Money Matters - Simplified

Google to unveil flight search in India?

The Flight Search service will help the Indian public book the best deal directly from the airlines websites.

Google is all set to unveil a flight search feature in India which will let users book flights directly from the internet giant. The service will make it a direct rival to existing travel booking sites.

The Google Flight Search service started with US in September 2011 and subsequently extended to few other European countries earlier this year, including UK, Spain, Netherlands, France and Italy.

The process is simpler than other flight tracking services. The digital giant provides a detailed list of flights with departure times, duration, arrival, airline, number of stops and more. Google also has a useful data table for finding the cheapest price.

At present the website denies the request for Indian airfare deals stating that “flights from India are not currently supported.”

Google’s plan to pitch Indian air-travel industry will provide prospective travelers flight options from different carriers, along with prices, flight times and other relevant information.

This will help the Indian public book the best deal directly from the airlines websites.

Is the flight search service making online travel agents jittery?
The flight search tool could have a negative impact on the business of several flight aggregators such as Makemytrip, Yatra , Cleartrip and other international websites making them redundant.

Though, firms such as Yatra. com, Makemytrip and Goibibo were non committal, Hrush Bhatt, founder and director of travel portal Cleartrip, did not acknowledge Google's Flight Search as a direct threat.

According to him, the service would certainly change the way travel agents allot their online marketing budget. He stated, "We are not sure what value Flight Search would add to consumers, especially if it can only let you compare prices.”

Contemplating complaint to Competition Commission of India
In order to protect their interests and sustain their market position, the aggregators are contemplating steps including a possible complaint to the Competition Commission of India, claiming discrimination by Google when it comes to search results for queries relating to online travel.

Google meanwhile claims to be unaware of online travel firms planning to move towards the Competition Commission but said that they will extend "full assistance and cooperation on the matter", if it happens.

"We're always happy to answer questions about our business," the company said.