It’s a simple formula. Google Flight Search + Airlines’ Hunger for Direct Connect = Trouble for GDSs.
You may think Google Flight Search is just another meta search tool. I think it is a major step in a campaign to build direct connections between airlines and travelers. Google Flight Search is GDS Bypass personified.
Google sees the GDSs as fortresses, producing hundreds of millions of captive airline searches beyond the reach of any search engine. Searches that need to be freed. Searches that should have the right to be completed directly with the supplier. Searches that in their basic form can be served up quite nicely with Google Flight Search.
But the campaign is far from over. Airline products are evolving rapidly. Complexity is increasing. The successful search platforms have to keep up. Direct Connect, or its technical equivalent, has to be part of the solution.
Why? Because the airlines will eventually win their battle to merchandise their products the way they want. All they need is the technical platform and the marketing muscle.
The technical platform is not the issue. Between the high-IQ boys and girls at Google, ITA and FareLogix, that problem is classified as either solvable or solved. It’s the marketing muscle that’s the real issue.
And Google just threw its marketing muscle squarely behind the airlines.
Will we see advanced boarding fees and day passes sold next to airfares in Google Flight Search? Maybe not soon, but surely those are coming. It’s too hard to see how airfares can be shopped without taking those into account. My money is on Google being a big part of that solution.
Here’s Google’s explanation of Flight Search: