Google Flights Search Reigns Supreme
The Google Flights difference
Searching on Google Flights engine just can’t be beat. You name it, Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline, Kayak, Cheapflights, Expedia and the dozens more travel sites all have the same major flaw. The problem with traditional travel sites is that they are far too cluttered. When you go to any of them you are quickly inundated with all things travel: cruises, hotels, car rental and last minute travel deals. The reason why this approach is everywhere is because all of these sites care about one thing, the bottom line, and that is how much money they make on your transaction. Everything you book through these sites means more money for them, so they blast you with everything related to travel. This is NOT what I want when searching for a flight.
Less is more
I don’t want to be sold and I don’t want to have to decline a hotel offer in order to book my flight. I don’t need to see the best deals for cruises. I am there to research prices to fly my butt from one airport to another. For the most part, my travel is flexible. I dictate what month I would like to leave. We all know that traveling on one day can be one price and the next day it could be $100 less. I want to know which days are going to get me the best prices for where and when I want to travel.
Streamlined and minimal, that is how I would describe Google Flights. Just take a look for yourself here: GOOGLE FLIGHT. When you arrive on the page isn’t it pleasantly minimal? No big bright banners advertising a complete travel package to Quebec or London or Cairo? You don’t have to switch your search tab from Hotels to Flights. You are instead greeted with a place to input a start/end destination and a dates of travel. Also listed at the top is the type of flight you wish to book, round trip is default, but there are one way and multi-city options. To the right is where you select your preferred cabin class and how many tickets you need.
Once you hit enter you are gut loaded with all the prices for the dates selected. No extra information, just prices, times and airlines. Ahhhh, what a beautiful thing. What a simple and beautiful thing. At the top of the results is usually a suggestion from Google Flights to help you save money.
For instance, “hey, if you fly out of Oakland (my preferred departing airport) instead of San Francisco you can get a flight for $70 less.” SCORE! Or, “if you leave one day earlier flights cost $145 less.” Why would you want anything different from a search for flights?
What is that you say? You want to go to Banff National Forest in June and would like to know what days are best to fly into Calgary? Cool. There is an easy way to see a two-month view of all flight prices to that destination. Just click in one of the date fields and scroll over to the month you were hoping to depart and you will see all the various prices.
There are several drop downs below the date fields that allow you to filter through flights quickly based on…
Stops – Use this to filter if you would like a non-stop or multi-stop flight
Price – You can use this filter to specify a maximum dollar amount you want to spend for a flight
Airline – Don’t want to fly Allegiant Air because you previously had a bad experience? Well, weed that out of your search results easily with this filter
Times – This filter will allow you to set a departure time for both legs of your trip. This is good if you are a go getter and want to leave as early as you can
More – This is the last filter and it can be used to select options such as buying separate tickets and connecting through a certain airport to visit the in-laws
This concludes the top level search and filters but remember, this is Google so you know there is more to it than that… I did say supreme not marginally better.
The advanced power of Google Flights
Let’s get into the “Explore Tab”. You can get to this from the home screen.
Once you are at the next screen you will see America with chicken pox. These little red bumps are airports. You can view the price of tickets from your departure airport to various locations, which is great for getting an idea of where you might want to travel.
Let’s say you heard that the weather in Florida in January isn’t half bad and you are dying for a tan. Zoom into Florida and you can view all of the cities you can fly into and the ticket prices.
Great, we are getting real close to selecting a flight. Since a lower price is more important than a Florida beach destination, we can set the price limit to under $350.
Fort Lauderdale, will you go to prom with me? I choose you. A total of $260 from SFO to a sunny beach in Florida is what I will take. Remember, all of the filters will still work so you can weed out as much or as little as you wish.
Let’s try another advanced feature. This time we will set the focus on Europe.
This time let’s allow Google Flights to choose a destination based on an interest. We will choose food.
Are you seeing what I am seeing? Paris for $680? I’m all over that. Now, these are arbitrary dates and I would likely stay the hell out of France in the winter (I live in California and have almost zero cold weather clothing), but I can still leverage the calendar to get the best travel dates based on the weather I prefer and possibly at a cheaper price. Let’s say I want to fly to Paris and know what dates I would like to travel, but the ticket prices are a little high. Easy peasey. I can set-up a price alert that will track the flight costs and it will notify me via email if those prices drop. Righteous.
But wait, there’s more.
Yup. More. Remember that date view you can use to see a two-month calendar of pricing? You can change the way the data is displayed as well. Let’s head to Vegas. This time I am pretty flexible on when I leave and come back since I want the cheapest possible flight.
Google, so what you’re telling me is that I can fly round trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas from Saturday, January 7th to Saturday, January 14th for a total of 67 bucks? I will spend more than that on my Uber fare during my stay then the flight to get there. I am all over that. Remember, I mentioned that I can pretty much leave and come back whenever I want so let’s double check the results and switch to the Price Graph view.
$67 is a killer price but what’s that I see down below?
$57 for a 6 day round trip from SFO to LAS? SOLD. DONE. TAKE MY MONEY.
As you can see Google Flights is one crazy great tool and it is my number one (and only) tool I use to research flights. This is not just a tool for the hardcore traveler, it is for anyone who sits their butt on a plane. Why wouldn’t you do the best research for your flight if it’s this easy? Answer: you would. So let’s thank Google Flights for breaking through all of the crapola out there.