On October 31, 2017, we announced that we'll be retiring the QPX Express API, a service that we developed for long-tail travel clients back in 2014. There has been some confusion about this change and its impact on the travel industry, so we'd like to clarify exactly what's going on.
In 2010, Google acquired ITA Software to make it easier for people to search for flights, compare flight options and prices, and quickly identify where they can buy their tickets. At the time, ITA's main offering was QPX for enterprise, a robust airfare pricing and shopping platform used by airlines and intermediaries to power their air travel e-commerce experiences. Today, QPX for enterprise enables travel companies to process millions of user-generated flight queries per day. Many air travel shopping websites, including Google Flights, are built on QPX for enterprise data.
QPX Express is an entirely separate product from QPX for enterprise. In 2014, we introduced the QPX Express API, a similar service created for small companies and individual users. This was a very basic air travel pricing and shopping API that lacked the advanced query types, performance optimizations, and support services available to QPX for enterprise customers.
While some companies found the QPX Express API useful, there was simply not enough adoption to continue supporting the product. As a result, we informed users that we will be shutting down the QPX Express API on April 10, 2018.
What this means
QPX for enterprise is not affected by the shutdown of QPX Express — it's not going anywhere! Since we acquired ITA Software, we've continued to expand QPX for enterprise's features and customer base. It remains widely available to third parties in the travel industry.
When Google acquired ITA Software, the Department of Justice required Google to make QPX for enterprise available to third-party travel companies for at least 5 years, an agreement that we upheld through the entire term — and a practice that we continue to uphold today. Some have confused the retiring of QPX Express with the October 2016 expiry of the Department of Justice's consent decree related to our acquisition of ITA, but these two things are unrelated.
Our travel partners continue to have access to data provided by QPX for enterprise as they have over the last 7 years, and will have in the future. We're committed to collaborating with our partners to make the entire online travel journey better for travelers around the globe.
How long can I continue to use the QPX Express API?
The QPX Express API service ends on April 10, 2018. If you have signed up for the service, you can continue to use it through that date.
Can new users sign up for the service through April 10, 2018?
No. New users can no longer sign up for the QPX Express API service.
Will usage fees remain the same for this service through April 10, 2018?
The usage fee has been reduced from $0.035 to $0.02 per query in excess of the free quota of 50 queries per day. The fee will remain at that level through April 10, 2018.
What steps should I take?
You don't need to take any action. However, if you are actively using the QPX Express API service, you may want to find an alternate solution before April 11, 2018.
What if I have other questions about the end of the service?
Please contact us.
What is QPX Express?
QPX Express is a new, simplified airfare search API that offers basic shopping capabilities. It allows easy access to air travel search via a single, standardized API. The QPX Express self-service, pay-as-you-go model provides business flexibility and offers new opportunities for innovation.
Who can use QPX Express?
QPX Express is designed for established and startup online travel intermediaries and agencies, with basic airfare shopping and pricing needs, and who want to drive ticket sales, either through their own booking engine or through a third party.
How does QPX Express work?
QPX Express is part of the Google suite of publicly-available APIs on Google Developers Console, designed for easy integration, fast response and high reliability. QPX Express searches through innumerable combinations of airline schedules, fares, fare and tax rules, and seat availability. It is not limited to predefined fares and routes and responds in real time to changing fares and availability.
A simple API allows your website to make a request containing search parameters such as passenger counts and types, origin, destinations and dates. The API returns up to 500 itineraries, including all data elements needed for customer display and booking engines.
How do I know if QPX Express is the right product for my company?
|Functional requirements||You want to build applications that incorporate basic airfare pricing and shopping capabilities.|
|Technical requirements||You have the technical ability to integrate a JSON API with your own website.|
|Business use||You plan to use the API to run live airfare queries with the intent to drive ticket sales, either through your own booking engine or through a 3rd party.|
What features and functions does QPX Express provide?
The API supports a standard set of parameters for specifying fare searches, including
- One-way, round-trip, and multi-city itineraries, both domestic and international
- Passenger counts (adults, children, infants-in-seat, infants-in-lap, seniors)
- Maximum price
- Solution count (maximum 500)
- Sales country
For each origin-destination pair, QPX Express also supports specifying:
- Departure date and time-of-day range
- Maximum stops
- Maximum connection time
- Preferred cabin
- Permitted and prohibited carriers
- Permitted alliance (Star Alliance, SkyTeam, oneworld)
QPX Express returns detailed information on each itinerary it returns, both for displaying to the end user and for passing along to the booking engine, including
- A full listing of all flight segments and legs, each with
- Carrier and flight number
- Booking code
- Departure and arrival time
- Origin and destination terminal
- Duration and mileage
- On-time performance
- Meal services
- Connection durations
- Marketing and operating carrier
- Aircraft type
- Full pricing information, including
- Fare basis codes
- Detailed itemized taxes
- A fare calculation string
- Latest ticketing time
- A look-up table translating codes for airports, cities, carriers, etc., to their full names
How do I implement QPX Express on my website? Do I need to know how to code?
QPX Express follows the same standards and syntax as other Google APIs. While code development is necessary to integrate with QPX Express, the lightweight API that employs industry standards minimizes the amount of work considerably. It can be implemented with minimum efforts by travel companies with the technical ability to integrate a JSON API with their own websites.
