If you’re an avid traveler like me, you’ve likely heard of Google flights already. This brilliant feature from our favorite search engine has gained popularity in the past couple of years, and it’s not hard to see why.
If you haven’t heard of Google Flights, you’re about to have your mind blown. If you already know about it, are you sure you’re using it to find the cheapest flights? This nifty tool is fast becoming the best friend of many travel enthusiasts.
Whether you’re looking to book your very first travel adventure or your 100th trip, here’s how to use Google Flights to save some money and see the world!
What is Google Flights?
Google Flights was launched in September 2011 after the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s approval of Google’s acquired ITA software. This software allowed Google to create Google Flights.
It has been upgraded and improved over the years and recently has come into the limelight thanks to its many new features. Combined with its accommodation and activity search engines, Google Flights is the ideal itinerary planner for travel around the world.
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How does Google Flights work?
Using ITA software, Google tracks and monitors flight prices across airlines. The software scrapes airline websites, and on occasion travel agency websites, to find flight times, seats, schedules and prices. It then takes the information into its ITA Matrix to sort through and present it to you.
Sound complicated? Don’t worry, all you need to know is that Google Flights hunts the internet to find the absolute cheapest price for you! Using the platform allows you to get more information and flight deals than a simple Google search.
How Do You Buy Tickets from Google flights and Is It Safe?
While Google Flights is completely safe to search, you’re not actually booking your flights through Google. Once you’ve selected the cheapest flights, Google provides a link to where you can book them.
This link is usually directly to the airline, so it’s quite safe. Once your flight has been selected, and you push the ‘select’ button, you’ll be redirected to the airline’s website to book that specific flight with the mentioned price.
Note: There are exceptions where the link will take you to a travel agency, in which case you’d need to decide for yourself.
Airlines Not On Google Flights
While Google finds the majority of airlines and agencies offering flights, there are a few exceptions you should know about. Google flights don’t pick up low-cost carrier airlines. We’re not sure why this is, but perhaps it’s something that will change in the future.
So, unfortunately, your cheap Google flight search won’t count in popular LCCs such as RyanAir, EasyJet, or AirAsia. At least, not just yet. When searching Google flights with discount airlines check to make sure there are no additional fees for carry on luggage.
How to Use Google Flights to Find Cheap Flights
Here’s a step-by-step guide on using Google Flights:
- Open your browser and go to https://www.google.com/flights. This is the exact URL, in case you were about to type in googleflights.com.
- Select your trip type: Round trip, One-way; Multi-city.
- Select the number of passengers you’re needing tickets for.
- Select your flight class: are you wanting to fly economy, business, or first-class?
- Type in your departing location and your desired destination. If you’re not sure where you want to go, see the Google Flights Map Explorer feature we mention below.
- Now, click on the Google Flights calendar. Here, you’ll see the cheapest price for each day surrounding your preferred dates. You have two options:
- You can simply pick the cheapest price for your chosen date, or
- You can select a different date and score an even cheaper price! Note: Being flexible with your dates, and even your arrival destination, will get you even lower prices.
Once you select your date, you’ll be given a list of flights to choose from, with the cheapest option first. This allows you to see your airline and times of the flights, and change to a pricier option if it suits you better.
Google Flights Features
While the above steps outline the easiest way to get the cheapest flights using Google Flights, there are some pretty cool features available for use on the search engine as well.
Explore Google Flights Map
If you’re not sure where your next trip should be, you can use the Google Flights map to decide on a destination based on the cheapest Google Flight prices.
Simply click on Explore Destinations and you’ll find a world map with all destinations and the cheapest flight prices available.
The great thing about this feature is that you can edit your current location, as well as the currency. So, if you’re sitting in the sunny Bahamas but want to plan your next trip from home, no problem!
Give Google Your Budget
This feature works brilliantly with the Explore Destinations feature. You can set a max price on flights, and Google Flights will only show you flights that are at or below that price.
Google Flight Tracker
Enabling Track Prices on Google Flights will allow you to track and monitor the prices of a specific flight and/or route. You’ll receive notifications, via email, mobile or in Google Flights itself when the flight’s details change.
The notifications will come, if and when, the price of the flight is about to go up, or expire. This gives you the perfect chance to grab that flight at a lower price. If you’re lucky, and the flight’s price goes down, you’ll also get a notification. A very handy feature, if you ask us.
See Average Prices for Your Flight
This handy little feature allows you to see if the current prices for your flight are above, below, or at the average price. It shows you the usual cost for your chosen flight, and then where your flight is on the price scale.
On Google Flights you can use optional filters based on baggage allowance. This is great, as it allows you to see prices which include baggage costs. It also decreases the risk of sneaky extra costs.
As well as your baggage allowance, you can filter your search depending on a number of options.
- Stops – choose how many stops you’re willing to endure on your flight (non-stop only, 1 stop, 2 stops, any number of stops).
- Airlines – by selecting or excluding certain airlines, Google will only show you flight prices for your preferred airline(s).
- Times – this comes in handy if you’re unable to fly at certain times (or perhaps just want to sleep in), you can select the times of flights you’re happy with.
- Connecting Airports – select airports you’d prefer to stop at for your connecting flights.
- Flight Duration – if money can’t buy comfort in your eyes, choose the flying time that you’d be happy with.
Other Useful Google Flights Features
- Date Grid – this gives you a grid view of the cheapest flight prices 3 days either side of your chosen departure and return dates.
- Price Graph – shows a bar graph of prices for the same trip length (days), allowing you to easily compare prices of a predetermined trip length across different dates.
- Nearby Airports – allows you to check for lower prices at nearby airports. You could find a lower-priced flight to an airport that’s just a short drive from where you want to be.
- Tips – provides helpful info on your chosen destination. Things to do, places to see, even packing lists. Perfect for first-time visitors to the destination. Even seasoned travelers may learn a thing or two before boarding their flight.
Google Flights Pros and Cons
Of course, as with any software, Google Flights has its own list of pros and cons. The pros definitely include the fact that Google has the ability to find multiple flights, prices, and schedules in a short space of time. It’s also one platform where you can compare prices of multiple airlines. No need to search numerous sites.
However, since you’re not actually booking directly on Google, you will be redirected to the actual airline website. This can be a con for some. Another con would be the exclusion of low-cost carriers, as this can sometimes mean you’re actually missing out on the cheapest price.
Final Thoughts on How to Get Cheap Google Flight Deals
All-in-all, Google Flights definitely ranks high on the lists of reliable, simple, user-friendly flight search platforms. It’s good to remember that with flexible dates, Google Flights allows budget-friendly trips to anywhere in the world.
Are you convinced yet that Google Flights is a traveler’s best friend? You should be! Next time you’re searching to satisfy that wanderlust, and tick off those bucket list destinations, log on to Google Flights and be the price-savvy traveler we know you can be.