Did you know that Google first debuted in September 1998? To say the company has come a long way since the early days is an understatement. The search engine giant powers websites, email services, and everything in between.
Google even provides a powerful tool to research and find the best flights at the best prices. That tool is Google Flights. But it wasn’t always that way. For years, travelers had to wade through travel sites, poorly designed booking forums, or visit shady travel agents. Since 2011, Google Flights has solved that problem, serving as the go-to flight search engine for millions of travelers.
Google Flights uses a host of features to explore destinations, filter preferred flight features, and track the best prices on routes you’re interested in. As time passes, the Google Flights page continues to increase in functionality, so if you aren’t familiar with it, you’ll want to read this article!
But a question remains: Are Google Flights cheaper than the alternative? We explore that question in this post and give you key tips to help you use Google Flights to find affordable flights virtually anywhere in the world.
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Is Google Flights Actually Cheaper?
Finding cheap flights is the priority of millions of travelers. Still, knowing which flight deals are the best can be challenging. By and large, you can find the cheapest flights on Google Flights. But it is not for every traveler.
For example, those on a shoestring budget may find lower prices through online travel agencies (OTAs), like Skyscanner, Kayak, Expedia, or Orbitz, who often cut deals with airline providers. However, these flights are far from quality, and many are the most basic economy class available.
It’s also important to know that some companies, like Southwest Airlines, don’t list fares on Google Flights. That means you’ll need to search directly with the airline’s website to find tickets.
Regardless of these shortcomings, Google Flights shows the cheapest prices on flights for a large number of travelers. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t explore other websites to have more options, but you should use it as a tool for comparing flight prices since it may help you find the best deal within your parameters.
Google Flights vs. Traditional Booking
The differences between Google Flights and traditional booking aren’t always obvious, so it’s not surprising that many people wonder whether using Google Flights is really worth it. The truth is that booking directly from an airline also has its merits, and you don’t have to replace this method with Google Flights.
The main difference between Google Flights and traditional booking is the search process. Whereas a specific airline’s website will only show their flights, Google lets you compare the prices for all the airlines offering that route. For example, if you want to go to Rome, you can compare deals with United, American, Delta, and more! This comparison makes shopping for the cheapest flights easy, especially if you are flexible with airlines or travel dates.
After finding the best deal, Google Flights provides plenty of booking options. The airline’s website is often the cheapest place to reserve your airfare, but you may also be directed to a third-party website like Expedia or Booking if they offer a better price.
What Makes Google Flights Cheaper?
Google Flights differs from online travel agents because it’s a global distribution platform. This worldwide reach allows airlines to publish their airfares directly. Unlike other booking websites, Google Flights presents travelers with a comprehensive overview of available options in real time. This capability benefits travelers in many ways, making it possible to:
- Compare months’ worth of flight prices, allowing you to find the cheapest month to fly
- Quickly spot the best days to fly on an easy-to-read calendar
- Search multiple airports at once to find the cheapest departing and arrival airports, which is crucial for flying internationally
- Compare multi-city routes to decide how to arrange your trip. For example, flying to Barcelona before visiting Madrid can save hundreds of dollars and allow you to see more on your next trip.
The tools and filters that make Google Flights a powerful search engine make it the perfect place to research your next trip. But to get the absolute best price on business class flights, you’ll need an industry expert. You’ll need Business Class Experts, the airline insiders who put premium cabins first, allowing you to find the best deals on the most comfortable seats.
How To Use Google Flights Effectively
The lowest price often doesn’t mean the best flight or deal. Sometimes, the best prices require sacrificing comfort or spending an extra day traveling. Even worse, you may save $50 on your flight, only to turn around and spend it on outlandish carry-on fees! If you want to avoid 18-hour layovers and expensive baggage fees (that are all too common on low-cost airlines), you need to balance comfort and price.
Google Flights has settings that make it easy to whittle out these undesirable flights, but you need to know how to use the search engine effectively. Here’s how you can maximize the potential of Google Flights to book flights at the lowest prices.
Filtering Your Travel Dates
One of Google Flights’ best features is the plethora of options to see when the cheapest travel dates are. Booking sites often show you only the most affordable flights for the specific dates you choose but don’t always allow you to be flexible with your search. Google Flights breaks that trend with tools like the calendar view and date grid. These filters show you the cheapest dates to fly—even what day of the week is the most affordable!
Finding cheap airline tickets is easier when you have flexible dates, and Google Flights takes advantage of the price changes from week to week. The result is more informed decisions when it comes time to book. Of course, if you want to benefit from this capability, you’ll have to be flexible with your dates. If possible, plan your vacation around the cheapest dates instead of booking your airfare around your desired travel dates. This practice can make traveling much more affordable!
