When searching for airfares you may think you’re 100% committed to flying on a certain date. But if you could save over $2000 by flying one day later, you may be willing to postpone your trip just a bit. Google Flights can help you find the best trip by showing you the lowest airfare for a range of dates and locations.
Or you may think your #1 priority is finding the best price possible. But if the best price means you have to leave at 2 AM and transfer flights three times, you might be willing to spend an extra $25 for a non-stop flight that leaves at 9 AM instead.
Google Flights was updated this week to help you more easily compare your priorities to make the best decisions on which flight to book:
- Travel dates
- Preferred carrier
Google Flights can now even inspire you if you’re not sure where you want to go. Sometimes you just want to get out of here to a warmer climate. Google Flights can help you figure out where to go and show you the best ways to get the lowest airfare.
Using the New Google Flights
Head to Google Flights to get started and choose your departure city.
You’ll see a map of popular destinations with airfares listed below the city names. You can expand the map to explore the entire world to get inspiration for your trip.
Or zoom in to find flights in a smaller geographic area.
Use the top tool bar to choose your preferences:
- Number of stops
The prices on the map will change when you change your preferences to help you find the best flights to locations based on your choices.
Google Flight’s Calendar Search shows you the prices of flights on a calendar and a graph. After you’ve entered your preferences, click on the calendar to choose your dates of travel.
You’ll see airfares for each date with the lowest fares highlighted in green:
For example, a flight from Philadelphia to Paris on Tuesday, March 31 that costs $3064 is only $938 the very next day on April 1. A savings of $2126 is pretty significant, especially when you’re traveling with a family! Maybe you could travel one day later?
Bar Graph Search
Google Flights also shows you a bar graph below the calendar so you can quickly compare the price differences by date. Click on Expand Graph to see a bigger picture of the graph and navigate around dates and duration of your trip.
General Location Search
The winter weather may be wearing you down so you may be excited to head for warmer climates without knowing precisely where you want to go. According to Google, 54% of people don’t have a specific destination in mind when they search for flights.
Google Flights gives you instant inspiration. You can enter a general destination, such as “Caribbean” or “Europe” to see flight options in those areas.
I’m Feeling Lucky! Search
If you’re feeling especially adventurous, click on the I’m Feeling Lucky button at the top of the Map Search and Google Flights will suggest a destination for you based on popular locations and your search history.
I clicked the I’m Feeling Lucky button and got Nassau, Bahamas as my Lucky Destination. In 3 hours and for $464 I could be basking in Bahamian sunshine. That would be lucky!
Google Does Data
Google Flights has been around since 2011 and during that time, Google has been collecting and analyzing data on people’s travel preferences. Using that data analysis, Google has updated Google Flights to help you see flight options that not only have the cheapest airfares but may be more appealing to you for your trip.
In its blog, Google shares with us its insights into people’s methods for booking flights. (Hint: sometimes what people say they want isn’t what they actually do.)
For example, Google says that:
- 4/10 people don’t choose the cheapest flight
- Only 2/10 people choose the cheapest flight when it’s significantly longer than their other options
→ See my original review, Google Flights – Your Ticket to Airfare Searches!
By using this update to Google Flights, you may be able to plan trips more efficiently and affordably.
What are your priorities when you book a flight? Do you like how Google Flights shows you airfares in both map and calendar formats? Have you tried the I’m Feeling Lucky button? Where did it take you? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!
Carolyn is feeling very lucky and will be exploring the world while away from the Internet for the next two weeks. Awesome tech articles will continue to be published here at The Wonder of Tech on schedule while she is away. Carolyn will return to answer comments on March 16.