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Google Flight Top FAQ
Google Flights has a number of specific advantages:
- Lightning fast: Google Flights is faster than any other flight search engine, displaying months worth of fares in fractions of a second.
- Calendar-based fare view: Google Flights has a simple, intuitive calendar view that shows you the cheapest fare over the next 12 months.
- Multiple airport search: Google Flights lets you search for the cheapest fare between up to 7 origin and 7 destination airports, without slowing the search down.
- Map-based search: The Google Flights Explore map lets you see the cheapest place to fly from your airport during your selected dates/date range.
Google Flights isn’t perfect. Here’s where it lags a bit behind:
- Doesn’t always have the lowest fares: Google Flights works by searching fares sold directly from the airlines and a handful of the top online travel agencies (OTAs), such as Expedia or Orbitz. Many times the best fares are found on smaller online travel agencies that Google Flights doesn’t look at. Google Flights doesn’t display results from Southwest Airlines, so you’ll also need to check those directly with the airline.
- Doesn’t find many mistake fares: Similarly, many Mistake Fares only show up on smaller online travel agency websites. Google Flights won’t be able to find those.
- Displays unavailable deals: Every once in a while, Google Flights will tell you a fare is available at a certain rate, but when you click to proceed with a booking either (a) the fare jumps in price, or (b) there is no way to book online and instructs you instead to call the airline. (Don’t bother calling, it won’t work.) This phenomenon is called “ghosting“, and happens occasionally on Google Flights when a fare was recently available but no longer is.
In order to find the cheapest dates, click the departure date box. When you do that, prices for 2 months will pop up, with the cheapest dates in green, like so:
Important: Google Flights only takes into account prices in the months you’ve told it to look at. So in the above example, the green dates are the lowest in September and October. However, there could be cheaper dates in future months that Google Flights will only find if you click the right arrow to scroll to later months.
Once you’ve looked at the calendar of lowest fares, click on the date you want for your departure, after which you’ll click on the date you’d like to return.
At this point, Google Flights then gives you a big list of possible flights, like so:
Notice that Google Flights lists a few up top that they consider to be the “Best departing flights” taking into account factors like price and routing. It can still be worth taking a look at the “Other departing flights” to see if any of those work better for your schedule.
All flight times on Google Flights are shown in local time. If you notice a +1 next to the arrival time listed, on a Google Flights itinerary, it means your flight arrives the next day (or 2 days later if it says +2).
One of the handy, hidden features of Google Flights is the ability to pull up a map and see cheap flights across an entire country or region, though note that to get full use of this feature you need to be on a desktop, not mobile.
To pull up the map, start your search as you usually would, by inputting your departure city and dates, but leave the destination blank. Then click the blue “Search” button.When you do so, Google Flights will switch to a map view like so (You can zoom in anywhere on the map, like Europe, to see more fares):
You can even enter entire continents like Europe or Asia rather than specific countries.
One important factor to keep in mind is the initial map view only shows you the fares on the specific dates you entered.
If you have flexibility and just want to find the cheapest fare anytime, you can click the dates and switch to the “Flexible dates” option like so:
One of Google Flights’ most powerful features is the ability to set an array of filters to ensure you only get search results you’re interested in.
- Number of stops
- Layover duration
- Which (if any) connecting airports
- Price ceiling
- Flight times
- Which airline(s) and/or airline alliance(s)
- Total length of flight