Like most frequent flyers, Google Flights is my go-to site for flight pricing and availability. A last minute work trip takes me to Honolulu tomorrow, so I opened up my favorite flight search tool to see what availability looked like. As I began to price out itineraries, I noticed something I’d never seen before. Instead of directing me to the specific airlines’ website to finalize my purchase, Google presented me with the opportunity to book airfare direct on Google Flights.
Google Flights & Kiwi.com
After a quick search, I decided that Hawaiian Airlines was my best option. I selected the flight and expected that Google Flights would re-direct me to Hawaiian’s website. Instead, my first option was to book with Kiwi.com on Google:
As you can see, the second option was to book directly with Hawaiian, then the other OTA’s. While I didn’t have any intention of booking with Kiwi/Google, I decided to take the reservation as far as I could without actually purchasing the ticket. It turns out it’s a pretty simple process containing two more easy steps:
Step 1 Google Flights Direct Purchase
Step 2 Google Flights Direct Purchase
Google Flights Direct Booking History
After doing a little digging, it turns out Hawaiian isn’t the first airline that is bookable direct with Google. Apparently Virgin America and Lufthansa are both bookable as well. The only difference between this and Virgin’s option is that Kiwi.com is being used as an intermediary, whereas Virgin flights appear to be bookable with only Virgin and Google Flights involved in the process.
I suppose it’s natural for Google to want to sell as many tickets as they can. Presumably they make a higher commission selling direct than they do referring flyers to the airlines’ website. While the process was very simple, I’m not sure how this will be scaled long-term.
Most airlines are beginning to charge for bags, seats, and pretty much everything else. Making a simple reservation on Google Flights will still require most flyers to navigate over to the airlines’ website to purchase seats, buy bags, meals and anything else. Often times these add-ons might cost more after you purchase your ticket than if you bundled it together at time of purchase. Google Flights isn’t capable of offering this type of ticket.
Have you tried booking direct with Google Flights? What was your experience?