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Google Flights …. slowly becoming interesting

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A few years ago, Google bought ITA.  ITA is the most comprehensive airline pricing and routing database available, able to run substantially more complex searches across multiple dates, routes and airlines than, say, ExpediaI explained how to use ITA Matrix to find cheap British Airways tickets from European starting points here.

It wasn’t clear what else Google was going to do with ITA until Google Flights appeared two years ago.  At that point, it was a relatively unsophisticated flight search engine.  It did nothing that Expedia didn’t do apart and forced you to go onto the airlines own site to complete your purchase.

Slowly, Google Flights is becoming interesting.

Google Flights

If you visit the Google Flights search page here you will see that it now does something clever.  On one page, it shows you flight prices across a range of dates TO A RANGE OF CITIES.  Nobody else does this.

If you want a weekend away at the end of next month to Germany, for example, you can search ‘London’ to ‘Germany’.  You will be shown, on one page, results to a range of airports across a two month period.

My gut feeling is that this is most useful when looking to travel to somewhere with a number of major airports in a compact area.  If you wanted to travel to Florida, for example, this tool makes it very easy to quickly compare prices to Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale etc.

None of this is setting the world alight so far although the technology involved is undeniably impressive.  If I were Expedia, though, I would be getting a little concerned about what Google will do next – the killer app may be just around the corner.

Comments (20)

  • Mark B says:

    Skyscanner also offers this search facility

  • Frenske says:

    Has Skyscanner.net not be doing this for a couple of years? It is particularly useful for planning holidays.

  • Mark B says:

    Without the range of dates I should add

  • Paul says:

    Sounds good and will have a look today. Does sound like they are making Mateix functionality accessible as searching in this manner has been available fon matrix since I can remember. You either enter every airport or tick the nearby box.
    To really be a killer app it needs to be able to book, either directly or via airlines own site.

  • John Brew says:

    SkyPicker does a similar job

  • Billy says:

    Skyscanner allows you to search from any UK airport to “Everywhere” over a 12 month period.

    Although it is stronger for Europe.

  • JK says:

    Another vote for Skyscanner – it is VERY good at this and you can find some cheap fares this way. eg: in July we were travelling around Europe, got to Milan and then every flight to obvious cities was expensive. Skyscanner showed a very cheap flight to Vienna on Meridiana (codeshare on Nikki) on a Sunday night, so it was perfect. The functionality is very very useful.

    • Alan says:

      Agreed, another vote for Edinburgh-based Skyscanner here 🙂 Glad Google are catching up 😉

  • Erico1875 says:

    I hate to say it, because I love Skyscanner, (and because its an Edinburgh company )but this from Google is pretty impressive and fast.

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