Google Says It’s Not Actually Developing A New Flight Price-Comparison Tool

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary claimed it was happening, but Google says “we have nothing new to announce at this stage.”

Google Says It’s Not Actually Developing A New Flight Price-Comparison Tool
[Image: Flickr user Paolo Margari]

In an interview with the Independent, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said Google is developing a flight price-comparison tool that he says will change how people book plane tickets and “blow comparison sites like Skyscanner out of the water.”

O’Leary said the budget airline is sharing its pricing information with the search giant. His description of the travel tool doesn’t sound fundamentally different from other price-comparison sites, such as Kayak, where users are directed to third-party sites to book their flights.

“Google will say, ‘Here are the fares,’ then you click straight through to Ryanair or someone else,” he told the newspaper, adding that Google isn’t charging participating airlines. Instead, it aims to build a comprehensive tool that isn’t “limited or biased” in its search results.

Update: It seems like O’Leary’s claims are a bit overblown. In a statement provided to Fast Company, a Google spokesperson said O’Leary’s comments refer to the company’s existing Flight Search tool, which launched in the U.S. in 2011 and expanded to the U.K. in March 2013.

We already have relationships with a number of airlines across the world but are always looking to improve the results by signing deals with more. We have nothing new to announce at this stage.

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.