Newsflash: Google is taking over the internet. That’s nothing new. But now they’ve rendered my favourite flight search engines practically useless. See ya Skyscanner. Adios Adioso. Move over ITA Matrix. Google Flights is now my “go to” for searching flights. Here’s why you should start using Google Flights to plan your travels:

Why You Should Start Using Google Flights to Plan Your Travels

How to Use Google Flights to Find the Best & Cheapest Ways to Fly

Instantly See What Dates Are Cheapest

Google Flights makes it SO EASY to see the cheapest date to fly your desired route. One of the keys to saving money on flights is to be flexible with your dates and their calendar layout makes it easy to identify cheaper days to fly without clicking anything.

Let’s say I wanted to fly from Toronto to Amsterdam on 21 May. Pop in some dates and…

Google Flights Calendar View

I can instantly see that it’s cheaper to switch my travel plans by a day and fly on 22 May instead, saving almost $300.

 

Finds the Cheapest Hub

Just got a general idea of where you want to head and want the cheapest way to get there? Google Flights makes it easy to find the cheapest hub in a region. Let’s say I’m a Kiwi who wants to take a trip around South East Asia. Just a casual jaunt around Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. As many of us do. Flights to Ho Chi Min City, well they’re expensive from Auckland. Just click on the map view and, hey…

Google Flights Map View

Google conveniently shows me that it’s far cheaper to fly into Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur before making my way to Vietnam.

 

Fare Information is Up-to-Date & Reliable

Too many times have I been lured by a low price on Skyscanner, clicked on a site to buy and been told the fare is no longer available. Or even worse, when making a broad search getting the “Check Prices” button or a blank portion of their bar graph for searching lowest fares over a set of dates. I’ve found Skyscanner has gotten less and less reliable over recent months.

 

Easily See Prices for Different Fares without Running a New Search

If you’re trying to find fares in higher class cabins, you don’t need to run a new search to make the comparison. Just click on the button that says “Economy” in the top right corner and you’ll see the cheapest option for each fare class on the route you’ve specified.

Google Flights Different Fare Class View

Wouldn’t you be temped to spend an extra $400 to upgrade to Business Class on a long flight from Miami to Buenos Aires?

Offers Good Alternatives

Google Flights will also point out where you can save money by choosing to fly from a nearby airport. Just like in the example above. You can save yourself $52 by flying from Fort Lauderdale (21 miles away) instead of Miami International.

 

Identifies Value for Money Fares, Not Just the Cheapest

Google Flights will also let you know when there is a better value option available. You might find the cheapest fare but it’ll have an extra stop. Google will tell you that, for a few extra dollars, you could go direct. Or even better, when it might actually be only a little more to upgrade to business class.

 

Let’s You Set Up Fare Alerts

Sometimes it pays to search for flights and then monitor it over a few weeks. Fares do fluctuate as time to flight draws nearer. Sometimes it goes up, sometimes it goes down. (“They” say the optimal time to purchase is six weeks out from travel.) Create an itinerary and then, at the bottom below purchase options, click “Save This Itinerary”. You’ll need the Google Now app to monitor the prices and you’ll get an email letting you know if prices drop so you can purchase the fare.

 

Looking for Inspiration?

If you’re not sure where you want to go but you just need to get away, do an “I’m feeling lucky” search. Put in your city of origin plus dates, click on the map and then on the “I’m feeling lucky” button. Let’s pretend I live in Las Vegas and I need a long weekend away later this month.

Google Flights I'm Feeling Lucky View

BINGO! $58 return to Denver. (Side note: Wow, that’s cheap.) Don’t like the answer? Just keep clicking “I’m feeling lucky” until you find something that piques your interest or fits your budget.

 

What Google Flights Doesn’t Do

All you Southwest fans will still have to make a separate search on the airline’s website but at least Google Flights recognising your route as a Southwest route and prompts you to check with the airline. The same goes for Easyjet in Europe.

