The Ultimate Guide to Using Google Flights

The Ultimate Guide to Using Google Flights

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Google Flights is one of the most effective tools on the internet for finding affordable flight deals.

Google Flights is a simple, quick and effective tool for finding the best flights available for your desired dates.

  • Flexible flight search: You can use this web interface to search for round trip, one way and multi-destination flights, or use its handy calendar and price graph to find the best fares for flexible dates.
  • Filtering: Google Flights also offers an unprecedented amount of filtering options to make finding the specific flight you're looking for easier than ever. You can filter for things like cabin class, number of stops, airline, baggage allowances, departure and arrival times, connecting airports and more.
  • Other useful features: Google Flights also includes a number of helpful features that are useful for planning a well-rounded trip, including price alerts, hotels, things to do, vacation rentals and beyond.
  • Comprehensive flight search: With over 300 partnering airline and travel agencies, Google Flights offers its users one of the most comprehensive flight finding experiences available.

Note, however, that some airlines don't list their fares on Google Flights, so you'll have to go to their website directly to check for available flights. One major example of excluded airlines is Southwest. If you're looking to cover all your bases when it comes to finding the best possible flight for your situation, consider doing a quick check on Skyscanner (which does include Southwest flights) as well for a more complete approach.

How to use Google Flights

While Google Flights has a number of useful features, most users will take advantage of its basic flight searching capabilities. Below are the steps for using Google Flights:

  1. Head to Google Flights

  2. Select your dates and departure and arrival cities (you can select up to seven cities each for more flexible searching). Choose whether you're searching for a one-way, multi-city or round-trip flight.

flights
  1. Click "Search". You will then receive a list of the best departing flights. You can filter these results by number of stops, cabin class, number of seats, baggage allowance, airline, price and more at the top of the page.
times
  1. Select your desired flight for each leg of your trip and view the final price of your trip.

  2. Select how you would like to book your trip. Typically Google Flights will direct you to the flight carrier or travel agency's website directly to make your booking. You may be directed to book your tickets separately through each airline.

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bookingoptions
  1. Once you've booked your flight, you can make all changes, cancellations and flight additions with the airline directly.

Other noteworthy Google Flights features

Explore

Price Calendar

Flight alerts

The Explore feature on Google Flights allows users to search for flights anywhere by choosing from a list of popular destinations. Use the map to discover great deals in places that interest you. Use the location, date and price toggles to narrow your search and find cheap flight inspiration.

google

Explore

The Explore feature on Google Flights allows users to search for flights anywhere by choosing from a list of popular destinations. Use the map to discover great deals in places that interest you. Use the location, date and price toggles to narrow your search and find cheap flight inspiration.

google

Price Calendar

Google Flights' calendar feature allows you to view flight prices for dates months down the line. If you can be flexible with your departure dates, this tool can be incredibly helpful for finding the cheapest possible flight options.

calendar

With the price graph tool, users are able to view pricing trends for various weeks or months in order to determine which travel dates will be cheapest. Again, if you have flexible dates, this tool can be invaluable.

Flight alerts

Finally, Google Flights allows you to set flight alerts for your desired routes, so you can get notified when prices drop. This feature allows you to book your flight at the most cost-effective moment.

Flight alerts

Is Google Flights worth it?

Google Flights is definitely worth it for most travelers. Google Flights is completely free to use and populates thousands of flights in an instant.

With a simple interface and multiple features allowing for filtered results specific to your needs, many travelers will find this search engine useful for booking all types of travel.

However, it's important to note that Google Flights does not include some major airlines, like Southwest, Air China, China Eastern and others. Other airlines, like Aeromexico and Interjet only display some flights, but not all on Google Flights. If you're an avid Southwest flyer, using Google Flights likely will not be worth it for you.

Tip: Use Google Flights to find award flights by searching using the "airlines" filter. You can choose to filter by one particular airline (or multiple airlines) or by an entire airline alliance. If you know you have points or miles with an airline, this feature can help you find flights you may be able to book by using rewards.

