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How To Travel With Only a Smartphone

It’s been 2 years since I’ve gone anywhere on an airplane. I wanted to find out what the current state of tech was when traveling by only using a smartphone, without a laptop or computer.

First, I downloaded the Southwest Airlines app to make my reservations for my WSOP Vegas trip (left image). Next, the day before the trip, I checked in using the app and got a link to my boarding pass (middle image). You can save the boarding pass image on your phone so that you can show it even if your internet connection is not available.

On a side note, my Google Now knew from my Gmail email (I assume) when my trip was and alerted me to when I needed to leave my home to get to the airport on time (right image). Is it just me or is this getting creepy?


By the way, on Southwest, if you pay the business rate, apparently you automatically get the “TSA Pre” boarding pass. This means that you can skip the long line and go to the short line (or no line) and you don’t have to take off your shoes or jacket or take out your laptop from your bag. I’m not sure how this works out. I guess the TSA figures that terrorists don’t have enough money to pay for business class. WTF?

Anyway, once you’re on the flight, Southwest offers a inflight WiFi for $2 (left image below). I didn’t try it out but as you can see from the middle image below, the speed according to my phone was 144Mbps! Wow. I wish I got speeds like this on my home WiFi.

Everything was going very smoothly on my experiment to use only my smartphone, right up to when I wanted to change my return ticket. The app would crash (right image below) and would not let me change my reservations no matter what trick I tried to use. Eventually, I gave up and called Southwest and talked to a live person. Yes, you can do that too.


All in all, it has gotten to a point where you can do everything (almost) with just your smartphone, no longer requiring me to bring my laptop or even tablet. 15 years go, it would have been very difficult if not impossible. It’s not only amazing, but I can’t wait to see what happens in the next 15 years.

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