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How To Use Google Flights To Find Cheap Flights In 2024

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Tom Goward | 01/05/2024

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Google Flights is an excellent tool for finding the best flights available. As you would expect from Google, save you a lot of time searching for multiple airlines and third party websites to find the best deals. Google Flights Australia makes it easy to compare prices, dates, airlines and times. This beginners guide covers how to use a few of the excellent features of Google Flights and how you can use Google Flights to find cheap airfares around the world and in Australia.

Google Flights Tutorial

Step 1: Go to https://www.google.com/flights

Step 2: Select your ticket type (round trip, one-way or multi-city), passengers and travel class

Step 3: Enter your departure and arrival city and travel dates

Step 4: Click search and matching flights will be shown

Step 5: You can filter search results by number of stops, airlines, departure and arrival times, layover duration, connecting airports and more

Step 6: You can change the sort order to best flights, price, departure time, arrival time and duration

Step 7: To view the details of a flight, click on the arrow next to the price, you can then click select flight to view pricing options

Finding the Cheapest Dates

If you are flexible with dates you can use the calendar view, date grid and price graph options to view cheapest flights by date.

Calendar View
By simply clicking on the departure date Google Flights will bring up a two-month calendar showing the cheapest flights for each day over that period. If you have selected a return ticket type, the prices shown assume that the departure date remains the same (or the arrival date if you originally clicked on the return date). In this example, you can save $135 off the cheapest flight by selecting an alternative return date.

Google Flights Grid View

You can also click on “Date grid” to view the same information in a different layout. The grid view compares ticket prices on different days of the same week. Again you can see that you can save $135 off the cheapest flight by selecting alternative dates.

Google Flights Price Graph

Another option is the price graph function, which lets you change dates based on the length of your trip. You can also change the trip length to view other options. To view this click on “Price graph”. As you hover your mouse along the blue bars (which represent days), you will see the total trip price change.

Finding the Cheapest Airport

By entering multiple airports, Google Flights can find the cheapest airport to fly to or from. This can be especially useful when planning where to go, or if you are travelling to a city with multiple airports such as New York. You can add additional airports to your search by typing multiple airport codes separated by a comma, or by clicking on the + symbol after entering each airport. You can also search by city to include nearby airports.

Tracking Prices With Google Flights

Tracking prices can be really useful, and save you a lot of time compared to manually checking back each day. Once price tracking is set up, you will receive notifications when the price changes. You must be signed in to your Google account to track flight prices on Google Flights.

Option 1: To track the lowest price for a trip, click the track prices switch on the flight result page. This will track any airline and any time for the route and dates you searched.
Option 2: To track prices for a specific itinerary, click the track prices switch after selecting all flights. This will track the exact flights you selected.

After you have set up price tracking, you can view your tracked prices in Google Flights. Simply click on the hamburger menu (the three stacked bars) in the top left corner of the window, then select “Tracked flight prices”. From here you can delete alerts, turn off email notifications and view price history.

Google Flights Map

One desktop feature that is easy to miss is the map view, which shows the cheapest flights across a region. To bring up the map view, simply enter your departure city and dates, leaving the destination blank and click search. You should then get a map view something like this:

Using the map, you can zoom in and out to see more fares. You also enter entire countries or continents as the destination, rather than specific airports.

Although the initial map view only shows fares for the dates you entered, you can also find the cheapest flights at any time by clicking the dates selecting the “Flexible dates” option.

How to book flights on Google Flights

Something to remember is that Google Flights does not handle bookings, but redirects to sites that do. After selecting flights you want to book, Google Flights will show you options through which you can book your flight.

Why do prices jump on Google Flights?

Occasionally a cheap fare shown on Google Flights will jump in price, either during your search or after selecting flights. This increase is often due to the price changing with one of Google’s booking partners, and sometimes there is no way to get the original price back. However, one thing to try is searching directly with some OTA’s like Skyscanner or Momondo, and even directly with the airline.

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Tom Goward

Chief Operating Officer & Aviation Nerd at Flight Hacks

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  1. The map view is very useful- thank you for showing me this.
    Do you know if there is anyway to use the flexible dates feature for a longer journey- like a 3 month journey?
    The current limitations are “weekend”, “1 week” or “2 weeks” unfortunately.

    • Hi Same, personally I use the map feature to do initial research on potential routes/destinations. For more precise pricing and dates I then jump back into regular Google Flights search and use the calendar feature to get pricing on a wider timeframe.

  2. Hi Immanuel, do you plan to write an article on what is the most efficient way to be able to buy business class tickets?
    Before corona I usually flew from Sydney to Europe once 1-2 years to visit my family, in economy. I can manage to fly 6 hours in economy from Doha to Europe but those 14 hours flights from Sydney to Doha or Abu Dhabi are extremely exhausting. Is having American Express or similar and accumulate points and then exchange it for business class ticket the only way?

  3. Thanks a lot Tom. Yes, I will have a read, started yesterday and found a lot of useful info. Thank you for the link – I am beginner so need to really educate myself. Jan

  4. WARNING… I just noticed this concerning feature!
    Google appears to increase the price of flights if you lower the duration filter. I guess the logic is that travellers who want shorter duration flights are more likely to pay more.
    For an upcoming trip I have a fliter set to capture all flights with a duration less than 35 hours. One flight I have been watching in particular has a duration of 22 hrs. With the duration filter set to 35 hours the price is X. I was shocked to notice that when I reduce the filter to 30 hours the price of the exact same flight increased by $400! All other flight details were exactly the same. Only the price changed. Very sneaky!
    Clearly there is nothing to stop Google from doing this. They can set whatever prices they like. But please watch out for this if you are using filters. I would also love to know if anyone else can confirm this.
    But always check final prices against other sites and flight aggregators.

    • What flights are you monitoring? Google doesn’t set the pricing, they just display fares from a variety of sources: direct from the airline and a range of other OTAs. Google doesn’t act as an OTA so they don’t dictate what the price will be.

      • Hi,

        Thanks for that. I realised that when I changed the duration filter this affected the returning flight, hence altering the price.
        My confusion stems from an issue wih the interface. Google Flights only shows departing flights on the first page. However the price displayed next to the departing flight (the round trip price) is the total price, including the return flight which is not yet visiable. So it looks like the price of the departing flight is changing, when it is actually the price of the return flight changing.

  5. Prices in the date grid sometimes don’t match prices in the calendar view? I found the date grid to be more accurate, in that these prices matched the end result after flights were selected. The discrepancy is odd though?

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Google Flights FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Google flights don't offer direct booking options but will direct you to a few partners. Yes, Google Flights has a handy price tracking feature you can use for free. Most of the time it is. However, sometimes pricing doesn't match the actual booking price due to caching on Google Flights.
dot dot faq

Can I use Google Flights to book flights?

Google flights don't offer direct booking options but will direct you to a few partners.

Can I track prices with Google Flights?

Yes, Google Flights has a handy price tracking feature you can use for free.

Is Google Flights reliable?

Most of the time it is. However, sometimes pricing doesn't match the actual booking price due to caching on Google Flights.

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