Google Flights is using big data and machine learning to improve the travel experience.

Google Flights now informs users about flight delays before they get confirmation from airlines, proving that the tech giant is one step ahead of travel companies. Using historical data and machine-learning algorithms, Google is able to predict when delays will occur, and informs flyers once there is 80% certainty a flight won’t be on time. The platform also allows users to see any hidden additional costs before booking a flight, such as baggage fees and extra charges for choosing seats.

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Google Flights

Both of these updates empower consumers, making them well-informed from start to finish during travel, and show the power of algorithms and big data in this industry. Google Flights can already analyze data to estimate when prices will change and whether it’s a good time to book flights. Before a user books a flight, it will inform them whether a price increase or decrease is likely in the next few hours based on past data, encouraging consumers to take action or wait for a better price.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a growth in companies trying to make flying easier and cheaper for travelers. We have already discussed the rise of subscription-based flying apps and now a variety of apps are helping the budget traveler in different ways.

Hopper uses big data to analyze and predict airline prices. The app notifies users when prices are at their lowest, encouraging consumers to make smart travel choices.

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Hopper app
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Hopper app
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Hopper app

AirHelp tackles a different travel-related issue, helping consumers claim compensation for delays and cancellations. The company follows up claims with the airline directly, dealing with all the legal aspects and taking control of the process on the consumer’s behalf.

Skiplagged finds loopholes in airfare pricing and “hidden-city” fares—booking a cheap flight to a particular destination (the “hidden city”) while intending to get off at a layover en route. While this is legal, it means passengers can’t check in bags and can only book one-way tickets. In 2014, United Airlines filed a civil lawsuit against Skiplagged founder Aktarer Zaman, fearing that these hidden-city fares were causing the airline to lose revenue. Fortunately for travelers, the lawsuit was dismissed in May 2015.


As consumers travel more, they spend more time seeking out the best deals, hoping to get the most bang for their buck. They also expect and welcome help throughout the travel process, from booking to flying. If brands have stacks of data or other means to improve the experience for customers, they should harness these solutions and reap the benefits.

For more on the top travel trends of 2018, download The Future 100.