VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Google Flight Search is an online flight comparison search engine.
Our Editor’s ReviewIf there is anything that I’ve learned during my years of writing reviews for TravelSiteCritic.com, it is that it’s typically less expensive (and less of a headache if you ever need to cancel) to book flights directly with the airline (Delta, AA, ect). By this I mean that I avoid booking flights on online travel agencies (Expedia, Orbitz, ect). I might use travel agency websites to search however, and I even wrote a short piece about how I find cheap flights over here. Why am I telling you this before I review Google Flight Search? I am, because Google Flight Search is a tool to find flights to book directly with the airline, skipping the middle man. Google Flight Search is not a travel agency and doesn’t book flights, it simply acts as a search engine, which I believe they have proved to be good at (duh!). At this point, Google Flight Search is “testing” the inclusion of online travel agencies in their results, but I don’t understand why. Oops, I know I just angered someone. But, lets face it, travel agencies often add in additional booking fees and/or cancellation fees and rarely have the best prices on flights (different story when booking vacation packages or hotels, but I digress). Sure, there are plenty of reasons to use online travel agencies, but good agencies can be hard to find, so do some research first. My question is, are the flight prices found by Google Flight Search any cheaper than those found on competitor flight search engines such as Kayak.com or FareCompare.com? At first glance, I really like how Google Flight Search integrates seamlessly within the Google.com search engine. I simply typed “Flight to New York” into Google.com and it pulled up a list of itineraries, airlines and prices right there on the results screen. I did get a bit confused with the design, and it actually took me a sec to figure out that I needed to select a “return flight” before it would show me a “Book” link. This is where I noticed a giant FAIL. The link took me to the airline’s website, but it did not take me to the exact flight that I wanted to book, leaving me with the task of re-searching for the exact same flight on the airline’s website. Would it even still be listed for that price? Hmmm, nope! Or, perhaps I couldn’t even find the same itinerary (*giant confusion*). This is exasperated by the fact that many times the Google Flight results pulled up a flight with no “Book” link to the airline. Instead I got the message, “No Booking Links Available, Contact the Airline Directly“. How utterly convenient! Where Google Flight Search primarily fails is by excluding small airlines, who often have the cheapest flights. Take Allegiant Airlines, for instance. This small airline has specializes in non-stop discount flights from small cities to popular destinations in the continental U.S., and I ALWAYS fly Allegiant when I’m traveling to Vegas. When I searched for flights to Vegas, Google Flight Search did not include Allegiant flights to Las Vegas and only included flights on major airlines such as Delta for over $600 (ouch!), and those were not even non-stop flights. Perhaps Google will expand the list of airlines that they work with, but at this point it is far too limited for me to trust all of my airfare searches to it. I still run back to FareCompare or Airfare Watchdog (which includes flights on Allegiant) to find the best airfare prices. The bottom line, booking flights should not be this difficult. Google is taking a giant leap into the flight search world, without thinking through the entire user experience. Time will tell whether they improve or if this becomes another sinking ship of theirs. Ever heard of Google Wave? Agree with me, or not? Leave your reviews and comments below!
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Google Flight Search Reviews | Google.com/Flights,