How to use Google Flights to maximize your next travel booking
If you are searching for the best tool for flight deals, I have a great option for you, Google Flights. Google Flights is a flight search engine that helps you get the best deals on flights.
Unlike some platforms, Google flight is not OTA (online travel agency), It is a global distribution system where airlines publish their airfare directly.
Google flight offers useful information on how to find cheap flights, track prices, and browse destinations. Hence, you can book your next flight at a good price using Google flight.
If Google flight is new to you or you want to learn more about how it works, this article is for you. In no time, it will be your favorite tool to book the best flight deals.
Google Flight is a search engine that helps you search, purchase, and compare flights. It makes use of a global distribution system to tap into the inventory provided by airlines and OTAs such as Priceline or Expedia.
Pros and Cons of Google Flights
- It is not OTA, so you can book with the airline directly. This cut out the stress of dealing with a third party.
- Notify you of travel dates
- You can search for several airports simultaneously to look for the airport at a lesser price. This helps you save on travel
- It has unique features and functions that help filter your results to search for the flight you prefer.
- Though Google usually updates the inventory of available flights, however, there are cases of outdated prices. Using a Flight credit card will help here. In this situation, you may see a price on Google Flights but you are seeing a higher price tag when you click through.
- Most airlines available on Google Flights, do not display their fares.
- Due to the fact that Google Flights depends mostly on the airfare list from the airlines, there are times you may see a cheaper fare via OTAs that cut good deals.
Basics of using Google Flights
The steps below will help you carry out a simple flight search.
- Go to google.com/flights
- You can use the tool to book a flight. Also, the bar by the left has some extra features for travel, hotels, things to do, and vacation rentals.
The drop-down menus and fields on the page are straightened out:
- Destination airport (where you are traveling to): You can fill up to seven places to fly.
- Departure airport (where you are traveling from): You get to select up to seven departing places to search for cheap flights
- Airline class: Economy, premium economy, business class, or first class
- Travel Date(s)
- Number of passengers: Children, Adults, infants in seats, and infants in laps
- Type of Trip: One-way or round trip
Once you are sure of where you are going and you are clear on the date, you just have to fill in the details and click the blue search button.
When you search for a location, Google will automatically show the best flights that are departing, based on several factors like time of travel, price, and the comfort of routing. But then, due to what you want, the flight result may or may not be best for you.
For instance, if I search for flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Los Angeles. You can also try it out as you keep reading this article.
You will see several options. If I decide to select Delta flight on my departing trip, Google Flights shows that there are two tickets to be brought separately.
The Google Flight will view my fare options, with refundable options, a few versions of basic economy limited pricing, and a more costly Comfort+ fare.
Besides this, there’s an option that allows me to book with Delta directly. I will be directed to the Delta website plus the prices and flights that were selected. Then I can enter other details like passenger info, seat selection, loyalty number, and pay for the ticket.
Perk and all privileges are honored on flights booked via Google Flights as though you begin on Delta’s website directly. In addition, from the drop-down menu, you can choose the language you want and get to design your location.
Also, you can select the currency you want for easy conversion. However, if you are looking for a flight from another country, the price will fall into the currency of the country, even though the flight will not touch the country.
Search by specific times of day
Want to depart at noon or get to your destination in the morning? With Google Flight, you can search for a flight stating the specific time of the day you wish to get to your destination. If you do not want to get to your destination at midnight, Google Flight has a helpful filter you can use to get the flight that fits into your time.
Hence, you can set your search to only view flights that are arriving and departing at the time range you selected.
See how many bags you can bring on board
The Bags button helps to filter out lots of budget carriers and other fares. It will list the number of luggage you are bringing on board. This feature will help to limit your search results and at the same time may increase your price option.
Hence, unlock it when necessary.
Nonstop, one-stop, or any route will do?
You have the option of selecting the number of stops you want to make. If you wish to explore, you can select a 50+ hour route with several long layovers.
