While I still miss ITA Matrix 1.0 as the most powerful airfare search tool I’ve ever used, Google is slowly making its flight search tool, Google Flights, better than ever.
Google Flights will now update you on flight delays, in some cases predicting delays before airlines do. Tech Crunch describes the new technology as a combination of data and A.I.:
With the regard to delays, Google Flights won’t just be pulling in information from the airlines directly, however – it will take advantage of its understanding of historical data and its machine learning algorithms to predict delays that haven’t yet been flagged by airlines themselves.
Explains Google, the combination of data and A.I. technologies means it can predict some delays in advance of any sort of official confirmation. Google says that it won’t actually flag these in the app until it’s at least 80 percent confident in the prediction, though.
It may not be as hard as that. So often with United and American we see an upcoming flight showing on-time status, but when we track the position of the aircraft slated to serve the flight, it becomes clears that an on-time departure is impossible.
Basic Economy Warnings
Another new feature: warnings on basic economy. Google will display what some regulators want to force airlines themselves to display, namely the restrictions associated with these cheap fares. For example, you’ll see that booking a Basic Economy class fare on United means no changes, no overhead bin space, baggage fees, and that seat assignments are only available for a fee. Most airlines already display these warnings at some point in the booking process (United does this prominently), but Google displays this information during the initial flight search.
I use Google Flights often to search for flights, as well as Skiplagged, Kayak, and ITA Matrix 3.0. There is not doubt that Google Flights continues to improve. These latest updates better inform consumers and are a welcome change.