Google Flights, Faster? Cheaper?

Those of you who have shared my obsession interest in leveraging the miles and points game for the past number of years are familiar with Matrix from ITA.  It’s been a phenomenal search engine for as many years as I can recall.  Everyone I’ve spoken with who’s familiar with the tool all had the same reaction when we learned that Google had acquired ITA Software.  We were scared it would go away completely or be marginalized by Google.

Enter the error message “The search failed with Exceeded Boombox request quota.”

Instead of Google killing the public-facing free search tool, it looks like they’re just not dedicating as many resources as necessary to this branch of the platform.  Frustratingly, when searching, you can get pretty deep into a search (but not quite done) and see this message.  At this point, you’re forced to start over.

And yet, there’s really no more valuable tool for me when I’m trying to plan a trip.

On top of the Boombox errors, it feels to me like the system has also gotten a bit slower.  So, the other day while waiting for a search (after wading through half a dozen Boombox land mines) I decided to let Google try to more fully assimilate me.  I hit the button that they just keep egging me to hit every time a search bogs down:

Flight Search

Could it be faster?  Cheaper?  1 out of 2 ain’t bad.

It was absolutely faster.  Here’s the result I got from that search, almost instantly.

Flight Search

And yet, I think I might wait a bit before blindly following Google into their world of flight search.  Because, when I got Matrix to work, these were the results I got.

Flight Search

Flight Search

What’s an extra couple thousand bucks, anyways?

Maybe it’ll work better someday, but I’ll let others figure that out for now.

Are you using Google Flight Search or still hitting the Boombox?


  1. Last week Google released version 3 of Matrix. It’s been rewritten on Google AppEngine and they promise ‘more stability, responsiveness and overall better performance.’ But there may be a few kinks still in it.

  2. I don’t know who this Boombox fella is, but every time he pops up, I want to throttle him!

    I was looking for flights to Baku, Azerbaijan the other day and he was really insistent that I not go.

      1. I already did, and she flipped. Have to educate her (and my family) about how safe and progressive Azerbaijan is.

  3. Searching for biz class seats over the last few days I found great fares, but when I clicked thru I was directed to to book and the seats were economy. Big waste of time.

Leave a Reply