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Anyone having recent trouble with Google flights?

I usually use google flights to search for and track prices, but it has been acting strangely the last few weeks. I search for a flight, select each leg which has a price displayed for the flight, and then on the last page where it shows you which website you can go to book on, I get a message that says "unfortunately the price for this flight has changed," and the price is showing several hundred dollars more. It is not limited to one company, I have had the same experience with Delta, American, BA and Lufthansa flights. Very odd, as I've used that search engine for years with no trouble, but it is not at all useful right now. Anyone else having trouble with it?

Posted by
1504 posts

Hi Tamara, what web browser are you using? The reason I ask is because we use Chrome and on my kids school website to purchase things it started doing funky things all of a sudden. No issues with anything else. I am not a tech person, but my husband said to use a different web browser. Try that.

Posted by
595 posts

That's a good point, Tammy, I should have thought of that. I am using Chrome and haven't had trouble with anything else. I'll try it on a different browser when I have a chance. Thanks!

Posted by
114 posts

My understanding is that the prices you see on google flights and other sites like kayak are recent prices offered that were available but not necessarily up to the minute current pricing that you see on the airline sites. I never trust that the price I see on google flights will exactly be the price I will find on the actual airline site where I end up buying the tickets. I have used google flights for several years and only use it to get an idea of routes, itineraries, and general pricing for flights.

Also, if you use the price tracker function and get email updates, I have seen prices go up and down 10% or more several times during a week. In other words, what you are experiencing is not really a google flights problem - the airlines are constantly changing prices and google flights simply can't keep up with it on a real time basis.

Posted by
16606 posts

My understanding is the same as Wally's, but I'm not sure it works that way, because I've never seen a noticeable change in fares after going directly to the airline's website. Then again, I don't buy that many plane tickets.

Posted by
633 posts

The same is happening so frequently on Kayak that it's pretty useless. It used to be my go to site but now all it's useful for is seeing which airlines fly certain routes. It does the exact same thing you describe on google flights. BUT - this isn't even limited to those search sites.

Yesterday I found a flight on Air France (and code share return on KLM) for $540. This was not only what it said on Kayak, but when I went to the Air France site (not through Kayak) I found the same price. Great. I start booking it and in the middle of the process (before you get to the seat reservation page) it jumped over $200. I closed out and went in again, same thing. I've never had that happen before once on any airline's site but for a year or more I've found whatever the search engines seems to find is never 'available' once you go to actually book it.

Posted by
6073 posts

It seems like live fare info (from the airline's own reservation system) isn't getting refreshed fast enough on a third site (Google Flights) to be accurate. Maybe a coding solution is needed to increase the refresh rare, although I'm sure that could have it's downsides as well.

Posted by
114 posts

I have read some articles recently that google flights introduced some sort of "price guarantee" for people who buy tickets through their site. Not sure how it works, and I am not all that interested in it because I always buy directly from the airline. I only use google flights to get the big picture, not the nitty gritty.

Like someone else mentioned, I don't fly that often - maybe once or twice a year domestically, and once or twice a year internationally. So price fluctuations on tickets don't bother me too much. I care much more about schedules, direct flights, plenty of layover time on international connections, and whenever available premium economy flights, or at a minimum, a bulkhead seat on long flights.

Posted by
595 posts

Thank you all for your ideas. It seems there could be a number of reasons for the inconsistencies in pricing. I'll just need to keep comparing multiple sites for pricing.