In the past years, we booked at least 30 flights in every single year. When you fly so often, you want the best deals without spending a lot of time researching for the best flights. Many websites promise the best flight deals, but every single time I book a flight, I use only the flight service provided by Google in order to discover the best offers. I am using Google Flights because it is very convenient to use - no distractions or intrusive ads, you can easily switch between destinations, get price alerts by email, and explore how the price changes if you have flexible flight dates.
What is Google Flights?
Google Flights is a free service provided by Google. It has integration with airlines all over the world and when you search for a flight it shows you all the available flights from different airline companies in a simple and clean interface. You also get the same prices as you would see when going searching for a flight directly on the airline’s website. Google Flights is available on https://www.google.com/travel/flights and you can use it to search for flights all around the world.
Additionally to searching for flights, Google is combining multiple flight options and layovers in order to show you a flight that is cheaper or that might result in a smaller flight duration. You can think of it like Google Maps for the sky. It looks over the infinite number of possible flight routes and finds the best route according to your preferences.
Are the flights on Google Flights the cheapest option?
I have never seen a flight that is cheaper elsewhere than the one you find on Google Flights. What I usually do is to look for a flight using Google Flights and then I book the flight that I like on the company website. I prefer doing so instead of using a third-party service because this way I am sure that in case of a problem, I can contact the airline company directly without having to wait for any intermediary. If you want to use Expedia or a similar service, usually Google shows you a link to the third-party website where you can book the flight you selected on Google Flights.
How can I find the cheapest flight for my dates?
When you search for a flight using Google Flights, you will get a list with many flights operated by different airlines. By default, the flights are sorted by Google showing the “Best Departing Flights” first. That translates into a combination of multiple factors including flight duration, number of stops, price, flight time into the day, and even CO2 emissions. But, you can easily sort the flights by price and thus you will get the cheapest option first.
One thing to note is that the cheapest flights might not always have luggage included. If that is the case, you will see a luggage icon next to the price indicating that you will have to pay extra for luggage when booking the ticket or when you go to the check-in counter before your flight.
You can find better deals if you are flexible
I use Google Flights because it offers me other flight options around the initial flight dates that I search for. You can do this directly on the airline’s website as well, but Google Flights agregates all arilines’s flights in an interface that is very easy to use and it loads blazing fast comparing to airlines’ websites. Additionally, it matches together flights from airline companies in the same sky alliance so that you have the best connections. When I have flexible travel dates, I am using Google Flights in three different ways to find the best flight for me.
By Browsing the Calendar
If you click the calendar to select a new departure/return date, for each single date in the calendar Google will show you the cheapest flight from that specific new date. In the search that I’ve done below, I have the initial return set for Jan 04, but if I would stay for two more days, then I can fly for $222 cheaper than Jan 06. Considering that I usually fly together with my wife, it would be a total of $444 for the two of us. We can easily use these extra money for having fun two extra days in Bangkok.
This option is very helpful when I want to get a picture of the flight prices around the dates that I am flying. I use this as a reserach tool before setting on a specific period for my trip. It helps me decide when it is the best time to fly to a specific destination and save some money on the flight.
My favorite: The Grid Tool
The grid tool is the best option, and my favorite one, when it comes to finding the cheapest flights and when you have full flexibility for your trips. You can see what is the cheapest flight for each departing day combined with each return day. In the search that I’ve done initially, I had Dec 28 as the departing date and Jan 04 as the return date. The cheapest flight for these dates is $998, but I can get a much better deal of $754 if I depart two days earlier on Dec 26 and return on Jan 06. The trip is longer this way, but I can save $244 per person which are more than 20% of the initial price for my dates. Remember that I almost never fly solo, then it would be $488 for me and my wife. That is a lot of money especially considering the costs of living in Thailand.
This tool is very helpful when I can travel only for a specific number of days, but I have some degree of flexibility about when to leave/return from the trip. Google Flights will show you the cheapest flights day by day for a trip of a fixed number of days. In the same example, if I can change my trip dates from Dec 28 - Jan 04 to Jan 06 - Jan 13 then I can reduce the trip costs by $298 per person which is more than a quarter of the initial price shown for my dates.
I use this last search option to see how the prices change if I can travel only for a specific number of days. Thus, I can decide when it is the best time to travel to a specific destination and prioritize my next trips. Many times, it helped me avoid very crowded periods when there might be a lot of tourists in a specific destination.
How do I know that the price is a good deal?
Google has been tracking flights for many years and it keeps a record of all price changes. By looking at the price history, it is possible to see how expensive a flight is right now and how the price has moved over the last 60 days. If prices are high it doesn’t necessarily mean that they cannot go higher or if they are low that they cannot get even lower.
When I find a flight that I personally consider a good deal I book it right away, no matter what the price indicator says. Nevertheless, I tend to wait some more days when prices are higher to see how the things evolve. I am not a big fan of waiting for the best deal because I don’t want to miss a good deal while waiting for a better one.
All in all, Google Flights is probably the best tool for finding good flights for your next destination if you can afford some flexibility for your trip dates. It is the product we’ve been using for years and we have always been very happy with it and with the deals we found using it. If you want to learn more about how to travel better, check out our Travel Tips section.
It takes a lot of planning for the perfect trip, but packing can sometimes be frustrating. Either packing too many things or packing too few can ruin a bit of the fun. We've perfected our travel packing checklist over the years, and we believe it will be of good use for you too. We also have some travel packing tips & tricks to share to save you the hustle we once had.
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