Google Gets into the Airline Reservation Business

Google Gets into the Airline Reservation Business
Google isn’t only rolling out new privacy changes today; the company is also dipping its toes in the airline reservation business.

Google and partner Cape Air, a small regional carrier based in Hyannis, Mass., announced the airline would be using an air reservation platform built by ITA Software, which was purchased by Google in July 2010.

According to Cape Air, the ITA booking platform will give its travelers:

  • Easier shopping for one-way, round-trip and multicity flights and fares.
  • Self-service tools for quickly making changes in reservations and itineraries.
  • A booking flow that's smooth and secure.

The new reservation system can be accessed at the newly redesigned websites for Cape Air and Nantucket Airlines. It replaces a system put into place 48 years ago.

ITA's platform for Cape Air was built from scratch using modular, scalable technologies, according to Jeremy Wertheimer, the company’s vice president for travel.

Up-to-date interface design makes the system easy to learn and use, he explained. The platform also apparently collects personal information about travelers that is stored in a database so an airline can personalize the service it gives to customers.

In addition, the modular technology makes it easier to change the system as an airline's needs change.

What's more, the system is built to scale to support airlines of all sizes.

Google Gets into the Airline Reservation Business
“Our employees love the system, and we think our passengers will find the way they search, book and travel to be faster, easier and more personal," Cape Air’s chief executive, Dan Wolf, said in a statement.

Google's purchase of ITA was initially opposed by a coalition of travel businesses, including Expedia, Kayak, Sabre and Fairlogix. The group contended that the deal could result in higher travel prices, fewer travel choices for consumers and businesses and less innovation in online travel search.

According to Fast Company, which named ITA one of the top 10 innovative companies in transportation in 2010, the software maker's technology is behind 65 percent of all online bookings.

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

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