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Google debuts new flight search service

September 13, 2011 |  1:55 pm

Google's long delayed flight search is finally taking off.

The Internet search giant closed its $700-million purchase of travel software company ITA in April after a nine-month investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. On Tuesday Google launched a new service that displays flights and airfares and competes with travel search engines such as Microsoft's Bing, Kayak and Orbitz.

Googleflight The new tool makes it as easy to search for flights as it is to Google just about anything else. It is available at or type a search into Google such as "flights from LAX to SFO."

 It is not yet a full-fledged service. The search feature shows results only for some U.S. cities and only for round-trip economy flights. Flights are sorted based on cost and travel time. Google directs travelers to the airline's website to purchase tickets.

Google said it would bring innovation to travel search and booking. Rival travel search companies opposed Google's acquisition of ITA, saying it would harm consumers and rivals. But antitrust officials cleared the purchase with a few conditions including requiring Google to license ITA's software to other sites that compete with Google. 


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-- Jessica Guynn