Before Google Flights launched in 2011, searching for a flight was pretty exhausting. People might spend hours looking up different airlines’ website to see if they could get the best price.
Now Google Flights has quickly become the best and easiest option for those looking to find good fares on tickets. It has lots of features that make booking flights so much smoother and a lot faster!
Where do I start?
Whether you’re looking for a flight for an upcoming event, or a family vacation, your best bet is to start on Google Flights.
For example let’s say your planning on going to Portland, Oregon during the month of August for your sister’s wedding. The dates you need to be there are August 22nd through the 29th.
First you will go to Google Flights. You’ll plug in your departure city as ‘Salt Lake City.’ For your destination you would plug in Portland, Oregon. Make sure that it says ‘Round Trip’ above your departure city.
To the right of that will be a little calendar icon as well as your travel dates. By clicking on that, it will bring up a calendar menu. You can either just plug in the dates you need or use the arrows to go to your desired month and click your dates. If you want to see exactly how much it will be, make sure at the bottom of the calendar it says 7 days.
You can scroll down to see what flight works best for you or if you prefer a certain airline or not. Click on the departing flight and then the return flight of your choice.
You will then have the choice to book Basic Economy which will always be your cheapest option, or you can upgrade to Main Cabin or Delta Comfort+. It will say what is included in each flight. It is important to know that you don't book flights on Google's website, but rather on the airline's website that you decide to use. Think of Google Flights as a search engine for flights. Once you decide, you will click on the tab that says ‘Book with Delta.’
This will redirect you to Delta’s website where you will put in your information and card info. You will then get an email confirmation with all the details of your flight.
How Does Google Flights help me save money?
Being flexible with when you want to travel can save you hundreds! By using the Google Flights Calendar option, you can view the cheapest flights in green on each given day!
You can also filter to a specific month you want to travel in. Just make sure when you click the Calendar icon you select Flexible dates. This is a great option if you want to book a flight this year but you’re not sure when. You can search for a 1 week trip in the next 6 months, and that will show you the best prices for that destination.
One useful option is messing around with the days of the trip. For example an 8 or a 6 day itinerary might be cheaper than the normal 7 days.
Another great tool on Google Flights is the ‘Flight Insights.’ This will pop up at the bottom of the page when you have already selected your desired flights. It will show you if the flight you chose is cheaper than usual, typical for this destination, or higher than usual. This can help if you’re not familiar with flight prices and are wanting to see if it’s a good deal or not.
Buying two one-way tickets can also be a good option. It used to be that One-Way tickets were always more expensive, but now every once and awhile it can actually save you money.
How to Filter your Search
Everyone has a preference for what airline they like to fly with, if they want non-stop flights, if they don’t mind budget airlines etc. Probably one of its most useful features on Google Flights is being able to filter out certain areas. At the top of the Explore page, there are 4 filter options: Stops, Airlines, Bags, and Duration.
If you wish to have Non-stop only flights, one stop or fewer, or 2 stops and fewer, this could be a useful feature for you.
Filtering out airlines makes finding flights on Full-Service Airlines so easy! Just click on the Airlines tab and deselect any airline you don’t want. If you don’t enjoy flying with Budget Airlines, I would suggest clicking Frontier, or Allegiant so you don’t see their prices. If you love flying with Delta, then click every airline but them, and so on.
This tab is important if you want a carry-on bag to be included in the price you see. Most budget airlines, as well as United will have lower fares, but you might end up paying just the same, due to baggage fees.
This isn’t a tab I use often, but if you’re flying to a place such as Australia or Asia and you’re looking for the shortest flight time, using this might help.
Common Questions when using Google Flights —
What does it mean when it says, “Call Airline”?
When you choose your flights and there is no link to click on to book, and it says “Call Airline” or “book with a travel agent” it is pretty likely that the fare is no longer available at that price, but it’s definitely worth a shot to call and see if they can honor it for you!
How do I book a Multi-city trip?
While on the Explore page, right above the dates it should say Round Trip. If you click on that you can change it to say multi-city. Then you can put in as many as 5 different destinations. The only bummer about this is that you will lose out on seeing the price calendar. You can always pull up another tab and search using one-way flights and then plug those into your multi-city search.
Will Google Flights always have the cheapest flights?
Yes and no. A lot of the deals we send out utilize Google Flights because it is user friendly and allows you to book directly with the airline, which is always your safest bet. However, it sometimes doesn’t have the cheapest fares. That’s why we sometimes send out deals using Skyscanner or Momondo. After picking your flight on Google, try plugging your dates into those third-party websites to possibly get a better price!
What if I’m not finding a price you sent in an email?
If the link we sent you in an email has jumped to a higher price, then either that specific date is no longer available or the whole deal has expired. Just because that certain link isn’t the same price, don’t forget to go to the calendar option and see if other dates are available—most of the time they are. If you’re not seeing the price that we sent out, then it is most likely gone. However, when we send out emails, we almost always try to include a second option. A lot of times the prices will stay around longer on 3rd party websites, so don’t give up hope yet and make sure to check those out!