Google’s Flight Search feature is barely a day old, so it’s only fair to forgive it for minor hiccups and glitches. And although it’s obvious that this gaffe was completely unintentional, it’s somewhat fitting that a service that had such a hard time getting off the ground (sorry) runs into a problem right out of the gate.
Earlier this morning, a reader of the Sydney Morning Herald first spotted the fact that Google Flight Search was listing the World Trade Center in its search results for New York. You heard right – searches for destinations in New York showed the WTC as a place for incoming flights. That’s uncomfortable, to say the least.
To be fair, the WTC was listed as an “unavailable” destination, but that really doesn’t change much of the awkwardness.
Once apprised of the situation, Google quickly removed it as an option in the search results.
A Google spokeswoman said:
Our intention with Flight Search is to provide information only about active airports. We are removing the WTC code now that we’re aware of it and we will look for other airports that need to come out as well.
See, what happened is that Google Flight Search launched without Google knowing that inactive airports (or in the WTC’s case, helipads) would be listed in the search results. Google Flight Search uses destination codes provided by the International Air Transport Association and the International Civil Aviation Organization. The codes for airports and heliports continued to exist even after they were decommissioned.
If you search for New York right now, the WTC destination has been removed. Flushing (FLU), 39th Street Ferry (XNY) and Marine Air Terminal (QNY) still exist.