Google Flights taking off

A decade ago, ITA Software sold to Google and then evolved into Google Flights. ITA’s Matrix took detailed ticketing data from airlines and travel agencies. Its homepage advertised that there were more than three million ways to get from Boston to LA, meaning that while most engines look solely at cheapest, fastest routes. But for those who prefer a connection in Miami and Panama City, Panama or need to see exactly how much a fuel surcharge might run, ITA was the best source of information.

ITA Matrix was the preferred source for finding flights by frequent flyers and bloggers alike.

ITA’s flaw was two-fold. The first was that they did not sell airfare so while a flyer could find what they were looking for on the site, they would have to reconstruct it elsewhere to purchase. Secondly, it was not very user-friendly, fans call it “charm” the public-at-large considered it difficult to use.

When Google purchased ITA software, they rolled the technology into their own booking engine and made it something both robust and useful for the average flyer, while still sending most bookings to be completed on the airline’s website directly.

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