But, if you want to meet up with an appointment, then nonstop is best for you. if you are going abroad, you may go for a one-stop based on the price and comfort.
Search for flights from your preferred airline or alliance
You can make use of the Airline filter to view flights for specific airlines or alliances such as Oneworld, SkyTeam, or Star Alliance. The button below the search results will remove unwanted airlines and help narrow your search.
This option allows you to filter your search results to view only the airports you wish to connect to. It is easy to connect to some airports than others.
Most especially international flights. For instance, Helsinki Airport (HEL) is very lovely and easy to connect to, but Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is not that easy to connect to.
In addition, you can filter out flights with additional layovers, based on what you want, if you want to get to your destination on time, or if you wish to take time out to rest, go for a long layover.
Score the best legroom and other seat amenities
Have you ever boarded a flight where the legroom is too small for your knees and they are touching the back of the seat right in front of you? it’s not a good experience, trust me. But with Google Flight, you don’t have to go through all that stress.
Google Flight has a feature that allows you to view the legroom you are likely to see on your next flight before you purchase the seat. This legroom is quite different from aircraft type to aircraft type and from carrier to carrier.
From the search results, you will get to see the inches. For instance, Spirit’s legroom is below the industry average at 28, while that of JetBlue is 32 inches, above the industry average.
Alongside the legroom, Google Flights also display if Wi-Fi will be available on the flight for free or at a cost, if the flight has entertainment such as live TV or streaming to personal devices, and if the flight has in-seat charging available.
So, your select a flight should not be based on the price or carrier only, because in a flight that is more than five hours, your devices may run out of power.
Know your emissions
Based on the aircraft type, route, and class of seating, Google Flights will allow you to see the approximate carbon emissions for the flight.
For instance, the search results of flights from Los Angeles to Tokyo, using a fuel-efficient Boeing 787 will produce below the average of 734 kgs of carbon dioxide.
Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines’ option, operating a less fuel-efficient Boeing 777 aircraft will produce above the average of 1,163 kgs of carbon dioxide. Likewise, you can filter your results to view only lesser emission flights.
How to search by cheapest dates
With Google Flights, you can also search for the cheapest date to travel. Google Flight calendar view, and you will see the cost breakdown of the flight you want in over two months.
For instance, if I want to go to JFK to Los Angeles in October, but did not put a specific date to it. Google Flight will show the best deal for the flight.
The calendar icon will show the lowest price for a specific date. The green sign on the calendar shows the cheapest price that is available for recent dates, while the blue sign shows the dates I selected.
Alternatively, to search for the cheapest dates, select the Date Grid button and Google will show you the cheapest dates to fly in green. Then, you can line several inbound and outbound options to know if the cheapest date suits you.
At times, changing your date a little can help you save $20 or more. But then, the cheapest flight is not often the best or most convenient flight. Though Google Flights will reveal the cheapest flights, go for the best routes.
How to set a pricing alert for yourself
Once you have gotten the best flight for yourself, most people will go ahead to book the flight.
However, for others that may need a day or two to sort out plans with work or co-traveler, Google Flight can help track your flight and inform you if there’s any change in the price.
You will see “Track prices” above your search result, select the option and sign into your Google account if you have to, and you will get a price alert from Google Flights in your inbox.
Hence, activate this option if you have booked a changeable or refundable fare. You will get a price alert if there’s a change in the price.
How to search multiple airports at once
In the situation, where you wish to depart or fly a little bit away then your location gets the best flight deal. Google Flights can help you out.
For instance, I stay in New York City, where there are three notable airports to select from. Let’s assume I want to travel to southern California, which can be accessed from several airports.
I can carry out this search using the two methods below. Check it out.
- I will enter the name of my city and allow Google to give me suggestions: it works for a couple of major metros. When I enter my city, New York, the notable airports will appear JFK, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey (EWR), and LaGuardia Airport (LGA). Also, I will see New York Stewart International Airport (SWF) in Newburgh, which is about 60 miles north of Manhattan.
