Google Flights – Complete Guide to find the cheapest deals! Developed by Google group and used my million users this tool indeed has great potential to become the most powerful metasearch platform in travel industry. Google Flighs has many advantages but also some disadvantages compared to its competitors. Hunting for the cheapest deals every day for last 7 years I would like to share with you some knowledget to help you find cheaper flights. This guide s made for casual travelers who want quickly find some good solution without spending countless hours searching on an internet..Lets see what this great tool offer in our complete guide to find the cheapest flights and most attractive deals via Google Flights.
Brief history of Google Flights
Back in 2011, Google Flights has purchased ITA Software, the most amaziing flight search engine loved by most of travel geeks and FD hunters. (Sadly it is no longer that great after the “enchantments” they made last year). Based on this tool they have launched Google Flights which uses algorithms gained from this purchase. (As Matrix allows tracking however you can not purchase any of the searches made through this website). Google Flights immediately became real competitor to world leading metasearch flight booking sites like Kayak, Orbitz group or Skyscanner.
Google Flights general tips
- It sets language, currency etc. based on your location. If you wish to switch this simply click on an icon in top left corner. When the menu shows up you can chance your language, currency or country.
- Google Flights is a metasearch comparison engine (or aggregator) so does not sell any flights. It will compare thousands of an options in a single search and shows you the best results. You will then book your flight through the airline or various OTA (Online Travel Agent). Google Flights will get a commission from this purchase. However price is similar to one you would find when going directly waving Google Flights as a 3rd party.
- Once you search your flight you will be offered the most interesting options based on suggestion of Google Flights. It takes into account price, total travel time, confort (WiFI, IFE) and other factors so it does not necessary mean you will get the cheapest flights on top. Want to see the cheapest option then first click on “Sort by” and choose “price”.
- Google Flights comparison tool is extremly (almost instant) when searching your flight on the other hand the results you see are not “live” so it is not that uncommon that the offer you see at Google Flights is no longer valid and when you click through the link to the airline the flight is either significantly more expensive or not even available. In such case we suggest to go directly to website of the airline your offer was based on to see it it is still live or try to search for another travel dates. (Most of the airlines offer flexible search to see the cheapest option).
- In some cases the tool does not show results based on certain carriers. (Usually it does not include are Chinese Airlines – Air China, China Eastern Airlines etc..). In many cases those airlines offer the cheapest option especially if you are traveling to/from China, South East Asia or Australia. If you are a budget travelers looking for the cheapest option we recommend to search your flight via other metasearch websites. (Kayak. Skyscanner).
- Google Flights cooperates with most of major airlines as well as leading OTA such as Expedia however in some cases it will not offer you the cheapest option compared to their competitors since they do not co-operate with all low-cost carriers or small travel agencies. (See below our sample). Google Flights are extremly quick complared to other metasearch engines so if you hunt for the cheapest option my guess is to use Google Flights first then make a price check through Skyscanner or Momondo.
Sample of a search from “All London airports” to “Dusseldorf all airports” through Google Flights and Skyscanner. While Skyscanner offers an option from London Stansted to Dusseldorf Weeze for just €30 roundtrip on Ryanair there is no such aon option with Google Flights. You will see significantly more expensive flights from London Gatwick to Dusseldorf main airport on EasyJet. Travel dates in both cases 20th of May (Outbound) and 27th of May 2019 (Inbound).
What makes Google Flights unique (toward its competitors)
In my opinion the most poweful option of Google Flights is that you can put up to 7 airports of departure. Also you can put up to 7 airports into arrival searching box. (Giving you up to 49 combinations in a single search). There is no other tool in the world allowing this. It makes everything faster moreover it is also great way to track open-jaw tickets. (Click on multi city search). Simply enter your preferred airport(s) of departure and arrival. Choose travel dates and you will get instant offer of the cheapest flights. For instance you can put LHR, AMS, BRU, CDG, FRA. FCO into airport of departure column and JFK, LAX, SFO. DEN, MIA into airport of departure and Google Flights will search for the cheapest option all at once. My experience is that unfotunately in some cases your search does not have any result or if you would put single airport search it gives better result.
Another feature on Google Flights that you will surely find handy is that you can see all the cheapest flights on a world map. (Simply follow this link to Google Flight maps app). This makes your search clearer and gives you instantly an idea what are the cheapest flights on selected routes like. Simply enter your airport of departue in left top corner to see the most interesting deal. As a destination you can enter single airport, country or even continent. Or simply zoom in and out to see whole map.
Firstly you need to set all the details of your flight so choose airport of departure and arrival, whether you search for one-way ticket, round-trip or multi-city flight, number of passengers (Adult, children, infant) and a booking class. (Economy, Economy Premium, Business Class or First Class).
Now it is about to choose your travel dates. Google Flights calendar tool is extremly useful if you are flexible and you are not fixed with your dates. Once you click on travel dates you will see two months calendar showing the cheapest flights available highlighted in green. It shows the best offers for next 12 months so simply search back and forth through the calendar. You can also choose duration of your trip as it may give you different result as well. Play with this option a bit if you are flexible on your travel dates. (In this case on route London to New York).
Once you choose all the details Google Flights will refresh the results and the most interesting deals will pop up (screenshot below). As stated above Google Flights will not automatically offer the cheapest option on top they rather select the most value deals according to ther mechanism. Fortunately the tool offers many ways to filter out the flights that will be the most interesting according to your preferences. You can filter the search by:
- Number of stops (Non-stop flights only, max 1 layover etc..)
- Particular airline or Alliances (Oneworld, Star Alliance, SkyTeam)
- Duration of the layover
- Flight duration (Hidden behind the “More”)
- Connecting airports
TIP.: If you use ITA Matrix to track the fare you will be sometimes not able to see it at Google Flights unless you choose certain airline and or travel date. If you can not find the cheapest flight you spot via Matrix software we recommend you firstly select the carrier the deal is based on. If this still does not help you need to choose certain travel date. Only after this Google Flights shows you the cheapest option available including low-cost calendar..
Once you are ready your flight simply click on “Select flight”. TIP.: If you are not in a hurry and can book your flight later on you can turn on “Track prices” icon to monitor the lowest price for this itinerary and Google Flights will automatically inform you about any price drop on your selected route and travel dates.
Google Flights will conveniently offer you direct booking with the airline or via their preferred booking agents. At this point it is worth to make price check via Skyscanner or Kayak to see whether they can offer lower price via other OTA. (In most of the cases Google Flights allows booking via global leading sites). Remember that the cheapest does not mean the better and you should always book your flight with reliable company. If you do not know which one to use you can also see reviews of the travel companies at Trustpilot. If there is no big price difference then direct booking with the airline is always the safest option.
Google Flights is extremly powerful tool how to find the cheapest flights offering unique options (search from multi-city airports) and loading is lightning fast but there are still lot of things they will need to improve (in many cases it does not offer you the cheapest option nor offer you error fare deals, displays unavailable deals) before it becomes ultimate tool that is . Is there something you would like to add or have any questions? Feel free to contact us at ino (at) flynous.com.