We Tried The Air Travel Companion App FLIO - And Failed To Land

Going to an airport means the beginning, or the ending, of an epic adventure. Airports can feel like a lawless land, where one person might be sipping a glass of red wine at 7 a.m. next to someone eating a $25 hotdog for breakfast in sweatpants. However, not all airports are created equally, and some just simply have more to offer than others. It can be a mixed bag when traveling in or out of a new destination; will there be a lounge for those of us who wouldn't dare travel without a lounge pass? Will there be a spot to grab coffee? Will there be working WiFi?

To better assess our travels from Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados (BGI) to John F. Kennedy in New York City (JFK), we tried out the app FLIO. FLIO was created to give travelers such as myself a better chance to prep for unknown airports. The app alleges to provide a detailed guide of where to eat, where to shop, where to find an ATM, and general flight information, including terminal departures and flight duration. FLIO even provides a currency calculator should you be in a destination with a currency other than your own. The app is considered to be a one-stop shop for airport guidance, but does it live up to its name? We tested it out to find out.

Navigating the airport using FLIO

First, we signed up for a FLIO account, which was free. We were asked to add a payment method, but were able to skip this step. Once in, we found our JetBlue flight from Barbados (BGI) to New York City (JFK) using their search tool. FLIO stated the flight was over six hours long, despite JetBlue calculating the flight at around five total hours. There's no time difference between NYC and Barbados, which could've possibly explained the inaccuracy.

We checked out the dining options at BGI by clicking the "See All" under the Restaurant section. It was exciting to learn there was a Chefette in the airport, which is Barbados' national fast-food chain, but we didn't see any lounge options. To be sure, we went onto the Priority Pass app to discover that there were indeed lounge options. Later, we found a section on FLIO called "Other," and lounge options were listed there. This took a lot of digging around, when simply going on another app generated quicker results. We also saw a restaurant called New York Pizza at BGI that was not on FLIO.

Could FLIO be useful for the airport you're flying into instead?

While FLIO wasn't exactly impressive by this point, we wondered if it could perhaps be useful for the airport you're flying into as opposed to the one you're leaving. While we did not need to take any cash out, we clicked on the ATM option, as heading to an ATM is a common first step once arriving at a new destination. We assumed clicking on the ATM option would provide information as to where the ATM in the airport was. Instead, a screen popped up saying "Only BBD currency is dispensed. The ATMs take Mastercard, Visa, Discover, and American Express." While some of this information could potentially be helpful upon landing, the app did not provide any information on where the ATM was located.

We also saw a "Map" option, so we clicked on it, hoping maybe that would provide information as to where the ATM was. Instead, it led to a Google Map of the airport, which is something we could have done on our own. We clicked on "BGI Explore" (BGI representing the airport code) and saw an option of transporting "To & From Airport." While we didn't personally need this service, this is another option that could potentially be useful for arriving to an unfamiliar destination. By clicking this, we were brought to a page that said "Page not found" on a webpage for Gaia Barbados.

Room for improvement

By this point, we had lost any redeeming hope with FLIO. The time it took to try to navigate the app would have been better used by just simply seeking the information on our own.

FLIO is a great idea on paper, but it is poorly executed. An app like this would especially be helpful in situations like having a long layover in an unfamiliar airport, where we can personally attest that we've spent time wandering around looking for what to do, see, or eat. One of the most surprising factors was that there is not a specific section on the app for being able to access the lounges available, since airport lounges are a well-known point of interest for many travelers.

As frequent travelers, we love the idea of an app that lays out all of our airport options. Unfortunately, however, FLIO missed the mark in more ways than one, and we can't say we would use it again.