Google Flights assists internet users in the search for airfare. The application presents the user with an embedded map and a list of filter options. Four boxes allow the user to set a depart and return date as well as desired price and duration. Two boxes at the top of the page allow the user to select their from and to destinations. After entering the location data, the user will have access to various filters along the left hand side of the page. These allow the user to choose the number of stops, connections, outbound time, return time and airline company filters to refine their search results. The results appear in columns below the map and show the user takeoff and arrive times, total duration, location and the number of tickets available as well as the current price.
Google Flights was created after Google acquired ITA Software. The application is Google’s version of the many other travel themed websites that offer a similar service. The current version was surprisingly lackluster to some users. It did not offer the many features and destination options that some were expecting to be included based on the company’s vast resources. The current version does not cover some smaller city locations. It is also limited to round trip journeys within the United States.
The basic service offered by Google Flights is very similar to other travel themed websites. However the main thing that makes the application different is its severe lack of options and destinations. While maintaining a large coverage area geographically is often the goal of many major travel websites, Google keeps its airfare options within the United States. The application feels as though it is only half complete, with no option for one way flights. This may change in the future, but for now these shortcomings make Google Flights a better secondary resource when browsing for airfare.
Google Flights has adopted a look similar to every other Google application out there. The familiar white background is highlighted by the colorful site logo and hints of blue and red throughout. Unfortunately this time around, the simple layout and design only highlights the fact that Google Flights does not live up to its competitors. Users can find all the search options presented right on the homepage, keeping everything organized and user friendly (despite the application’s obvious problem areas).
A new visitor is not required to create an account to start searching for airfare using Google Flights. Users can log in to their Google accounts if they prefer to do so. Those who would like to create an account can begin by clicking the white “Sign In” link in the upper, right hand corner of the page. The blue “Sign up for a new Google Account” link in the same corner on the next page takes the user to the registration form. The form asks for a current email address, password, location, date of birth and word verification.
Google Flights is free to use. All visitors can browse flights within the United States as often as they like for free. Of course the user will have to pay the rate and all applicable fees when they decide to book a flight through Google Flights; however none of this is paid to Google. Charging a subscription fee would not be wise for this type of service, especially considering how limited Google Flights currently is.
Google Flights is ideal for anyone who is planning to travel within the United States by air. The application offers users a number of filter and search options to find airfare that matches their budget and scheduling needs. Users must also stick to round trip tickets because Google Flights does not yet support one way journeys. The application is very easy to use, making it appealing to travelers who are not as internet savvy.