Flight alerts via text? Pshaw. In the not-so-distant future, your phone (or watch) will be the Swiss Army tool that eases your way from the departures curb through customs when you land.
Never Miss a Flight Again: One reason to get an Apple Watch: New apps from airlines (American, British Airways) will give you a buzz when it’s time to leave for the airport, then alert you to delays or gate changes. Once in the air your watch will track flight time and update connection and baggage info.
Follow Your Bags: If you’re a frequent flyer on KLM, starting this August, you can get an Eviate eTag that will allow you to track your luggage via smartphone. It’ll even send an alert if the bag is opened. Airports such as London Gatwick will have DIY bag drops where you can just tag and go.
Avoid the Airport Wander: Airports from Helsinki to Miami have added tiny iBeacons that can give directions to your connecting gate, alert you when you pass a power outlet, or ping your phone with personalized deals (say, a discount on your favorite duty-free booze).
Bypass the Customs Snarl: In lieu of filling out a landing card in some cities, you can file your U.S. Customs details in the new Mobile Passport App—and skip to an express line. Soon, you may be able to bypass immigration officers entirely: Melbourne Airport and others are testing biometric gates to screen travelers.
Leave Your Wallet Alone: In February, JetBlue became the first U.S. airline to accept Apple Pay, meaning anyone with an iPhone 6 can pay for drinks, food, movies, and even seat upgrades with a wave of their phone. Next up: United Airlines.