Sep 132011

Life will soon get tougher for the desi travel agents still struggling to eke out a livelihood.

Google launched its expected flight search tool today, flowing from its acquisition of ITA Software a few months back.

Effective today, when users search for flight information on Google, for example “flights from Philadelphia to Atlanta,” they will see a “Flights” link in the left-hand panel. The link leads to Google’s new flight search feature, and is offered in addition to the flight schedules that have been available since May.

Googlers may also access the flight search feature directly at

Google is promising that its technology combined with ITA’s expertise will provide users with super-fast results.

A post on the Google blog said:

Speed is critical to all the things we love on the web, and travel planning should be no exception. Making changes to dates, destinations, and filters should be as fast as we hope you’ve come to expect from Google.

Flights are chosen primarily based on cost and total travel time, while covering a variety of departure times and airlines. The flight search feature automatically sets the filters to focus on options that are said to be reasonable in both price and duration.

Users adjust the filters to see more flight options.

Google promised selection of flight results was not influenced by any paid relationships. Airlines are said to control how their flights are marketed, so as with other flight search providers, and Google’s booking links point to airline websites only.

Google said it would create additional opportunities for other partners in the travel industry to participate as well. Presumably, these will be ad-based or commission-based.

Currently, Google’s flight search tool includes a limited number of U.S. cities and show results for round-trip economy-class flights only.

International flights are missing from the search results.

When tested the new flight search feature for tickets to Mumbai and Dubai from Philadelphia, an error message popped up:

Sorry, locations outside the U.S. are currently not supported.

Google said it’d add more features over time.

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