Pranav Dar — February 1, 2018

Google today announced the addition of two new features to it’s Flights application. And both of them will make a significant difference to the flyer.

                                                            Source: Google

With the help of machine learning, Google Flights will now be able to predict if a flight will be delayed, and by how long. The other feature will assist users in making confident decisions that they’re getting the cheapest fare, regardless of their destination.

The “basic economy” class has been introduced by a lot of airlines but the details around it remain fuzzy for the average flyer. Does it include overhead bin space? Can we select our seat without paying extra? Is the baggage fee involved in it? Well, worry no more – the Flights app will do all that for us. It will break down all the intricacies of the “basic economy” fare to help us pick the right option.

Using historical flight data, Google’s machine learning algorithms will predict the status of each flight. A flight will only be marked as a risk of being delayed if the algorithm is 80% (or more) confident in the prediction. Simply searching for the flight or the route on the app will bring up the information.

Just to cover it’s bases, Google still tells us that we should reach the airport on time and not rely blindly on the app’s predictions (which kills the point of the feature). But Google is constantly improving it’s model and frankly, who doesn’t want to know when  there is a risk of their flight being delayed, in order to save the waiting time?

Currently, these features are only available on the Delta, American and United airlines flights but the expectation is that it will be extended globally in the near future. You can check our their full blog post here.


Our take on this

Google continues to branch out it’s machine learning capabilities into different fields. Because of it’s market share, it will provide intense competition to the already crowded market. Expect the others to follow suit and bring these features to their respective apps. The winner out of all this? The flyers, of course.


About the Author

Pranav Dar

Senior Editor at Analytics Vidhya. Data visualization practitioner who loves reading and delving deeper into the data science and machine learning arts. Always looking for new ways to improve processes using ML and AI.

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