europe every weekend just a couple months ago. Being someone who is often late, I struggled with some airports and being that type of person also resulted in a costly missed flight to Munich for Oktoberfest in which I had to purchase another flight. If I had an awesome app like this, I am positive that would not have happened. After seeing this blog post, I have researched alternative apps to use and I have found a few that do similar things. It is interesting to see how each app varies so I have a link at the bottom of this from Today, in case anyone would like to compare apps to see which one is fitting for them. It is interesting to see how different companies attack the difficult process of airport security

    link: https://www.today.com/money/3-free-apps-aim-help-you-past-long-tsa-lines-t96141

  • February 20, 2018 at 10:44 pm
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    Lily,

    I think you hit it on the head with airport security. It is always stressful to worry if the TSA line will be long or short. Because of this, people are required to assume the worst and get there nearly two hours early just to ensure that they make their flight on time. Personally, I am always at least two hours early. However, I get frustrated when I have to sit at the gate for an hour and a half if the TSA line is not as long as I anticipated. I feel like the time that I’m just sitting there could have been put to better use. Therefore, needless to say, I love the idea of the “TripIt” app. Having the ability to know the estimated wait time would be huge in the world of business as the schedules of business men and women are generally packed with meetings and other events. I think the app could add another aspect to it that would really help its users. Most airports have different TSA lines throughout the gate. I feel like it would be helpful to know which lines are the shortest so you can get through faster. This will also even out the lines throughout the airport, helping the TSA workers be more efficient. Either way, if the app wasn’t 49 dollars a year, it would be a definite download for me.

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