You can’t book directly with Google Flights. It’s merely a tool to search for the best deal. Of course, Google will tell you where to get that deal and with a click of a button you’ll be redirected to the airline (or booking engine) website where the fare will be waiting for you.

 

So, have I convinced you?

Get ready to harness the power of Google Flights next time you’re planning a trip!

Bethaney Davies
A traveller for over ten years, Bethaney started blogging here on Flashpacker Family in early 2012. She founded the site to encourage and inspire travel and travel with small children and to share her own stories from the road.
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Showing 44 comments
  • Kim
    Reply

    Thanks for this. I am just in the beginning stages of planning a 3 month trip with our 4 children and trying to keep prices down. Very helpful

  • Vanessa
    Reply

    I feel like I am so behind on the times! I just discovered SkyScanner!

  • Travelwith2ofus
    Reply

    I thought it was me alone, but that is my go to flight search now. Great info.

  • Sophie
    Reply

    I did not know this existed – will definitely take a look when I am planning my next trip!

  • Amanda Kendle
    Reply

    I think it was you who told me about this somewhere last week and I have been hammering it – it’s so brilliant! How come no other side got it figured out this well? Loving it.

  • Joe Ankenbauer
    Reply

    Here I thought I had a pretty good system! Great read! I’ll definitely be using this in the future.

  • Stacey Valle
    Reply

    Am I convinced? Absolutely! I never used Google Flight, but it looks really legit! I’ve been using Skyscanner, and you’re right, it’s getting less reliable for the past few months. Thanks for the post! (:

  • Christa
    Reply

    This is SO helpful! This site takes care of so many things that I used to do by hand on Expedia or Priceline. The only time I’ve used Skyscanner is for general inspiration, to go on there and see what’s a cheap flight during a week that we want to take vacation. But it looks like Google Flights can do that too, a little better in fact because I love the visual maps. Are there any other airlines besides Southwest that are excluded?

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      The prices for Easyjet don’t come up but it does alert you to the fact that Easyjet has a fare on that route that you might want to check out. Ryanair’s prices display though.

  • Paige Conner Totaro
    Reply

    This is great, Bethaney! I hadn’t given Google Flights a try yet, but I certainly will now.

  • Karianne
    Reply

    Wow, I’ve never even heard of GoogleFlights – I’ve been using SkyScanner! I will definitely be checking this out for our next trip though! Thanks for the advice!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      I’ve just been finding Skyscanner to be less and less reliable lately. Like when you search a month, nothing comes up except “Check prices” which is pretty useless. This is so much better IMO.

  • Tanya Harry
    Reply

    Okay you broke me down! I’ve heard of Google flights for a while now, but have managed to resist… It’s time for me to book a number of trips, so it’s time to give it a go! Very informative post, nice job!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      It should definitely make things easier and cheaper for you Tanya.

  • Alli
    Reply

    Holy moly . . . did not know this existed! Wow! Definitely something to check out the next time I’m looking up flights 🙂 Thanks!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Lots of people don’t! I use Google for everything else so why not flights too.

  • Andrea
    Reply

    Yes! I hate spending money on flights. It’s where my wallet goes to die. Great tips that I will be using like tomorrow aha! 😀

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Lol. That’s hilarious Andrea! Glad I could help your wallet live another day.

  • Vicky and Buddy
    Reply

    This is SO helpgul. I’ve been using Skyscanner recently and have really found it helpful, but it seems I’m hearing more and more people talking about Google Flights. For once I’d like to be ahead of the curve LOL

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      I used to use Skyscanner too but I find this so much more reliable.

  • Jean Smith
    Reply

    Fantastic article, thanks for the info. We are in our tenth month of travel, so obviously we have to book a lot of flights. I feel like I am skipping around everywhere across the internet trying to figure out the best way to book, how to find the cheapest flights, blah blah. I have never even tried google flights. I’m for sure gonna now!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      It’s even more important to find the best deals if you’re travelling so frequently, right Jean? Good luck with your searches.

  • Adam
    Reply

    Bethaney, what an awesome write up! I’m a Program Manager on Google Flights, and this just made my day (and I’ll be sure to share it with my teammates).

