Not only can you find an array of flight options, including available times, airlines and pricing options, but you can also view historical price data and trends.
Whilst the platform has the ability to carry out an expansive range of search information, it has a focus on finding the best flights at the best price.
How can you use it?
It all begins with the Google Flights search function. If you’re using the website to book flights, enter your desired departure and arrival locations, plus specific dates and times. The website then performs a flight search across different airlines.
Google Flights offers you the ‘best departing flights’ based on price and convenience.
Google Flights offers you the ‘best departing flights’ based on price and convenience. Along with the price, you can also view the airline, flight duration, whether the flight is direct and the level of emissions the flight has compared to typical flights for the route.
The system also lists other departing flights relevant to your search, along with a ‘price history’. This feature informs you how the least expensive flight found compares with search data on other dates for the same flight.
But it doesn’t stop there.
You can use the site to filter other information relevant to your desired journey, such as:
- Departure city or multi-city flexibility
- The number of stops you wish to make
- Preferred airlines
- Carriage class (including
- The amount of carry-on bags allowed
- Level of carbon emissions
- Preferred connecting airports
- Flight duration
What are the benefits of Google Flights?
If you’re using Google Flights to find cheap flights, it’s important to know how the site can help you.
Gone are the days of opening many tabs to compare fares on different airline websites: Google Flights does it all for you. Not only that, but the focus spreads much wider than just price comparison.
In addition to the many filters, you can also use the ‘track prices’ feature to receive emails for price changes for your chosen route.
Google Flights also offers the chance to search up to seven departure locations at once and the cheapest dates over the course of two months.
How to find the cheapest flights on Google Flights
If you wish to find the cheapest flights possible, here are some handy tips.
The more flexible you are with your plans, the more likely you’ll succeed in finding the cheapest flights. If you’re easy with dates and times (including the chance of a possible layover!), you’ll be almost guaranteed to see the lowest price.
You could even take this one step further. A Google Flights hack on TikTok recently went viral, showing that if you search for only the departure city (leaving the travel dates and destination open), you can find the cheapest possible holiday.
We tried this, searching for ‘anywhere’ from London on any weekend of the year. The cheapest holiday overseas was a weekend trip to Vienna with Ryanair (£36), while Easyjet could take you as far as Malta (a six-hour return flight) for just £75.
The date grid showed the cheapest flight price over a period of two months, with all the different flight options available.
Change your city
If you are flexible regarding your departure city, you can search for flights from your country. Searching from the United Kingdom, for example, shows many multi-city options, including Manchester, London and Edinburgh.
Utilise Price Alerts
When it comes to cheap flights, the earlier you start searching, the better. You can utilise Google Flights’ Price Alerts, which will track prices for you and notify you when prices are at their lowest.
This doesn’t just work for budget flights. Many use this option to find the cheapest upgrades for Premium Economy, Business or First.
Once you’ve found a cheap flight, make sure you search other airlines or Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) to compare the same flight options.
You may have found a slightly cheaper airfare elsewhere, but is it the same nonstop flight you were hoping for? Are the carbon emissions the same?
If you do this frequently, you’ll soon have your own knowledge of the cheapest days to travel for your journey.
Will Google Flights find the best deal for me?
Google Flights sources its flight prices from airlines and OTAs. This is unlike smaller search engines, which cast their net a lot wider. However, most major airlines are included in the search.
Let’s say you wish to finally plan that trip to New York. You’d like to find cheap fares for one round-trip flight with low emissions and no layover. You’d prefer to depart from London Heathrow, but you are open to different airports. You’d also prefer a one-week trip before Christmas.
When you click on the outbound date, Google Flights shows you a price estimate for each date based on a 7-day trip. Searching in June 2023 shows you that, by far, the cheapest week for your trip is mid-November. However, this is too early.
The nearer it gets to Christmas, the more expensive. So, you settle on flights for 4th - 10th December, which start from £357 for a round-trip.
The lowest price is a nonstop Norse Atlantic flight departing London Gatwick for JFK at midday. The carbon emissions for the flight are lower than the average level for this trip.
It’s only once you try to book the flights that you realise that Google Flights offer you much cheaper flight prices available on the website through OTAs (Online Travel Agents). If you book with GoToGate (£333) or LastMinute.com (£338), the flight price is much cheaper.
How does Google Flights compare to rivals?
If you try to book the same flight with other search engines or OTAs (Online Travel Agents), the findings are interesting.
The cheapest flight is actually £13 more expensive on Skyscanner, at £357. Searching for the flight on Expedia shows the lowest price, significantly more expensive, at £401.
Let’s use another example for cheap fares. Searching for Business Class flights from Paris to London on Google Flights shows the lowest price as £357 if you book through Opodo, £368 with Travel Up, £380 for Booking.com and Lastminute.com.
The same flight on Skyscanner shows £400 for the same Booking.com flight (+£20), £378 (+£12) for the same Travel Up flight and £386 (+£6) for Lastminute.com.
Unlike other websites, Google Flights does not negotiate flight deals. The search engine simply displays the prices hosted on airline and OTA websites.
Compared to rivals, Google Flights was the only platform to offer an exclusive price guarantee. The system uses its algorithm to track price changes for your flight. If the price drops before the first flight in your itinerary departs, they will make up the difference.
Are there any restrictions?
Whilst Google Flights is able to search for most airlines, some are not listed on the platform.
Whilst Google Flights is able to search for most airlines, some are not listed on the platform. Asian airlines such as Air China, China Eastern, Thai Airways, and Philippine Airlines are not listed, also the American carrier Southwest Airlines.
Google Flights might be at the forefront, but airlines are also becoming more intelligent. In 2021, Delta Airlines introduced a similar search function algorithm on their website, with the option to book with air miles - a service Google Flights does not offer.
Is Google Flights UK the cheapest way to book air travel?
Google Flights is not the cheapest way to book air travel.
Google Flights is not the cheapest way to book air travel. However, as the site displays flights from airlines themselves, in addition to other OTAs, you can be sure you are likely seeing the best flight options for your journey.
Whilst Google Flights does display cheaper flights from third parties, do note that these companies will have paid to advertise on flight search engines.
Even if you do not book the flights direct with Google Flights, you can use GoogleFlights.com to keep track of price rates and gain knowledge about the best times to book.
Using the flexible date search, you can determine which flight would be best for your requirements. The site’s Price Alerts function will then inform you of any price changes for your chosen flight, which saves you from always checking.
Once you’re ready to book, even if you decide to book directly with the airline, you can still be sure you’ve booked pretty much the cheapest option.