- I will type my airport names or codes manually: This does not work always, even for notable cities. For instance, in southern California.
You can check the airport name or type in the code in the destination airport search field and tap blue to search. As a result, the cheapest options for the dates of March 18-25 are American’s $237 round-trip flight from LGA plus two stops in Charlotte and Phoenix, or EWR to LAX nonstop for $247 round-trip in United basic economy.
How to check for carry-on bag policies
Low-cost carriers are best for finding good deals. However, you will have to plan before time if your bags are much. Most airlines reduce costs by charging more for bags. Some will even charge for a carry-on bag that is bigger than a purse or backpack.
It may be difficult to track which airlines charge more, but Google Flights also help to ease this stress. On the search result page, the basic economy flight “no luggage” icon close to the price tag will be in green.
On the final booking page, Google Flight will notify you that you are booking a basic economy flight by displaying the present price and its restriction and showing the economy and first-class booking options close to it.
Remember: Google Flights doesn’t work with Southwest
Note that, you may not see any Southwest flights on Google Flights. Southwest wants to take complete charge of its passengers’ booking process; it prevents other travel partners from booking or searching for flights via the airlines.
Organize your travel
The Travel icon on the sidebar of Google Flights displays the flights you booked already. Click on the trip, and it will neatly view the flight booked via your Google account, like the reservation emails that are sent to a Gmail account.
Also, you will see potential trips, where you have tried to search for a destination but have yet to purchase the ticket. You will also see other suggestions of where you have been searching.
Let’s assume you have searched for “When is the best time to visit New York City?” before, Google Flights may likely display suggestions for you to continue your planning.
In addition, the Travel button will also suggest other trips you may want to take, depending on the trips you have booked or the ones you have taken in the past.
For instance, if you have taken a trip to Melbourne, Australia before, you will get suggestions to visit Sydney, which is another well-known city in Australia.
How to find the best getaway deal
This is quite similar to the one stated above, just a different approach to your search.
Let’s say you want to take a trip on a particular date, for instance, the second week of September, but you don’t have a particular place in mind, you can make use of Google’s open-ended search functionality to search for the best flight deals.
In making use of the open-ended search functionality, you can type the name of the continent like “Europe” to give Google Flights a hint.
When you zoom the map closer, you will get to see several destinations and the price points in the map view. And when you choose to zoom out for the world view, you will get to see the best destination price across the world.
You can also see the price point for a particular location.
Best times to book
Google Flights has some suggestions on the best times to book a flight according to its historical data.
When to book flights
|Flights||Cheapest Airfare||Suggested booking
|Thanksgiving||52 days out||36 to 74 days out|
|Christmas||22 days out||20 to 88 days out|
|From U.S. to Europe||129 days out||50 to 179 days out|
|Spring Break||38 days out||23-59 days out|
|Summer vacation||21 days out||14-44 days out|
|From U.S. to Mexico or the Caribbean||59 days out||37-87 days out|
You can save more on travel when you plan ahead.
Google Flights is a great tool to get the best flight deal, and not just that, it is also helpful to get a comfortable flight that works best for you.
It is very easy to use when you are knowledgeable about the tricks and tips. In no time, you will get the best flight deal for your next trip.
Frequently Asked Question
What is Google Flights?
Google Flights is a flight metasearch engine that makes use of a global distribution system to tap into the flight inventory provided by most airlines around the globe. It is not an online travel agency such as Priceline or Orbitz.
How reliable are Google Flights?
Google Flights is very reliable. It gets its data directly from the airline database. If you happen to come across any error, it will be an error from the airline’s end – not Google’s.
How do you change Google Flights currency?
When you want to change currency on Google Flights, scroll down to the bottom of any Google Flights page, and click on the currency option. Set the currency you prefer.