If you are one of those rare lucky souls who never had to kill time sitting at an airport lounge, waiting for a delayed flight, stop reading further. You may not be able to appreciate the small yet significant change that the world has just witnessed. Traveller thinks when he receives the official notification regarding a flight delay is- Wish I knew it a few hours earlier! I could have started late at home! If only I had stopped at my favourite café on way to the airport, and so on. Unfortunately, by the time official announcement comes in, the passenger is already at the airport and has no option but to wait.
However, this will eventually become a tragic tale of the past- all thanks to Google Flights, the online flight booking search service by Google. Until now, Google Flights would only notify users about flight schedules and delays based on the online information received from airlines. However, applying advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms on gigantic heaps of flight data accumulated and analysed over the years, Google flights will now be able to predict flight schedules in advance, with up to 80% accuracy. Any prediction with less than 80% confidence will not be shared with the users. Moreover, the users will also know the possible reason for the delay.
To find about the delay, the user merely needs to key in the flight number or PNR on Google Flights. The information about the expected delay in arrival/departure, reason, and when to leave to catch the flight will be displayed. If your booking was made through Google Flights or your ticket is in your Gmail inbox, then you receive an automatic notification about the delay.
Currently, the feature is available only for United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta all over the world. Given that in the meanwhile, airlines may be working on resolving the issue expected to cause the delay, the passengers are still advised to report on time at the airport. However, they get a heads-up about the delay. Going forward, as the feature covers other airlines as well; the algorithm will get better and perhaps becomes 99% reliable.
Apart from this, Google Flights is simplifying the breakup of Basic Economy Flight ticket price- what is included and excluded from the deal. At times, we buy a cheap ticket only to discover that we need to pay extra for a checked-in bag. However, with Google’s partnership with American Airlines, Delta, and United, precise flight ticket breakup will be accessible to the users. Apart from the individual travellers, the feature will be beneficial for travel start-ups, which leverage Google’s data to provide flight-booking services.
Flying will not become awesome anytime sooner but Google’s innovation is gradually making it better for passengers. Let us all be hopeful.