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Google Flights Price Availability

Here's one I noticed using Google Flights that appears to be an unexpected benefit. I use Google Flights as my quick-research method. And when i find something I then go to the airline site. But Google Flights also, after selecting the complete flights,,offers booking options, at that price, on the airline sites.

So my PHL-EDI, DUB -PHL trip, postponed 4 times and tentatively set for April, gave me options for booking on AA and BA. The BA did not work, BA will not sell that AA return flight without jacking the price enormously, with via that link or on ba.com. However, the "Book with AA" went straight to American with that trip ready to roll. However--if I go into American, I can't get that set of flights! There is one set I can get, but it comes again with a raised price over Google, and included an AAL flight out of Philadelphia that is not currently flying.

So how come via Google flights I can get an actual trip on American that i cannot get directly? Any ideas on this?

Posted by
13525 posts

I have had a similar issue with Turkish Air. I solved it by turning my flight into an open jaw flight. Crazy to have to do that but I got the Google listed flights at the Google listed price Only happened the one time. Also, a few times a combo of flights would show up in a round trip flight, but not in a one way scenario. I think Google Flights is the best search engine but still not perfect, but neither are the airline sites, so you have to do a bit of trial and error.

Posted by
1787 posts

No idea, Larry, but I have had the same situation (since my hub is DFW and I end up flying AA frequently). I figured it was some computer algorithm that paired flights differently. But the Google flight link worked for purchase, so I didn’t argue….. :) And it IS buying directly from AA so I didn’t worry about that either.

Posted by
5242 posts

Yes, thanks Larry. I haven't had an experience like yours, but I had so much trouble with Delta routings last summer that maybe I'll try using Google if it happens again.

Posted by
2467 posts

Needless to say, we did purchase the trip on AA as referred to AA by Google this AM. 475 each, return is non-stop, we will put up with BA's ancient 777 at that price). And then annotated this to the board after. In the two years prior to Covid I violated our personal rule of not using an online agency for ticket purchased because an etailer, Fareboom (am I allowed to name them?) gave me combo AA-BA trips that neither site would put together, in spite of their being codeshares. At advantageous prices, too. Not only had no problems, but the etailer allowed seats on the AA legs without AAs minimal surcharge (BA, fuggedaboutit).

Posted by
3652 posts

Yes, I always use Google flights for this reason, it can find airfares and roll over to the airline website bringing up the purchase option, airfares that I can't on turn up on the airline websites using their search button. I am surprised everyone hasn't noticed this.

If you are logged into the airline website before the rollover happens, when you arrive at the airline website your account will already be open and your name and address pre-filled out.

Posted by
2467 posts

Aimee--Edited. ""Hearts" = "seats"! I have no idea what I mistyped, but the auto-correct produced "hearts" and it was not highlighted.

Posted by
659 posts

Lately, every time I use Google flights, the price is much higher once I roll out of Google to the airline website. Very disappointing.

Posted by
21031 posts

I haven't had that experience, but I read an explanation of that phenomenon once. I have no idea whether it's true, but it does seem reasonable to me: Google Flights (and I assume other platforms that try to aggregate data from nearly all airlines) don't hit every airline website to get up-to-the-instant fare data when you place your request; that would take too long and delay display of the information you've requested. Some of the fares Google displays are based on results from recent requests made by other users. Since airline algorithms tweak fares very frequently and another customer may just have bought the last available ticket at the lowest price point, when the new user goes to the airline website, the data might be different.

Again, I am not saying for sure that it works this way, just that it may. Perhaps someone else knows for sure?

Even if 100% of the data was fresh at the time it was displayed to you, someone else might still manage to buy the last available ticket you're interested in at the great price before you manage to do so--like what sometimes happens on TicketMaster when you're trying to buy a great ticket for a popular event.

Posted by
2467 posts

I do know from past experience that in spite of being partners, BA does not play well with American. Not only does the price jump when booking through Google, but it also goes directly to that, not even offering the Google price, when booking through BA. And for whatever reasons that they don't well, at American I can get that price, but not for the convenient combination. But it worked when booked through Google.