If you’ve been following us here at Yore Oyster for a while, you’ll know that understanding how to use Google Flights is a big part of how we find such impressive deals on flights. It’s the first place we search for every flight, and by far our favorite place on the web to find deals.
So just how do you use Google Flights?
First, let’s look at what Google Flights is good at:
- Quick searches
- Multi-city flight searches
Google Flights is by far the fastest flights search engine out there. Try entering a one-way flight search like New York JFK to London Heathrow a month or two from today and see what you get.
Instantly, you get months’ worth of up-to-date prices. Google Flights allows you to book these flights through online travel agencies (OTAs) like Booking.com or Priceline, directly from the airline, or occasionally through Google itself.
On every search, Google Flights highlights the lowest prices in green to let you know you’re getting a great deal. If you don’t see any prices in green, scroll left and right through the months to find the green price. That’s the lowest price available right now on the route you’re searching for, and gives you an idea of whether the dates you’ve selected are cheap or expensive.
Google Flights will often offer you tips, suggesting that you change your airport or your dates to find a cheaper price. Here’s an example where Google Flights is suggesting I fly to London Gatwick (LGW) instead of London Heathrow (LHR) to save $139:
Another trick: you can enter up to five airports in the departing and arriving boxes, which makes finding the cheapest price much easier.
For example, if you didn’t find a good price for New York JFK to London Heathrow, try changing your departing airports to include all of the New York City airports (typing in NYC automatically includes JFK, LGA and EWR), plus Philadelphia (PHL) and Boston (BOS). Then add all five London airports (typing LON includes LHR, LGW, STN, LCY and LTN) to your list of arriving airports. Now the prices Google Flights shows are quite different:
As you can see, Google Flights makes finding cheap flights super easy.
Multi-city flight searches
Not only can you search flexibly to/from multiple cities, but you can also create multi-city itineraries as well. To do that, just click the Multi-City button at the top and enter your route. For example, here’s a multi-city trip that includes stops in London, Paris and Barcelona before returning to New York.
$490 is an impressive price for all that travel! One thing to keep in mind with multi-city itineraries is that Google Flights no longer provides the prices in green, so you’ll have to experiment with the dates to find the best price. For example, if you keep the first three flights the exact same but depart Barcelona for New York two days later, the price drops another $45 to $445.
Other cool features of Google Flights include:
Telling if your flight is a good deal
Just below the “best departing flights” section, Google will provide you with a handle that shows you whether you’re paying above or below average for your flight ticket.
Google Flights also offers a feature that allows you to calculate the costs of your baggage depending on each airline. This is really helpful because it will allow you to get the true, full cost of your flight, especially if you’re traveling with a lot of baggage.
For example, for some airlines you can hover over the tiny baggage icon next to the price and Google will let you know if you need to pay for access to overhead bins on the flight. If that is the case and you don’t want to pay that extra, you may only take a personal item that fits under the seat in front of you for free.
With this amazing feature you can look for flight prices and then have Google send you an email when the prices change. This works especially if you’re waiting for a price drop on some destinations.
To activate it, you must sign in to your Google Account and then, just above the “best departing flights” text is the track prices button.
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Set it to track the general prices of any flight on your dates. And you’re set! Google will send you emails with price updates on those flights.
Considering all those features and the overall easy-to-use layout, are you ready to give Google Flights a go?