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Booking Strategy

Google Flights Just Got Better

The search engine is already simple and fast. This week, it got even better with the addition of flight-amenity data.

The Google Flights search engine has long been among the handiest of apps in savvy travelers’ digital toolkits. Simple, fast, inclusive, and unbiased, it provides a reliably good first read of a traveler’s flight options for any given trip. Sometimes it’s all the research needed to get the lowest fare and best schedule.

This week, Google Flights got even better, with the addition of flight-amenity data provided by Routehappy. Now, flight-search results include not just schedule, price, and aircraft type, but also Wi-Fi availability, in-seat and USB power, and on-demand video.

Routehappy calls itself a “product differentiation platform for air travel.” That’s about right. The company maintains a massive database of amenities available from most of the world’s airlines. And with pricing and schedule often canceling each other out in comparison shopping, it’s precisely those amenities that can be the difference-makers in deciding whether to book this or that airline. (Whether you know it or not, Routehappy scores and Happiness Factors are already included in Expedia flight-search results.)

Online travel agencies such as Expedia and Travelocity have been anxiously looking over their shoulders in recent years, fearing the competition that Google Flights represented in theory but unsure whether Google would ever leverage its technological and marketplace power to realize that outsized potential. This latest move leaves no doubt that Google plans to be a major force in travel.

Reader Reality Check

Do you use Google Flights when planning your trips?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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