How to Use Google Flights to Save Money on Your Next Trip (Video)
For some, the most anxiety-inducing aspect of planning a trip is sitting down and actually booking that flight. Trying to find an affordable flight that doesn’t come with hidden baggage fees and strict carry-on luggage requirements can be difficult and downright exhausting, after all.
Some of these new features can be found within Google Flights. For budget travelers and frequent fliers looking to save a buck or two on plane tickets in the most convenient way possible, these updates will prove super helpful when determining the best deals.
Below, we’ve summarized the top three ways you can save money when you book your flights through Google.
Flights Price Insights
Google can now tell you if the price of a flight you’re looking at typically costs that much, or if it’s lower or higher than average. Looking up flights from Newark to Barcelona at the end of August, I found round-trip tickets with Norwegian Air for $781. Google said the price was “typical” for this itinerary, as “the least expensive flights for similar trips to Barcelona usually cost between $740 - 1,000.”
To see what would happen if the tickets were considered expensive, I looked up holiday flights from New York to Indianapolis. Immediately, Google advised that the prices were “currently high,” and that the “least expensive flights for similar trips to Indianapolis usually cost between $175 - 315.” With that in mind, I can select “Track prices” at the top of the page to find a better deal later.
Alternatively, Google will sometimes predict whether it expects the price to increase, or if the price on display is the cheapest it’s going to get, so you know whether you should book your trip ASAP.
When you select your travel dates, you can sometimes view the price history to find out how much that specific itinerary cost travelers in the last few months. For the Newark to Barcelona trip, I was able to see that the flight cost $710 just 28 days ago, and $609 if booked 59 days ago. This can help you figure out if you truly are getting the best deal or if you should hold off on buying your ticket. Note that this feature is currently not available for all itineraries, but Google assures Travel + Leisure that they are working to make it cover as many flights as possible.
When you book your flights, you can now see the different fare options for select airlines. To find out how this worked, I again searched for holiday flights from JFK to Indianapolis and selected the 7:00 A.M. flight home with Delta Airlines. Google then showed me the fare I selected — the $339 Basic Economy seat — and compared it to Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+, and First Class seats in side-by-side columns. At a quick glance, I can see what amenities come with each ticket, and how much it would cost to upgrade from one option to the next. Looking at the different fares, for example, I found that with the exception of First Class, each passenger can bring a carry-on for free and check their first bag for $60. If I fly Basic Economy, I don’t get to select my seat and I’d be the last to board. For an extra $148, though, I can upgrade to Delta Comfort+ and choose where I want to sit and get priority boarding. All in all, this feature makes it easy to compare prices without worrying about hidden fees, so you know what you’re spending — and getting in return — before you book your ticket.
Google Flights Price Guarantee
Google is offering a special promotion for select flights booked between Aug. 13 and Sept. 2. If Google predicts that your trip is as cheap as it’s going to get, they will refund you the difference if prices do drop. Domestic and international flights must originate in the U.S. and travel dates must be between Aug. 13 and Nov. 24, 2019.