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But... why? Google is refunding passengers, not the airlines. The airline already sold an expensive ticket thanks to Google.

Why in the world would you attack a business partner that brings you customers in such a strange way?

Airlines run on razor thin margins now. If they believe that people in the future will know where they want to fly and will search for tickets wherever tickets are sold (see Southwest) and they can get a bunch of free advertising and sell some expensive tickets by burning Google, I think they'd at least consider doing it.

Combined profit margin for all US airlines was a touch above 6% in 2018. But that was still $11.8 billion in profit.


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