Price: Free (Previously $1.99)
Version Reviewed: 1.4
Device Reviewed On: iPod Touch
iPhone Integration Rating:
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You may have seen me before in an airport terminal - I'm the guy lugging around the heavy backpack, squinting at food menus in an attempt to find something palatable to eat before my flight leaves me behind. You may see me twice, having reversed directions after finding nothing but grease huts down the first leg of my journey. You pity me just a little as Mr. Infrequent Travel Man, since it is obvious I have no idea what I'm doing.
Enter GateGuru to save my life (well, my arteries anyway). This travel app offers a user-review system much like ballyhooed Yelp, but with a new twist - it only covers amenities within airports! Considering that the other apps that GateGuru compares to typically stop outside the airport, GateGuru fills a much-needed niche in the travel world.
With a very Unix-like attitude of "Do one thing and do it very well," GateGuru shines in giving you the information that you so desperately need when stuck in an airport. Using geolocation (or by selecting from a long list of airport abbreviations), the app breaks down your chosen airport by concourse, but you can also view reviews from the entire airport.
Once the reviews are displayed, you can sort them by the categories Food, Shop, and Services. The initial listing of reviews shows the name of the shop, its type, where it's located, and the average user rating depicted with stars. To get more info you can tap the name of the business, which allows you to read all of the user reviews that have been submitted, as well as write your own review, add the business as a bookmark for later reference, or update the amenity with new data of your own. If a business or service is not referenced in the app, you can add it yourself. I don't see this being necessary at this point, however; GateGuru users have cataloged everything from ATM kiosks to shoeshine stations! If you're socially-minded, you can even connect with a Twitter of Facebook account to share your picks with friends.
My only gripe with the interface (beyond minor waits for data to download from GateGuru's website) is not being able to sort amenities by star rating. I can see myself wanting to step off a plane, quickly sort by star rating, and then choose the best-reviewed restaurant to suit my tastes, but the option is currently not available. Some users may also be put off by the fact that the app currently only covers the United States, so globetrotters are currently out of luck until Mobility Apps releases an update with the feature (which they've promised). Lastly, you are required to create an account with GateGuru in order to use it, but registration is done within the app itself, is fairly painless, and won't bug you again once you've completed the simple steps.
Given that the once-paid app is now free, GateGuru is an excellent addition to the repertoire of travel apps to keep on you at all times. Once they add international airports, you'll be hard-pressed to go without an excellent dinner (or a quick souvenir) as you scurry between flights.