“I always do my research prior to booking flights… I spent 3 hours last night looking at all the different travel sites to find the best option!”
A coworker mentioned this to me yesterday and unfortunately this is what most of us end up doing when searching for flights – spending hours trying to find the right site with the best price. There are so many site out there all offering the cheapest airfare, but wouldn’t it be easier if there was one site that was able to search the internet and package the results together in one nice and user-friendly place?
Time to introduce yourself to a better way of searching for airfare – enter Google Flights!
Google is ingrained in our daily lives and is the search engine of choice for most people (no offense to all you Bing and Yahoo users out there… is Ask Jeeves still around?). So, if we rely on Google to search for cute puppies, fast traffic patterns, and “How to make my cat love me?” then why can’t we rely on Google for all of our flight searching needs? Answer: WE CAN!
What makes Google Flights so great is its flexibility. You can customize the searches to only search based on a variety of options (i.e. stops, airlines, price, and times) which will narrow the search and identify the best flight options for you. Seattle is a city on my travel list for 2016, so I will demonstrate using roundtrip travel from Tampa to Seattle around the Memorial Day Holiday. Here is my initial search:
First, enter in your origin, destination and dates and Google Flights will begin to populate the flights automatically, and provide you with selections for your outbound journey:
The cheapest and most direct route is with Alaska Airlines, so this is the journey that I will Select. Next up you will have the option of selecting your return flight:
Here you have a choice of air carriers, but since I prioritize Non-stop flights (in order to cut travel time and maximize vacation time) I will select the Alaska Air direct return flight. Here is the total flight summary:
Although you cannot book the flight directly though the Google Flights site, it will provide you with a link to purchase the fare, as you can see the “Book with Alaska $433” noted in the above caption. If those dates are too expensive, you can also use the calendar view in order to identify the cheapest dates that fit your schedule (seems here the cheapest available is around $261):
If you are feeling a little more adventurous and spontaneous, then leave the destination blank and search and click by the map view for the destinations of your choice!
Unfortunately, Google Flights is not able to search for Southwest fares, so in order to compare Southwest you will need to go directly to the source to see these. Additionally, Google Flights will not factor in other airfare costs that may be applicable (i.e. baggage fees, seat selection fees, etc.) so it is important to factor these into the overall cost.
So there you have it, Google Flights in a nutshell! I am constantly on this site planning out trips left and right – whether I intend on taking them or not it is still fun to play around!
As always, please feel free to post comments below or email me at AcCountingyourpoints@yahoo.com
Your next trip is waiting, you just have to figure out where to!