a white cell phone with a search engine

It was a casual Sunday here in London, and I was minding my own business plotting my next great trip on Google Flights when I saw something I’d never seen before “$200 off through Google”.

Let’s be clear here: this wasn’t the usual screen that pops up showing the various ways to book, and how much each booking option will cost – this was a specific mention of a discount, via Google. That’s never ever appeared before. Color me fully interested.

a screenshot of a websiteUnfortunately, that’s where the excitement stopped, but perhaps only for today. Each click through from Google Flights to Qatar yielded a higher price, directly in line with what the other online travel agencies were offering. But with each attempt, it was clear that this special promotion could just be early, not wrong. I tried various cities, various cabins and after no more than a couple searches was always able to find an example where a “$$$ off through Google” message was displayed.

For anyone who speaks tech, or coding, this isn’t the kind of message that just populates itself out of nowhere. This is something that’s been deliberately coded to show potential savings, which could be a real tip of the hand towards what’s to come.

a white rectangular object with a black borderWhen you click through a link, Qatar returns an error message stating that the offer is not valid for the stated route – not that it doesn’t exist, or has expired. Yes, this is all speculation at this point, but it’s very possible that Qatar will soon offer further integration with Google Flights, where you can book on the Google Flights search page, without clicking over. Case in point, Lufthansa presently offers this.

Lufthansa was the first to allow flights to be booked directly on Google Flights, without actually navigating over to Lufthansa, via the “Book With Google” feature. If Qatar Airways was about to roll this out, or something similar, what more exciting way than to offer something like a 10% discount?

Could this all be a big nothing? Yeah, of course it could. Qatar Airways could easily see Google Flights as a great way to cut down on paying commission to online travel agencies, and allow Google Flights to show that their fares are generally lower directly from the airline.

But, could it be early days signs of one of the more technologically advanced airlines collaborating with the most favoured consumer flight search engine? It could make a lot of sense.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. on my Lord I’m so glad that someone else noticed this is well. I saw it first a few days ago but I have been unsuccessful and actually getting that discount. I’ve sent a few screenshots help request to Google as well. How awesome would that be?

  2. In before all U.S.A. airlines boycott Google Flights for conspiring with a Middle East airline…. (cutting their noses to spite their faces)!

    That might sound silly but it really isn’t much different than them whining about Emirates, Qatar & Etihad being subsidised by their respective governments thereby allowing their prices to be much lower.

  3. Most probably QR readiness for NDC connection’s via Google flights testing for laugch and yes LH have lead the way here with others to follow as soon as they are certified.


  4. Unsure what Steve said, but after reading about this deal and having followed a Qatar flight from Turkey I now I can’t find my Qatar deal on Google Flights.

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