Pana’s travel companion app goes free, can automatically check you into flights

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Pana, a travel companion that organizes your plans and sends personalized trip alerts, is now making its app free to challenge rivals like TripIt, Google Trips and others. First launched two years ago, Pana had previously focused on its paid subscription service for individuals and companies needing a 24/7 travel concierge — a move that may have limited its potential market. The free app (ver. 3.0), launched this week, brings a wide set of Pana’s features to those who may not be frequent fliers in need of Pana’s more hands-on service.

The result is a useful travel companion that can help you plan, organize and access your trip information, even when you’re offline.

Explains Pana CEO Devon Tivona, the app had originally started as a side project, but the team soon saw the opportunity to take on the existing itinerary apps by offering a more modern, free alternative.

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To get started, you connect your email inbox to Pana — just as you could with an app like TripIt. You can also just choose to forward your plans as they arrive, as an alternative.

Pana can then automatically start piecing together your trip by organizing all your bookings, including your flights, hotels, restaurant reservations, car rentals, activities, conferences and other events. These are placed into a live itinerary for each trip.

From the app, you can view your itinerary, as well as collaborate on the trip with family, friends and coworkers, if need be. Pana allows everyone’s travel plans to be combined, giving you a better view of the trip as a whole, instead of only your part.

Plus, this trip data can be viewed offline — helpful, of course, when flying, or traveling to places where internet and cellular connections are not reliable.

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As you’re traveling, Pana will continue to notify you with current information about your trip. If the gate changes or the flight is delayed, for example, you’ll receive a notification.

Plus, the app can automatically check you into your flight — a feature not all travel apps and trip trackers offer. Many simply remind you to check in, but don’t do it for you, leaving you to hurry your way through screens so as not to get stuck in boarding group 5.

As with other travel apps, you also can share your itinerary with others, and they can choose to receive alerts when the plans change.

Not everyone travels enough to require a concierge service, which is why it makes sense for Pana to introduce a free application. Though not as robust as what Pana’s paying users receive, the free app’s feature set is very competitive, and addresses earlier consumer complaints about Pana’s too expensive subscription plans.

Pana, however, will continue to generate revenue through its paid subscriptions. Its site lists a $49 per month program for frequent fliers, which includes a booking concierge, personal assistant and more. Custom pricing for businesses is also available.

The startup is backed by $2.5 million from Techstars Ventures, 500 Startups, FG Angels, The MergeLane fund and The Galvanize Fund, among others.

The app is a free download on iTunes. 

 

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