Google’s Flight Search has launched in parts of Europe. It has been available in the US since September 2011 and can now be accessed by travellers in the UK, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. You have to use your local Google to get to the appropriate version of Flight Search, for example http://www.google.co.uk/flights if you are in the UK or http://www.google.fr/flights if you are in France.
There is a warning on the search page that Ryanair, Easyjet, Aer Lingus, Thomas Cook and Lufthansa are not included. That is a substantial number of flights and two of the major budget airlines missing from the search. Selecting departure and destination airports and dates is straightforward and there are additional options for selecting non-stop flights, airline, maximum price, duration and slider bars for specifying departure or arrival time.
Confusingly, flights from some of the airlines that are not covered by Flight Search do sometimes appear in the results but, in most cases, without prices. I entered dates for a round trip from London to Munich. There was one option for Lufthansa that specified a price (£178) whilst the others from were “unknown”.
If you select a priced option you can then book the flight via BudgetAir. If you choose an “unknown” you see an option to check the price on the airline’s own website but you then have to enter your search from scratch.
So far, I am not impressed. There are far too many airlines that are not included and Flight Search does not offer anything over and above other comparison sites. I am not sure how many people will actually use it. You have to know the URL as searching on, for example, London Munich flights does not bring up a link to Flight Search. There is no perfect flight comparison site and I always use a combination of services such as Opodo and direct searches on the airlines’ own sites. There is nothing here to tempt me to add Google to the list.