Sometimes traveling isn’t necessarily about the destination. With the added complexity of COVID-19 travel restrictions, planning a trip can be a challenging feat. If you anticipate some time off in the future but don’t know where to travel, look no further.
United Airlines has added a new “Map Search” feature that makes finding flight deals easier. Instead of having multiple tabs open with various routes and dates, this new tool takes the frustration out of finding your next flight. By displaying all flights on one map as you toggle your dates and various filters, you can plan your next trip in record time.
If you’re familiar with using Google Flights, United’s new Map Search tool is powered by Google Flight Search Enterprise Technology. United has launched the beta version of this tool and is collaborating with Google to continually make improvements in response to customer feedback.
How to conduct a search
You can find this new tool on United’s homepage. Within its classic search function, you can click “Advanced search” for more specific reservations, and then, “Map Search.” Alternatively, you can click here to go directly to “Map Search.”
Once you’re here, you can narrow your search down with the following filters:
- Roundtrip vs. One-way
- Flexible dates vs. Specific dates
- Max price
- Nonstop only
- Filter by interest
You can move around the map by dragging to a given area you’re interested in, or by zooming in or out. The map will then recalculate and give you flights that match all the given criteria.
Filter by interest
A unique aspect of this new tool is the ability to “Filter by interest.” By clicking this button, you’re able to select as many (or as little) travel interests. This list includes:
- Beer & breweries
- Food & drink
- National parks
- Skiing & snowboarding
- Snorkeling & scuba
This feature ultimately enhances the value of the “Map Search” feature, as you’re able to find new destinations you may not have considered before. The more specific you get, the more the search engine will tailor destinations to your preferences.
Set your dates and price
With this tool, you can also be as flexible or as particular as you’d like. The search engine will find you the cheapest flights over a wide range of dates by searching for flexible dates. Meanwhile, if you have specific dates, the search engine will only display flights that work for you.
Another useful function is the ability to enter your “Max price.” Simply enter how much you’re willing to pay for a flight, and the map shows you flights within your budget. Finally, if you’re only willing to take nonstop flights, you can indicate that as well.
Use in tandem with United’s existing search features
Once you find a flight that appeals to you, click through the search result to book the flight. It will direct you to the original search engine results, where you’re able to leverage those tools to make some modifications.
Here, you’re able to change your search to award travel, showing you the price in MileagePlus miles only. You can also use United’s flexible calendar or +/- three-day matrix to find additional flights around the dates selected.
Using these existing tools in tandem with the new Map Feature can help you find the perfect flight.
Amid many negative changes to travel throughout the pandemic, the new “Map Search” feature from United is among the more positive additions. As we’re forced to rethink travel and find safer and social distancing-friendly destinations, this tool can prove extremely valuable. For an updated list of where you can (and can’t) travel within the United States, read our travel guide.