Google to Shut off Airfare Data for Some Travel Search Engines

Nov 2, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

As Google Flights has become more and more prominent, the tech giant will continue to concentrate its power on travel data after announcing that it will be shutting off its QPX Express API in April 2018. QPX is an airfare search data feed that allows travel sites to access information on airfare and was created when Google acquired ITA Software. Google used ITA to create Google Flights, a more user-friendly version of the ITA Matrix.

Now this might seem like a mouthful, but it’s important for two reasons. First, it means that Google is more interested in competing with the big travel sites like Orbitz and Expedia. And second, many smaller third-party travel search engines will have to find a new way to access airfare data. Ultimately, as users expressed on Twitter, this could be a death blow to smaller travel startups who rely on the API.

When Google purchased ITA in 2010, the US Justice Department closely examined the deal for antitrust issues. Ultimately the government approved the deal, but with the caveat that Google would have to allow developers to access the data for at least five years.

Some of TPG’s favorite websites like The Flight Deal use ITA to verify deals  — meaning there may be some difficulty in doing this in the future.

A Google spokesperson said the reason for the shutdown was “the low interest among our travel partners,” although according to TechCrunch the company had some pretty massive customers like Kayak, Orbitz, American Airlines and United. The Verge reported that a Kayak spokesperson declined to comment because “this doesn’t affect or KAYAK.”

A replacement service for QPX could be provided by Fareportal, Skyscanner or QPX Enterpise (a version for larger businesses), says TechCrunch. That, or companies may have to build their own databases.

Google will also be shutting down ITA’s mobile app OnTheFly in December, although it’s unclear if ITA Matrix will be switched off as well.

We’ve reached out to Google for clarification about the status of ITA Matrix but haven’t heard back at the time of publishing this article.

Featured image by Stephane Noiret/Getty.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.