Flying with the Apple Watch

May 26, 2015

Flying with the Apple Watch

Posted on
February 24, 2021


If I’m driving a car or taking an Uber, once I enter airport grounds, my watch gently starts taps my wrist at long intervals (if I have sound enabled, it’ll tell me as well). The frequency increases as I get closer to the exit for the terminal for my flight. (If I’m driving, I shouldn’t need to glance at my watch, as it can be dangerous. (If I’m just a passenger, I can simply glance at my watch to know which exit to take). If I need to park… well, parking is another problem to solve entirely. I’ll cover that some point in the future.

Alternatively, if I’m taking public transportation (AirTrain, for example) my watch will let the vehicle know some basic information about my flight: time of flight, airport, airline, and terminal. The vehicle will then compare it to the rest of the passengers’ itineraries and create the most efficient route to get everyone to their destinations in time for their flights. Once it’s arrived at the terminal I need to go, it announces my name, and I get off.

I’m now at the airport. I’m already checked in of course. If I have luggage to check in, I simply walk up to the automated counter, scan my boarding pass from the watch, and drop off my luggage. If my bags are overweight, it’ll ask me if I want to pay the extra fee or throw some things out. If I opt to pay, my card on file with the airline is automatically charged after a quick identity check with my watch’s fingerprint and vitals (unique heart rate signature) security.

Getting through security is easy. I’m already pre-screened to not be a security risk, so all I need to do is get my bags and my person scanned by a machine. It takes seconds, and it’s harmless.

My watch tells me which gate to go to, and the directions (although the signs in the terminal also just as helpful. And if I have virtual reality glasses or contact lenses, they just point me towards the way; that’s a story for another day, though).

I pick up some food and tea to munch on while I wait. Once I’m at the gate, and boarding is about to begin, the watch buzzes me when it’s my turn to board.

The boarding order starts with everyone who sits in the back.


I check Citymapper one more time at home as I’m about to leave to confirm that I’m taking the 7 to Woodside 61st St, transferring to LIRR to Jamaica, and then transferring to the AirTrain to JFK. It tells me the next train to Jamaica leaves at 12:45. I’ve got time. It’s 12:10.

I get to Woodside and casually stroll to the board, where it tells me the next train is at 12:25. It’s 12:23. I hurry to the ticket booth, where a kind lady sets up the credit card terminal for once I tell her I’d like a ticket to Jamaica. I swipe my card. She gives me the ticket. I hear a rumbling underneath me. It’s the train to Jamaica. I run down the stairs to Track 4, and get on the train. The doors close behind me.

Once I’m on the AirTrain, I zone out for a bit. The doors open, but there’s no announcer telling me which stop or terminal this is. I get near the doors, look outside, and notice it’s the stop for car rentals. I step back inside and wait. Passbook on my phone told me I need to go to Terminal 5. I don’t know which gate yet; that hasn’t been updated.

Once I get to the terminal, I proceed to security. I’m already checked in. Before I can enter the line for the security line, the lady asks to see my boarding pass. I show her the pass on my watch. She’s pleasantly surprised, and lets me proceed. Before I can enter the actual security line, a man points me towards the line on the right. TSA Pre-Check. Sweet. I get in line and wait for a few minutes. While I’m on line, hands are swabbed and the cartridge is put into a machine to make sure I haven’t handled any dangerous substances.

My turn! I put my phone, earbuds, and keys in my messenger bag, and place it and my duffel bag on the belt for the X-Ray scanner. Someone motions to me to step through the metal detector. All clear. My bags are all clear. I pick them up, and proceed to the nearest flight status TV. I gotta go to Gate 6.

Gotta get some food first though. I’m hungry. Oh look, there’s a Starbucks! I pay for my cold brew coffee with the Starbucks passbook pass on my watch. They write my name down as Shawn.

I go to Gate 6, but the TV shows the wrong flight. I check the flight status TV behind me. My flights been moved to Gate 3. I check my watch — the gate field still says N/A. I check my phone. Ah, there it is. A push notification telling me there was a last minute gate change.

I sit down at the gate, and wait to board. I try to scan my watch to board, but it doesn’t fit in the boarding pass scanner. I step aside, pull out my phone, and my boarding pass Passbook pass is waiting for me on the lock screen. I swipe, and scan the code. I board, and enjoy the flight.

All things considered, that was the best flying experience I’ve had to date.

The future’s almost here.

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