updated 06:16 am EST, Tue January 14, 2014
Upgrade for Google Flight Search could be on the way
Google is planning to change the way passengers buy tickets for air travel, according to the head of an airline. Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, claimed in an interview that the airline is working with the search firm, with Google said to be constructing a flight comparison site that sounds like an improved version of the company's existing Flight Search capabilities.
"We'll be sharing the Ryanair pricing through all of the Google outlets, so when you go in, there'll be route selections, cheapest prices, and so on. Google are developing a price-comparison thing themselves," advised O'Leary to the Independent. "They want to launch with us and we're working with them on that kind of product. It'll blow comparison sites like Skyscanner out of the water."
Google Flight Search
While it is unclear if it is a completely new service or an upgrade to Flight Search, O'Leary's comments do suggest that Google are doing things differently to existing flight price comparison sites. "Google will say, 'Here are the fares,' then you click straight through to Ryanair or someone else," claims O'Leary, suggesting that Google will play no part in the flight booking process itself, aside from searching for flights. Unlike other comparison sites, Google is apparently asking to use the flight data without receiving payment from the airline, and though Google will almost certainly receive revenues from advertising, it won't be as part of a marketing deal with the airlines themselves.
Whatever Google is working on, it could be coming out within months. O'Leary said he expects Google's service to go live before the end of March.
Google originally launched its Flight Search in May 2011, following the purchase of ITA in 2010. In March, the service was expanded to cover flights in Europe.