To review the API without writing code, you can read the examples in the Send Requests page.
What kind of support do you offer for QPX Express?
Documentation for the API is available on the Google Developer site. You can submit questions and issues via a support email address available to QPX Express API users. Our team will be actively monitoring the submissions, although we cannot guarantee a response. No phone support is provided with the QPX Express API Service.
How much does QPX Express cost?
Refer to the pricing page for details.
How will I be charged and how will I make payment?
Once you have signed up to use QPX Express on Google Developers Console, you will be directed to enable billing on the Billing page and to set up automatic payments via credit card or direct bank withdrawal. Note that verification of your bank account may take up to 10 days. Learn more about available forms of payment here.
Google will automatically charge you on the first day of the month for charges accrued during the preceding month. You will be able to see your billing history and current statement on the Billing page.
For more information on billing for Google APIs, visit Billing help.
What are the terms of using QPX Express?
See the QPX Express API Terms of Service and Google APIs Terms of Service for more details. Note that if we are informed that you have violated the data use policies of airlines in other channels, your service may be terminated.
Why do I need to have a Google Account in order to use QPX Express?
QPX Express is based on a self-service model for signup, payment, and implementation. You will need a Google account in order to access the QPX Express API through Google Developers Console. We are taking advantage of the existing, robust Google infrastructure for customer self-service login to provide a safe and secure authentication mechanism and low-hassle signup and payment processes for our customers.
What about privacy concerns? How are you planning to collect and use subscriber data?
Which airlines' airfare and availability does QPX Express support?
QPX Express supports carriers' data filed in OAG for schedules, ATPCO for fares, and availability provided directly or indirectly by carriers.
How do I integrate with QPX Express?
QPX Express is a stateless API. It runs over HTTP and uses JSON to represent both the request and the response. This makes it easy to integrate with a wide variety of systems.
How do I add additional users to my Google Developers Console project?
Add more members to your Google API projects from the Google Developers Console. Select the project you'd like to add a member to, navigate to "Permissions" on the left-hand side, click on the red button "Add Member". See here for more information on "Managing Project Members".
Does QPX Express support booking of airline tickets?
No. QPX Express is a shopping engine only, and takes no part in the booking process apart from providing comprehensive flight and pricing detail sufficient to make a booking in a global distribution system (GDS).
Does it matter which GDS system(s) my travel company works with?
No. QPX Express is GDS-agnostic. It is up to you and your staff to integrate the QPX Express API with your website and booking partner(s).
How do I integrate QPX Express with my GDS?
GDSs typically have a booking operation that allows you to enter the flights, pricing and fare calculation line included in our shopping response. We recommend you consult with your GDS about the booking step.
How do we search for the necessary tariff (via identifiers such as fareId, segmentId) through our booking system?
QPX Express currently supports only shopping queries returning priced itineraries. Other database queries such as tariffs and fare markets can be achieved through the native interface of your GDS.
Does QPX Express support private fares?
No. QPX Express only includes public fares in the search results returned.
Are interline agreements between airlines taken into account in the search results?
Yes. We honor all interline agreements that are sent to us by IATA.
I am unable to implement the QPX Express API. Do you offer consulting services for implementation?
No. We do not offer additional paid consulting or support for the QPX Express API. Documentation for the API is available on the Google Developer site. Continue to follow the documentation or engage a consultant versed in Google APIs to support your implementation. Note that the API is available in JSON format, deployed via standard protocols.
Why am I getting no results?
There are various possible reasons: the search criteria are too narrow; there is no availability on those flights; there are no scheduled flights from those airports; airline rules prevent the necessary flights from being combined into one ticket.
If you believe QPX Express is returning zero results in error, we suggest you simplify your query, or send a query for a market where you are sure there are results to confirm the API and your implementation are working properly.
What errors can QPX Express return?
Possible HTTP error codes are:
- 400 Invalid inputs, including invalid API key. Do not retry without correcting inputs.
- 403 Not authorized. If free daily quota is exceeded, sign up for billing or wait until next day. If rate limit is exceeded, send queries more slowly.
- 500 Internal error. Try reproducing manually, and report a problem if it recurs.
- 503 Temporary overload. Wait before retrying.
Additional information on the nature of the problem is provided as text in the returned error message.
I am not getting the results I expected. What can I do?
Here are a few debugging suggestions:
- Confirm the departure and return dates are not in the past.
- Make sure the API key used begins with AI (capital A and capital I).
- Confirm the URL path is correct (see an example in the QPX Express API documentation).
- Confirm the HTTP method is a
- Try sending a few requests from the command line using
curlto verify that your key and the API work correctly (see an example in the QPX Express API documentation).
Why do I get the following error “This API does not support parsing form-encoded input”?
- Check the Content-Type in your request and make sure it is set to "application/json".
- Confirm that the application or code/script you are using to submit the request is not URL-encoding the request. The JSON request submitted to the API should look like this:
How do I send a help request?
Before submitting a help request, read the documentation and FAQ. The most frequently asked QPX Express API questions are addressed in these documents. Enter one or more keywords related to your question in the search area at the top of QPX Express homepage to search for relevant results from the documentation pages.
Submit your feedback, bugs, and questions via email if all else fails. Our team will be actively monitoring your requests, although we cannot guarantee a response.