Everyone loves a great deal! Find out how Google Flights can easily and efficiently help you save hundreds on flights to destinations around the world.
To be honest, it has taken me far too long to discover the magic of Google Flights. This tool is an invaluable resource for finding the best fares for travel in any class on most airlines.
I will start by noting that Google Flights is not foolproof, so one always has to check the info against the relevant airline’s website directly.
In this post, I’ll walk you through all of my favourite Google Flights features, which I use on a near daily basis, whether I’m booking paid flights or planning trips paid for with my reward miles.
Using your current position, Google Flights will pre-populate the Origin, and then invite you to enter your Destination, booking type (round-trip, one-way, or multi-city), number of passengers, class of service, and travel dates.
While the Origin field is restricted to airports and cities (which can encompass multiple airports), the Destination field can handle much larger geographic areas (like “United States”, “Europe”, or “South America”), which is especially helpful if you wish to keep your options open.
If these options aren’t what you’re looking for, you can expand the list to see the full range of options (for example, in case you’re looking for an itinerary with a longer layover somewhere in the middle, with a greater distance travelled for mileage-earning purposes, etc.)
Clicking through a search result will bring you to a final confirmation page, which then links out to either the airline’s website or an online travel agency to complete the booking.
At this stage, you can use Google Flights’s powerful set of filters to narrow down the list of search results. You can filter for a variety of criteria–and even multiple criteria simultaneously–in order to narrow down the flight you truly want.
The Bags filter helps you compare the all-in pricing for your flights based on how many bags you need to bring. These days, many North American airlines levy additional bag fees for travel within Canada and the US, so the Checked Bag selector allows Google Flights to add the checked baggage fee to the search results and show you the all-in pricing.
The Stops filter allows you to specify if you’re open to any number of connections, no connections, one connection or fewer, or two connections or fewer. In addition to narrowing down the list of flight results, the Airlines filter displays all the possible airlines that fly this given route, allowing you to either filter for or against them. So if you only had a specific airline in mind when searching, you’d only check off that airline, whereas if you wanted to avoid a specific set of airlines, you could do that too. You may also filter by the major airline alliances: Star Alliance, One world, and SkyTeam.
Best of all, you can combine all the filters we discussed previously with the calendar view as well. Upon selecting your filters, clicking on the Date selector will show you the cheapest dates with your filters applied.
I find this calendar view to be extremely useful when I’m planning a trip with some degree of flexibility, as well as when there’s a fare sale or a mistake fare available, as it allows me to easily identify which dates the fare applies to and how I might incorporate it into my travel schedule.
Both tools help you identify savings opportunities by scheduling your trip on a neighbouring date–perhaps departing a day earlier or returning a few days later, or perhaps scheduling a summer trip in late August instead of late July.
You may also use the selectors for booking type, number of passengers, and class of service, the Price slider, as well as the filters for Stops, Airlines, Times, Bags, and Duration, to narrow down your search terms further. The Explore map will adjust accordingly based on your specifications.
The Explore map comes in handy under a variety of different circumstances. For example, if you’re planning an extended European or African trip and you aren’t fussy about which airport you fly into you can use the Explore feature to find the cheapest destination and plan the rest of your journey from there.
And if you’re flexible with both dates and destinations, then you can choose “Flexible dates” rather than “Specific dates” under the Explore map, which allows you to broadly describe what kind of trip you’re looking for (which month of the year and a rough idea of the duration). Google Flights will then search for all possible itineraries that meet your criteria as you move around the world map.
If you aren’t quite ready to book something just yet, you can sign in to Google Flights using your Google account and track the price of a specific itinerary. You can also sign up for email notifications when the price increases or decreases significantly, which allows you to keep track of your expected costs for any upcoming trips you’re planning.
What to Remember
These days, Google Flights is easily my preferred tool for researching flights, researching routes, or simply getting a bit of travel inspiration via the Explore map.
I recently scored a $5K round trip blend of First and Business class on British Airways from YVR to LHR, LHR to JNB and the same routing back thanks to Google Flights.
When I have used the search carefully and filtered by date grid I have often found the best fare and hope you have a similar experience.
Let us know if you do!
For Andrew, travel is so much more than just learning history or taking photos. Rather, the value of travel is witnessing a lifestyle, bonding with locals, and gaining rich cultural experiences. That’s why he founded the Luxury Wanderer; a place to share itineraries, offer advice, swap stories, and foster a like-minded community of curious travellers.