Save Money With Google Flights

Category: Travel

Of all the things that people search for online, air travel arrangements are among the most elusive, frustrating, baffling, and sometimes disappointing – ranking way up there with love and fast money. But Google Flights proves it doesn’t have to be that way. Here's how it works...

Find the Best and Cheapest Flight

Google Flights does what similar sites do. It finds flights to and from destinations, during specified time ranges, non-stop or with layovers. But this search engine’s options go far beyond the basics to make shopping for air travel actually pleasant. Here are six Google Flights options you find amazing.

Google found that a lot of vacation planners start with only a vague idea where they want to go, i. e., “Europe.” So Google Flights lets you pick a general region, then shows you flight destinations and prices in that region. You can even click on the interactive map to see other nearby airports, and the prices to fly to those alternate locations. Often, flying from or to a smaller regional airport saves a lot of hassle.

Alternatively, you can even “feel lucky” and let Google Flights suggest destinations and flights based on your search history and what’s popular. It also displays a graph showing when flights will be cheapest. The “Best flights” checkbox help you decide whether time lost in layovers is worth the money saved by foregoing non-stop flights. Google highlights its pick in green.
Google Flights

A calendar page shows prices for your trip on every day of the coming month, with the cheapest days highlighted in green. This feature alone revolutionizes the shell game of airfare information. You don’t have to re-enter dates and recalculate everything to see what difference is made in the price, or worry about missing the cheapest date. (In playing with this option, I found the price of a particular round trip was cut in half by booking a week earlier; ordinarily, you save more by booking further in advance.) A bar graph at the page’s bottom indicates whether fares are likely to rise or fall.

Money-saving “swaps” are suggested automatically. For instance, choosing to fly out of an alternate airport or a couple of hours earlier can save significant money. And here's another feature I like: Google Flights will tell you the average legroom, and if Wi-Fi, in-seat power and on-demand video are available on your flight.

Getting a Ticket

See my earlier article HOWTO: Get The Lowest Airfares Online for links to Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, and a couple other online air travel reservation sites. You'll also find other helpful online tools for flyers there.

Once you find a flight that interests you, Google Flights can monitor its price. An Android app will check the current price of your “saved itinerary” at any time, and if the price drops dramatically Google will send you an email alert.

You cannot buy a ticket directly via Google Flights, but it does provide you with direct links and phone numbers to the airline(s) so you can book and pay for the flight. If you prefer, you can note the desired flight numbers and dates, then go to another travel site and search for that specific flight. There, you will learn if baggage and other fees apply. (See the inset for links to air travel sites.)

Google Flights is more like an airfare advisor, and not a travel agent. It doesn't make any attempt to build package deals including flight, hotel and rental car. But Google Flights does show how airfare searches could be more useful, transparent, and friendly to travelers. If only air travel sites worked for travelers instead of airlines!

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Save Money With Google Flights"

Posted by:

Dr Ryan James
13 Mar 2015

With the takeovers of Orbits and Travelocity be Expedia, chances are there will not be much use or wasting time checking all of them.

I use Google flights and then use www.hipmunk.com.


Posted by:

Jay
13 Mar 2015

Maybe I'll give Chrome a shot. Great info, as usual. Thanx, Bob! :-)


Posted by:

Jim
15 Mar 2015

Thanks so much for this info. Bob. This is so much faster and easier than all the rest of the travel crap thats on the internet plus you get to save money and time.


Posted by:

Ritu Anand
16 Mar 2015

Great Post Bob. Thanks for it. It will come very handy when traveling. :) Sharing your article for you.


Posted by:

Ritu Anand
16 Mar 2015

Great Post Bob. Thanks for it. It will come very handy when traveling. :) Sharing your article for you.


Posted by:

Georgeofthejungle2
17 Mar 2015

Thanks Bob and just in time... Wife's birthday on the horizon. Very easy to use and not the normal add infested site.


Posted by:

Ken
17 Mar 2015

Thank you, Bob (and Patrick), for all the great information going back to about 1996!! This one is great to know.


Posted by:

Kjay
19 Mar 2015

I am a big user of 'Sky Scanner' I think it is by far the best for booking flights. It has the 'month price' for flights and other great features. I'm yet to try 'Google Flights' but will give it a go next time I look for flights. But do look at 'Sky Scanner' Thanks for the advise and always interesting insights Bob.


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