Google now allows you to search for flight schedules. After a long delay, the company’s acquisition of airline logistics company ITA closed last month and it looks like Google is now free to add more travel-related feature to its search engine. While Google stresses that “this flight schedule feature does not currently use ITA’s search technology,” chances are that this is just a first glimpse at what Google can do now that it has all of this rich travel information at its fingertips.
Nice, But Too Many Limitations to be Really Useful
Google’s announcement argues that you can “plan your next trip with the new flight search feature.” Chances are, you won’t be able to do this as it’s simply too limited to be useful at this point. For the time being, Bing’s travel features vastly outperform Google’s attempts to add travel information to its search engine.
It’s worth noting that the new flight schedule feature is not a price comparison engine and that you can’t book any flights through it. Indeed, a basic [flights from Portland to Kahului] search doesn’t even give you links to the airlines’ websites in the search results. Those only appear when you look for all flights to or from a certain airport – a search scenario that isn’t anything but common.
Another limitation of the system is that it only seems to work for direct flights. If you’re in a market with a small airport and usually have to connect through a hub, chances are Google won’t return any results for your query.
This new feature is coming to searches performed in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Turkish and Catalan. Coverage, as far as we can see, is global.