We've all been there: Hovering over a flight, worried that the price will drop. Google has a possible solution: Cutting you a refund if the price drops after booking.
The web giant announced this week it will try out a price protection function for some flights. The pilot runs from Tuesday, Aug. 13 through Sept. 2. “Select bookings” made during that period may be eligible for price protection.
Here's how Google explains it: “When we predict the price won’t decrease for select itineraries booked between August 13 and September 2, we’ll guarantee the price won’t drop, and we’ll refund you the difference if it does.”
It's unclear which flights might qualify for this price protection, although Google clearly says both domestic and international flights departing from the U.S. are eligible. And it's reserved for those cases where Google believes it's unlikely that the price will drop.
If the price does drop anytime from the time you book until departure, Google will email you letting you know. The specifics behind getting the actual refund aren't spelled out.
What a bold move.
Google has taken the travel world by storm. The Google Flights search engine is easily the best out there, packed with powerful features that let you track price changes, get the baggage you need, or find the cheapest getaway possible.
And if this price protection becomes a part of their normal arsenal, why would you ever use another search engine again? The ability to protect against an unforeseen price decrease is unparalleled.
Of course, it's worth stressing that this price protection won't be available for every single flight you book. At least with this pilot, it's only in those cases where Google is fairly confident that prices won't decrease. If, in fact, that happens, Google cuts you a check.
Clearly, Google is confident in its flight tracking data. This price protection feature is an extension of the data it already shows travelers: scoring whether current prices are low, high, or on average; predicting potential fare increases; and more.
Only time will tell if this price protection becomes a permanent feature on Google Flights. But if it does … watch out, Expedia and Kayak.