    By the way, did you know that you can actually use a region as a destination? For instance, if you have friends you want to visit around Europe and are flexible as to where in Europe you fly into, you can type “Europe” as the destination; you’ll see a map centered on Europe (with options and prices), and some colorful place suggestions down the page. 🙂

    Oh, and I’m curious… how did you initially learn about Flights?

    Anyway, thanks again for the thoughtful post and let me know if you have questions about or ideas for Flights! Our team is super-passionate about making travel accessible and we love feedback 🙂

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks so much for reading & commenting. I’m so glad you liked my post. I started using Google Flights last year when we were looking at flights to Miami, Puerto Rico and Mexico and it worked so well for me. Used it again just recently to find fares to Paris too.

      I’ll update the post with your tip about searching via region. It’s a great one!

      Bethaney

      • Adam
        Reply

        Ah, super! And my team and I are so happy to see all the friendly and kind comments, too (you’ve built up a nice community here!). Oh, and glad the region tip was helpful 🙂

        Happy travels!

  • jo
    Reply

    Clever girl. Love it. This is brill!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Thanks Jo! You should definitely check it out next time you are searching for flights.

  • Veronika
    Reply

    That’s awesome Bethaney, thank you! I only used the ITA search software by Google in the past, but this Google Flight Search tool makes it even easier and more user-friendly. Now I have to hold myself back from checking it out instantly, this could become dangerous! 😀

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      I used to do the same Veronika but it just seems less clunky to use that the ITA software, even though that’s what powers the Google Flights.

  • Rachel
    Reply

    I already booked my next trip — using skyscanner but having to go and check whatever info it gave me, since it didn’t always show the lowest prices. I’ll definitely try this out for the next trip! I hope they eventually add all the budget airlines, though!

  • Sally
    Reply

    I ave used Google flights a few times and find it a lot easier than sky scanner. I do find however, they both can leave off the really cheap air lines, Nok Air for example.

  • Natalie Deduck
    Reply

    Great tips!!
    For sure I will try Google Flights, it´s always good to have more tool to search and find the cheapest way to travel… Now in Europe we are traveling with Eurail Pass, but definitely I will use google flights to check the fares to South America or Southeast Asia (we are not sure where will be our next stop)!
    Safe travels,
    Nat

  • Erin Southerland
    Reply

    I’ve recently started using Google Flights as well and I’m in love. Thanks for breaking down all the awesome things about this tool!

  • Chris
    Reply

    I’ve never used Google Flights, but will be sure to check it out.

    In truth, I’ve never used just one search engine in any case, but the most useful one of late has been Momondo which has several similar features 🙂

  • Reply

    Google Flights seems like a great resource! Thank you so much for compiling such an in-depth description. I’m sure this post will be helpful for people who want to travel but also want to find the best deals possible.

  • Camille
    Reply

    Such a great post – why am I always behind on eveything?! I’m still using good old Skyscanner (and of course Air Asia within Asia). I had no idea Google Flights had all these functionalities… I’m gonna start playing with it right now! 🙂

  • David
    Reply

    I still prefer ITA Matrix over Google Flights. Both are owned by the behemoth. I’m sure we will see a bunch of integration between them to help us all out in the long run.

  • Sabine
    Reply

    Cool! I was also one of the Skyscanner users and I got annoyed lately as often the displayed prices are not valid or available when you actually try and book…

    I just checked some flights from Zurich to London on Google Flights and the easyjet flights are now displayed… At least for this routing.

  • DigitalEdge.org
    Reply

    All you Southwest fans will still have to make a separate search on the airline’s website but at least Google Flights recognising your route as a Southwest route and prompts you to check with the airline. The same goes for Easyjet in Europe.

  • PBSDigitalNation
    Reply

    Am I convinced? Absolutely! I never used Google Flight, but it looks really legit! I’ve been using Skyscanner, and you’re right, it’s getting less reliable for the past few months. Thanks for the post! (:

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