Exploring Nearby Destinations
Like travel dates, location can make a huge difference, with flights to larger airports costing less on average than smaller regional airports. Let’s say your dream vacation is a trip to Europe. Now, Europe is a vague area, but Google Flights’ explore map gives travelers an overview of which destinations might be more affordable.
The map feature allows you to explore popular destinations like the Caribbean, Mexico, and Africa! You can also explore nearby locations by selecting the multi-city filter or elect a layover in a city of your choice. Both options open the door to exploring more of the world in one trip. Google Flights makes researching that possibility straightforward.
Your departure airport can also affect the overall price of your airfare, so it’s best to be flexible when it comes to this as well. Although not everyone has several airports within a reasonable distance, cities like New York have plenty of options. Instead of selecting a specific airport, Google Flights can search for flights from Newark, LaGuardia, JFK, and more! This feature can make it much easier to find the best deal without comparing all the nearby airports one by one.
Using the Comparison Feature
Google’s powerful flight search engine gives users complete control over flight options. To harness the full potential of Google Flights’ comparison feature and secure the best deals tailored to your preferences, follow these steps.
- Start Your Search
Begin your search by entering your departure and destination details. Remember to be flexible with your dates and departure airport!
- Evaluate Your Results
Review the suggested departing flights. These are algorithmically determined to be optimal, but you have the flexibility to explore alternatives if they aren’t what you’re looking for.
- Compare Departing Results
Select a flight that interests you and click the “Compare” button to see how it differs from another available flight. This feature helps you determine which flight is a better value rather than simply focusing on the price.
- Use Powerful Filters
To customize your results, utilize several filters to help you find the perfect flight. Here are some of the filter options Google offers:
- Number of stops: Opt for nonstop flights for convenience or select layovers for cheaper prices
- Round trip, one-way, or multi-city: Tailor your search based on your travel itinerary
- Preferred airline or airline alliances: Select specific carriers or alliances for loyalty perks
- Baggage allowances: Factor in your luggage needs
- Time of day: Choose flights that align with your itinerary or preferences
- Emissions: Make eco-conscious choices
- Flight duration: Balance cost and comfort by assessing flight duration
- Optimize for Comfort
The cheapest fare is often the least comfortable. That’s why Google provides many options for finding flights and the best deal with the most creature comforts. You’ll even get a flight alert if your selected flights are from separate airlines.
Setting Up Fare Alerts
Ensuring you get the best deal on your ideal flight is a breeze with Google Flights’ fare alert feature. Here’s a guide to setting up price alerts and staying informed about price drops!
- Identify your Ideal Flight
Begin by finding your desired destination and selecting a flight, even if Google indicates that current prices are high.
- Utilize the Price Graph
Explore the price graph feature on Google Flights to visualize how fares for your chosen route fluctuate over time. This tool empowers you to pinpoint the most opportune moment to make your booking.
- Toggle the “Track Prices” Button
Take control of your fare monitoring by toggling the “Track Prices” button. This button activates the fare alert system, ensuring you receive timely notifications when prices for your selected flight drop.
- Stay Informed Without Getting Overwhelmed
Unlike some other platforms, Google Flights is designed to provide pertinent information without inundating you with excessive updates or marketing emails. The fare alert system is streamlined and efficient, ensuring you only receive notifications directly impacting your travel plans.
- Never Miss Out on a Good Deal
With fare alerts activated, you’ll never miss an opportunity to secure a reasonable price for your chosen flight. Google Flights keeps you informed and empowers you to make well-timed decisions that align with your budget.
- Keep Your Finances in Check
By staying updated on price drops through fare alerts, you ensure you get the best value for your money and maintain control over your budget. Your credit card will appreciate the strategic approach to booking, avoiding unnecessary expenses.
Uncover Affordable Airfare With Business Class Experts
So, what makes Google Flights so unique? Whether you want speedy results, months’ worth of flight prices, or the option to choose where you have a layover, Google Flights takes the search engine power to the next level! Using it makes it easier to find affordable flights that fit your needs so you can enjoy every step of your journey.
Although there are several benefits to using Google Flights, there are some drawbacks. Don’t expect to book your entire vacation or find select carriers on Google, as some companies don’t publish with the search engine. After all, Google Flights is a research tool, not a travel agent.
Take your Google Flights findings and get deep discounts on premium cabins on the routes most important to you. Business Class Experts is your industry insider to unlock affordable flights without sacrificing comfort. Upgrade to first class at a discount and make the most of your next international flight by partnering with Business Class Experts!