Late Tuesday morning, Google announced the addition of their newest search feature, Google Flight Search. Although the search giant began incorporating flight schedules into search results in May, Google has not included pricing information or booking links until now. Flight Search, which is based on ITA data, allows Google searchers to easily see flights, compare prices, and book tickets directly with the airline of their choice.
Google users can either visit Google Flight Search directly or type a flight related search query, such as “flight from NYC to LAS” into Google.com, which will produce a “Flights” tab on the left side of the search results page. After clicking this link, a flights results page is displayed.
The flights result page allows travelers to quickly analyze available flights, check prices, and visit booking sites from one central location. The search filters can eliminate all of the flights except those that are competitively priced and have reasonable travel durations. For example, one can quickly narrow the possible flights to those costing less than $400 and involving five or fewer hours total travel time. In addition, the calendar icon allows users to quickly find travel dates with the best price.
Because Google Flight Search is in its infancy, the current launch does have certain limitations. For example, Flight Search does not allow travelers to book flights to international destinations, trips to small cities, or premium cabin tickets. In addition, it is still unclear how Google’s database of flights compares to the databases of competing companies.
Kayak, a competitor who fought Google’s recent acquisition of ITA, said:
“We believe our flight search technology is superior. We recognize Google is a formidable competitor, but they haven’t been successful in every (niche) they’ve entered.”
Both Google and Kayak have proven to be companies capable of producing a solid product. A Google quote best sums up its most recent service launch: “This is just an early look: the takeoff — not the final destination.” In spite of the limitations of Google Flight Search, the existing features and potential of this new service are exciting and command the attention of Internet-savvy travelers and market competitors.