If you’ve gotten used to Google’s direct booking feature for purchasing flights, things are going to change soon. The company has announced that they will be disabling this feature, as most travelers actually just prefer to book directly on an airline’s website instead.
The feature will continue until March 23rd, 2023 in the US. The company shared in a statement with Travel + Leisure: “Over the next 12 months, we plan to phase out the Book on Google feature for flights. We originally offered this functionality to give people a simpler way to buy their tickets and to help our partner airlines and OTAs [online travel agencies] receive more bookings. However, we’ve found over time that people actually want to book directly on partner websites, and we always strive to meet user preferences whenever possible.”
Travelers will be able to continue to use the feature to book flights with the payment method that has been stored in their Google account, and any bookings that have been already made for a date following the feature being disabled will not be affected.
Those who use the feature receive a confirmation email from the airline or online booking agency that the flight was booked through. If the traveler has any questions or requests, they should contact the airline or agency directly.
After the direct booking feature will be disabled, users will still be able to search for flights using Google Flights. Users will also still be presented with other features like map “exploration” in order to try to save money on fight expenses, as well as setting price alerts for specific flights.
In its place, Google will offer features that will help with travel planning like a tool that will help you find accommodation within a specific distance from a landmark, event, or attraction that you’d like to be near. There will also be a “Live View” option in order to see the location ahead of time and also see directions and arrows on a live map on your smartphone.