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Google Flights Now Predicts Delays and Warns of Bag Fees

Google Flights, the airfare search tool from everyone’s favorite omniscient internet entity, has received two significant upgrades, both of which could prove popular with travelers and irk some airlines.

The service will begin predicting delays before they are announced, and will note bag fees to better mark Basic Economy fares from American, Delta, and United, Google announced in a blog post. “It can be confusing to understand whether important options— like overhead bin space, ability to select your seat, and baggage fees— are included in the fare,” Google says. Users will now see those restrictions while browsing fares.

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Google will also begin predicting delays before they are announced by airlines.  This feature will give the head’s up on the day of your flight, so you can “prevent surprises” at the airport.

“Using historic flight status data, our machine learning algorithms can predict some delays even when this information isn’t available from airlines yet,” Google says. Google only flags delays when the feature is at least 80 percent confident in the prediction.

Sound familiar? Google Flights already displays announced delays and shows historical delay data when searching for airfares, but these new delay predictions are a separate feature.

While the predictive delays tool is certainly helpful, travelers might value the addition of Basic Economy restrictions to the fare search result. Search tools have long needed to adapt to the changing airfare landscape. Flagging Basic Economy fares and outlining the restrictions that come with them means travelers can now more accurately compare price options.

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Readers, do you use Google Flights? If not, what is your preferred flight comparison tool?

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By Carl Unger

Contributing Editor Carl Unger believes that every trip is worth taking. He loves an extended trip to Europe as much as he enjoys exploring the towns and landscape near home. Basically, you'll find him wherever there is good food, fresh air, and plenty of stories to bring home.

Carl has been writing for SmarterTravel since 2005. His travel writing has also appeared on USA Today and the About.com Boston travel guide.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "It's not revolutionary, but a small Moleskine notebook is my one travel must-have. It's great for noting things you want to remember and it takes up hardly any space in your bag."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Japan. I'd love to take a month off and visit the cities, temples, and countryside. I'm fascinated by the country's juxtaposition of ancient traditions and modern ambitions."

Travel Motto: “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” –Terry Pratchett

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window."

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