These Google Flight Hacks Are Your New BFF
Booking a flight online is a tedious act of comparison shopping. With fares fluctuating all the time between different travel booking platforms, we always end up with a bajillion browser tabs before finally committing to a deal.
Thankfully, our most trusted search engine has developed something that makes vacation planning a lot easier. Google Flights uses an algorithm to display the best flights on price, the number of stops, and other important factors for travelers to consider. Users are then directed to purchase the trip through a third-party supplier.
You may have skimmed over the platform, which usually shows up on the very top of your search results, but the easy-to-use interface has a lot going for it. Ahead, the team at Google shares the top five hacks to use the flight search service to your best advantage.
Try The “Explore” Feature
According to an internal study conducted by Google and Ipsos Connect in 2016, one in every three travelers agree that they typically haven't decided on a specific destination when they start thinking about a personal trip.
If you’re flexible on your destination, the "explore map" function in the top left menu tab is your friend. Once you’ve narrowed down a more specific region, like Europe or East Asia, zoom into that specific area to see the lowest fares available. Experiment with the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button if you’re up for a random date and destination combo that's a good deal.
Switch Around Dates Or Airports
The calendar view provides a quick snapshot of flight prices, with the lowest fares for all upcoming dates are shown in the dropdown calendar. This is a handy tool if you're not particular about the dates. If the destination you're traveling to is a major transport hub, it's also worth plugging in alternative airports, as there could be a big difference depending on which departure or arrive points you choose.
You'll see a sidebar called "tips" at the top of your flight results. This column offers helpful suggestions — like alternative date and airport suggestions — or even good deals on an upgrade.
It's All About The Right Place & Time
Based on past data, Google Flights may show you a tip about an expected price jump based on historic prices for that route. When you tap on the card, you’ll see more details, like how much the price is likely to increase and when.
After selecting a specific flight, a notification may appear letting you know when the current fare is expected to expire and how much you can save if you book now. You might also end up saving thousands of dollars on a single trip by booking separate legs with multiple airlines. Google Flights will try to combine tickets from different airlines to "build" the cheapest itinerary possible.
Sign Up For Reminders
Get updates via email so you're kept in the loop on flight price changes. These shifts are tracked over time on Google Flights, so you should book whenever you see a decrease in fare.
Read The Fine Print
We all know that add-on fees can seriously inflate the final price you pay for a flight. Luckily, Google Flights lets you know when carry-on bags are not included in the ticket. Once you’ve selected a specific trip in Google Flights, you can check out what’s included, like wifi, legroom, and entertainment options.
Link Up To Your Google Assistant
Download the Google Assistant or Google Home app on your phone, and you'll be able get answers to questions like “How much are round trip tickets to San Diego on October 1st?” in a snap. You'll be able to track flight prices on Google Home simply by answering "Yes" when prompted. On top of checking your flight status on Google Assistant, you'll also be able to see suggestions on what to check out while you’re in town.