Pros

  • Quickly finds months' worth of available flights
  • Uncomplicated interface
  • Includes a broad range of airlines
  • Various filtering options
  • Many helpful features for finding cheap fares
  • Allows you to track flight schedules so you get notified when the price drops

Cons

  • Doesn't include some major airlines, like Southwest
  • Doesn't always show the lowest fares on the internet
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Benefits

  • Date grid and price graph features — Along with the calendar feature, Google Flights lets users view a date grid and price graph to compare which dates will offer the cheapest flights. For travelers with flexible dates, these tools can be extremely helpful.
  • Comprehensive trip planning tools — Beyond its flight search functionality, Google Flights also includes tools for finding hotels, things to do, vacation rentals and travel tips in your destination.
  • Track prices feature — Sign up to get email alerts for flight schedules you're tracking. That way you can book your flight once the prices drop.
  • Share your itinerary — Google Flights allows you to copy your flight itinerary link to send to yourself or a friend. Alternatively, you can share your flight itinerary directly to Facebook and Twitter.
  • Search multiple airports at once feature — With Google Flights, you can input up to seven departure and arrival cities at once to save time when searching for flexible flights.

Drawbacks

  • Not all airlines are included with Google Flights — Fares from Southwest and other major international airlines won't show up in the Google Flights search engine, so you need to search the carrier site directly.
  • Google Flights prices don't include all additional fees —- Baggage fees and other carrier-specific taxes and fees are not included in the Google Flights fare. Things like seat selection and adding bags will be added onto the original fare.

Is Google Flights the best search engine?

Google Flights is without a doubt one of the best search engines available for flight comparisons. However, it's not perfect. Other flight search tools also have many of the same features and make up for the things that Google Flights lacks.

For example, Skyscanner flights can sometimes be cheaper than what's being offered by the airline directly. This is because they're able to search their network of online travel agencies (OTAs) which can offer better deals. As we previously mentioned, Skyscanner also includes Southwest flights and various other airlines not included by Google Flights. In order to find the absolute best flight routes and prices, we would recommend using Google Flights in conjunction with Skyscanner or another online search engine.

Google Flights
Skyscanner
Searches small OTAs
Searches multiple airports
Flexible dates feature
Price tracking data
Includes other travel features (besides flight searching)

Tips for using Google Flights

  1. Use the airline filter feature to help find potential award flights. If you're a member of an airline or airline alliance reward program, filtering for your desired airline partners can help you book award flights.
  2. Search for multiple departure and arrival cities. If your plans are flexible, this feature can save you time when searching multiple flight routes.
  3. Use the Explore feature. Google Flights' Explore can not only inspire your next vacation destination, but it can help you to find the cheapest flights available for your dates and desired location.
  4. Sign up for price alerts. Once you've found your flight route, set up price alerts so you'll receive an email when the price changes. This feature will indicate when it's the best time to book.
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Top cards to use for Google Flights

The ideal credit cards to use for Google Flights purchases will be general travel rewards cards or co-branded airline cards. Because Google Flights offers users a list of varying airlines, a general travel rewards card will allow you to earn and potentially redeem rewards on your Google Flights purchases.

Similarly, if Google Flights suggests a flight on an airline you have a co-branded credit card for, you'll be able to earn and redeem points for that particular flight purchase. For example, if you have the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and Google Flights suggests a Delta flight, you'll be able to earn credit card points toward your Delta purchase or redeem your preexisting points to pay for your flight.

Credit card
Annual fee
Welcome offer
Earning rate
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
On Chase's Secure Website
$95Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases
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Google Flights FAQs

Why is Google Flights the best?

While there are other great flight search engines out there, Google Flights has one of the most comprehensive ranges of partnering airlines and travel agencies to help you find the best flight for your needs. Google Flights is free, works quickly and includes several other helpful travel features beyond its basic flight search capabilities.

Does Googling flights make them more expensive?

No, Googling flights does not make them more expensive. In fact, using the Google Flights search engine can help you find some of the cheapest flight deals on the internet.

Why are Google Flights cheaper?

Because Google Flights sources its flights directly from the airlines, Google Flights are not innately cheaper. However, the website does include several tools that allow users with flexible dates and destinations to find the cheapest flights available, and you can also track different flight schedules and wait to buy them until the price goes down.

Is booking through Google Flights safe?

Yes, booking through Google Flights is safe. Google Flights simply creates a list of available flights for your preferred dates and destinations and then directs you to book your flights securely with the airline you've chosen.

Are Google Flights prices accurate?

Yes, Google Flights prices are accurate. Google Flights collects flight fares from a number of different available airlines to come up with a list of the best flight options. From there, you can book your flight directly with the carrier.

Are Google Flights free?

Using the Google Flights service is completely free. However, once you select a flight from the Google Flights selection, you will have to pay for your chosen fare.

For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).