Five must-have Apple Watch apps for the business traveller

By Chris C., April 20 2015
Five must-have Apple Watch apps for the business traveller

The Apple Watch makes its much-heralded debut this Friday, and the avalanche of pre-orders – estimated at over two million, with quite a few AusBT readers among them – tells us that many people will soon be toting this high-tech wristwear.

It's expected that well over 1,000 specialised apps will accompany the gadget's global launch. Here's our quick sweep of some Watch apps which should make life easier for the business traveller.

1. Qantas: board via your wrist

Currently the only Australian airline to announce an Apple Watch app, Qantas passengers will be able to flash their wrist to board their flight after receiving an alert when it’s time to leave the lounge.

You’ll also be clued-in to gate changes, your arrival time, which carousel your bags will arrive on and which lounge you can visit before the journey.

Air New Zealand has rolled a clever twist into its Apple Watch app. Similar to the airline's current smartphone app, frequent flyers and business class customers will be able to order their favourite coffee when entering the airline’s Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington lounges.

Other airline Apple Watch apps to consider include those of Qantas partners American Airlines, British Airways, Emirates and Iberia, plus Air Canada, Air France, Delta, EasyJet and Lufthansa.

Also read: Qantas unveils Apple Watch app

2. Uber: hail your ride

Uber is the perfect app for the Apple Watch as it’s one that’s generally opened briefly, but frequently.

Rather than doing the ‘unlock, check app, lock’ dance several times as you beckon your ride, just order your car directly through the Watch app, track its arrival and scroll down to see your driver’s details.

And if you want to switch between Uber Black and UberX and taxis, just tap the top left corner.

Also read: Get free $10 taxi, limo-drive credit with Uber

3. Starwood Preferred Guest: keyless entry

Just as your Apple Watch can be used to order a car to the airport and board your flight, you’ll also be able to check-in to your Starwood hotel electronically and use it as your hotel room key.

This again avoids fumbling around in your pocket or wallet for a traditional keycard and allows you to skip the queues at the hotel on arrival and departure – particularly useful at peak times when it can sometimes seem that the entire hotel is coming or going.

SPG members can already use their mobile phone as a room key at a selection of W hotels, with every hotel in the chain – along with all Aloft and Element properties – to support the technology by the end of the year.

Also read: Starwood kicks off mobile phone hotel room keys

4. Citymapper: explore your destination

Nothing shouts “Tourist!” more than a printed map and a confused face as you look in every direction to find your bearings.

Citymapper takes that map and condenses it onto your watch in cities such as London, New York, Paris and Los Angeles, so just follow your watch as you wander about.

Where available, it also integrates with the local public transport timetable, showing you how to reach the station, which train to catch, how long you’ll wait for the next departure and where to hop off, before again guiding you to your final destination.

5. RunKeeper: hit the road

Heading out for a morning jog on your next business trip? It's a great way to explore any city and pick up some local vibe.

And among a legion of smartphone fitness apps, RunKeeper is the first choice for casual joggers and ultra-marathon contenders alike. 

So it's no surprise that this top-selling smartphone app is set to sprint onto your wrist as soon as the Apple Watch launches.

RunKeeper says its Watch app will put all the basic functions of managing, timing and sharing your run just one tap away.

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 737

The maps one is genuinely useful. A definite (though not collossal) improvement over walking around with your phone out. 

The running one is good for people who like that sort of thing. (Note to all my friends: no, you don't have to share your runs and bike rides on facebook, I really don't care.)

Keyless entry appears to replace "fumbling around in your pocket for a keycard" with "twiddling around on your watch to load up a specific app". 

Uber: I think this is easier on the phone. 

Qantas and other airline apps: also seems like a bunch of downloading and twiddling to achieve very little. How fabulous, I can order a coffee as soon as I enter the lounge, instead of having to walk twenty paces and talk to a human being!

NZ Elite

03 Jul 2014

Total posts 110

The benefit of the Air NZ coffee app isn't so much not having to go up and order it; it's that you receive a notification when it's ready to collect. Which is brilliant on a weekday morning when the AKL/WLG/CHC lounges can be very busy.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Dec 2012

Total posts 10



14 Jun 2013

Total posts 353

I think we're going to see some apps which are perfect for the watch, apps that are designed around Apple's concept of "glances" to get information, and others which try too hard to replicate an iPhone app on this tiny screen. The market will quickly sort out the iWatch wheat from the chaff!

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 214

My fingers don't like the iPhone so this would be useless to me.

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