What is Google Flights?
For some time now, I have been hooked by Google Flights. In a couple of months it has been my go-to first stop for flight bookings and price research. I know that’s true for many others who spend an excessive amount of time looking up flight itineraries, comparing options and so on.
Google Flights is one of the most powerful flight search engines on the Internet. It’s straightforward to use, and easily customisable, which makes it a great tool for finding cheap flights.
Whether you’re looking for routing inspiration for your next award trip or trying to find the cheapest cash deals out there, Google Flights — and its monumental amount of data — is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.
Below are the top tricks to get the most out of Google Flights.
Multi-searching & Metropolitan area codes
Multi-searching on Google Flights allows you to search multiple start and end locations to build an itinerary that best suits you. You could, for instance, filter by airports where you are willing to fly from which may reduce the overall flying cost by opening up different flight routes and options (i.e. compare London Heathrow to London Stanstead to Warsaw). alternatively, allow you to search multiple locations where you may wish to visit and highlight the cheapest option (i.e. compare flights to Berlin Tegel, Rome Fiumicino, or Paris Charles de Gaulle in one search)
This leads to Metropolitan Area codes. these codes used by the IATA, FAA and various search engines who have assigned “city codes” to represent several airports serving a metropolitan area.
Pro Tip: Instead of typing London Heathrow (LHR); Gatwick (LGW); Stansted (STN); Luton (LTN); City (LCY) individually every time – Try typing LON instead.
Searching by Map View
Learning to use the map view is great for those trips where you want to go somewhere, anywhere, on a certain date. on the main search page you can input a departure airport and let Google show you the cheapest flight around….
In later revisions Google added the price slider meaning you can see flights anywhere to a price point you are willing to pay
Pro Tip: Try searching “Europe” in the destination airport field to search within the continent instead of typing in multiple countries or cities.
Pro Tip: if you are looking for a non-stop flight – Don’t forget to set stops to 0
Advance Tip – Filter by alliance & travel class and find the cheapest flights to do mile-runs in a given area.
The Date Picker
The date picker is quite a simple feature but not every site has been able to master it. While the idea of displaying price with a given date range is nothing new, it is in fact the speed in which you are able to jump between dates which makes this feature so amazing.
Practical example: Want to do a city break to Athens but not sure which weekend would be the cheapest, using this tool it is easy to run through the list of travel dates in seconds.
Pro Tip: This tool is great if you only want to fly a specific airline – but the airlines website is not as flexible to show you different travel dates and prices easily – making this a good starting point.
Book Together or Separate….Google knows
in some instances, Google will be able to tell you if booking two singles is cheaper than booking a return.
The Date Grid
The price grid shows the prices for flight on a matrix allowing you to see not only how cheap / expensive a ticket is compared to the dates left and right of the days you wish to travel. Additionally, under the right circumstances, it is a good tool to see how long you can push a trip before the ticket prices increases.
Pro Tip: There is no need to go back and change the dates – rather press on a date and move up and down with the arrow keys
The Price Graph
Similar to the Date Grip, the Price graph demonstrates the cheapest price between two destinations on a bar chart.
While this tool (in my opinion) is slightly lesser used that the Date Grid – it is a good visual indicator to see what the cheapest price is within a two month range
If you want to see how good a deal is, Google uses historic data to advise if it thinks the price is low, average or High.
Google Flight Guarantee
If you are lucky, Google will even guarantee the price and pay you back if the price drops any further.
For some flight prices, Google’s algorithms are confident that the price you’re seeing is the lowest available before the flight departs. After you book on Google, they will keep monitoring the price until take-off, and if it drops, you will automatically get the difference back.
while the price guarantee is free, you will only be able to make a claim if the price drops more than £5
Fare Price Alert
By clicking the tracked flight button, Google will keep tabs and automatically notify you if there are changes to the price. over time you can see the price graph trend to see how your price has increased over time.
To enable this function you will need a Google account.
Pro Tip: Flights can be tracked on an entire route or on individual flights