If my income depended on a space like travel, where Google products are being developed and featured, I would probably be up in arms. As it is, I mostly touch these spaces as an end user and I always had a dislike for organic results for generic travel searches. They just didn't provide the kind of dependability I was looking for, and I think my experience was pretty common.
I'm still not willing to use the Google Travel product - but I don't even use search for broad term travel queries. That's just not what works for me in this space. I have certain aggregate sites where I have had a good experience and I usually go there. Or else I learn about a new offering through offline advertising and check it out.
Brutal truth? My travel plans are too critical for me to trust them to sites that try to survive through SEO alone. Maybe I just know too much about the space. Travel is a space where I really want some kind of brand.