Booking Flights With Google Flight Search: Organic Or Paid?

Sep 14, 2011 • 8:30 am | comments (7) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Google FLight SearchSince acquiring ITA, Google has taken steps to expand flight search and has done so once again, as of yesterday.

Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land has a great write up but here is Google's quick video on the changes:

Pretty cool? Here is how Google describes the features:

  • Get super-fast results. Speed is critical to all the things we love on the web, and travel planning should be no exception.
  • Making changes to dates, destinations, and filters should be as fast as we hope you've come to expect from Google.
  • See a simple list of the most relevant flights. Flight Search shows you an easy-to-scan list to help you get to your destination quickly and inexpensively.
  • Figure out when to travel. Quickly see which travel dates are least expensive by dragging the date selector forward or backward, or check out the bar chart to compare lots of dates at once. Consider your destination options. Flight Search helps you explore possible destinations, letting you filter them by airline, flight time and price. For example, you can use the map and filters to see where you can go from San Francisco within 3 hours for less than $300.

But it seems like when you actually end up booking the flight via the system, Google is charging the airline. So are these organic results or paid results?

Here are two screen shots, the first are the organic results:

click for full size

But when you click on the booking option, it says "ad". It is unclear how that ad works exactly...

click for full size

Wonder if Google will explain that ad part in the future.

Either way, it seems very nifty for booking flights.

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help and Google Blogoscoped Forums.

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Dan Whitehouse

09/14/2011 12:42 pm

Looks like a great service and really easy to use. Shame I don't live in west coast US though and don't want to travel within the west of US. Let's hope they roll this out internationally quickly. 

Alistair Lattimore

09/14/2011 12:44 pm

The ads your referring to are paid ads and are similar to the hotel price ads that are used within Google Search, Maps & Places when looking for a hotel. Like the hotel price ads, I'd assume that the same rules apply with the flight price ads in that it doesn't affect the ordering/ranking of a result, but it simply a method for Google to easily inject pricing information into their results.

SEO Services India

09/14/2011 12:58 pm

This is really great news for me.I would like to use such a wonderful service provided by Google.I did bookmark this page and use it soon.


09/14/2011 03:12 pm



09/14/2011 06:27 pm

Dear webmasters,  As you know we at Google take the task of organizing the world's information very seriously. With users in mind, we will soon release a algorithm update that takes care of the travel spam, or sites that offer flight data, search and prices. We have been told that users don't like to see that, unless is in ads on on a Google navigation bar. yours, Matt Cutts Amit Singhal Susan Moskwa


09/14/2011 06:47 pm

Hipmunk still is more hip

Barry Schwartz

09/15/2011 11:22 am

FYI, I cannot verify this comment as being from Google.  The IP of the user is and does not match up with where Google's HQ is, which is where Mat, Amit and Susan are.

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