Over the past few years, the entire world has caught the travel bug. With Instagram stories giving the wanderlust cravings. Everybody is flying international and checking out new cities and places. But there is always that one thing that’s on everybody’s mind. Am I overpaying for my flight tickets? Can I find something cheaper?
Enter Google Flights. If you haven’t heard of this tool, this is Google’s very own flight search engine, where you enter your location and destination, pick the dates and Google throws out the cheapest and best flight fares going around.
Is Google flights better than your local flight search engine? What are the advantages?
We get into the nitty-gritty. So how do you use Google flights to find cheap flights?
Check it out!
Find Cheap Flights Anywhere
#1 – Choosing Airport Codes with Google Flights
When you are booking a flight from a particular location to your destination, you generally see . the prices for that specific search query. Google flights is slightly different. When you type in your “from” destination, you see a list of options from nearby airports. Not nearby cities, but airports that are close to the one you are looking for.
You would be surprised to know that there might be a cheap flight to your destination from an airport close to you that you haven’t chosen.
Take a look at this example!
I did a simple search from Singapore to Sydney and my prices were approximately around $474.
When I clicked on the Singapore tab, I could see a list of airports nearby from which flights were departing and I saw an option from Kuala Lumpur that was cheaper!
As you can see it was about $30 cheaper. But you possibly couldn’t have gone to Kuala Lumpur to get that flight as that would be a big hassle. Here is another example.
I wanted to book a flight from Bangalore to Sydney. And my price was around $842. When I took a look at the airports nearby, I saw a flight option for around $617. That was close to a difference of about $220!
The thing is, it might make your trip longer, but it would drastically reduce your cost.
#2 – Searching from multiple locations
Ideally, when you are travelling to a new continent and are planning to travel to multiple countries, you might not necessarily want a fixed plan, as you’d want the cheapest flights. Say, for example, you are travelling from Europe to South America. Considering a lot of the cities are nearby in Europe, you’d want the cheapest flights from Europe to South America.
You could use Google Flights to enter multiple locations to start from and multiple destinations. Here is an example.
On average, the costs range in the $1000, but with Google Flights, you are able to find the cheapest flight.
#3 – Customizations with Google Flights
Google Flights can be used for one more thing. Customizations. Most flight aggregation sites have layers and layers of hindrances such as multiple flights, multiple stops, baggage cost and other things. With Google Flights, you can filter these out without a hassle to get a flight suited to your situation. Here are the options provided by Google Flights.
- Number of Bags
The bane of a traveller is figuring out their baggage. I have personally paid over $100+ for check-in baggage that I did not expect would be charged. If your flight charges for check-in baggage, you will be able to find out.
- Number of Stops
Sometimes when you pick the cheapest flight, that means you’ll mostly have to pay through time. A lot of supercheap flights have multiple stops and you will be able to choose the number of stops you are willing to take.
- Choosing the Airlines
There are a few airlines, I will not fly with at all. No matter what. So if you are on the same boat, you can choose to filter out those airlines specifically.
- Filtering out the price
No matter what, there is an ROI on flight travel too. You don’t want to be paying 3x or 4x for flights. And if you know your limit, you can add your limit to Google Flights. That way you can get a flight ticket cheaper than your budget.
- Flight Times
Most flights are red-eye. But red-eye flights can ruin your entire day. So if you want to avoid red-eye, you can pick the time of your flight’s arrival and departure on Google Flights.
- Connecting Airports
This is a very subtle addition to your trip, but it can really change your travel experience. When you are travelling through multiple destinations, it’s always nice to be able to choose your connecting airports. This way you can enjoy a better airport experience when you are on a connecting flight.
- Flight Duration
I despise long flights. It’s the bane of my travels. People get crankier, the service quality drops, there are babies crying, your body starts to ache and worse. I would rather book multiple flights than sit on a very long flight. With the flight duration feature, you will be able to pick and choose the time you’ll be spending on the flight.
#4 – Planning ahead with Google Flights
One of the best features of Google Flights is how much you can plan ahead. I plan most of my travels five or six months ahead. This gives me enough time to cancel my plans or modify my accommodation and most importantly get cheaper flights. Through a period of 2 to 3 months, prices fluctuate like crazy because of demand and supply. This is when Google Flights come in. Once you are happy with the flights you have chosen, then you can go ahead and track the flight via Email. So every time there is a price reduction or something else, you get a notification.
Once you click on the flight you want to book, on the top right, you can see two options – Share and Track Prices.
As you can see, Google Flights are pretty awesome. They cover a wide gamut of features that are missed out by other flight aggregators. My favourite features include multiple locations and destination searches. This truly helps in filtering out the prices based on the approximate area you want to visit. Especially when you are travelling from continent to continent.
The other awesome feature is the nearby airports’ feature. There are three airports in New York and sometimes you can save a good amount of money by choosing the right one. But the best feature is the tracking feature that lets you track the flights between a destination and lets you know via email when the price drops!
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