How to Find Cheap Flights in 2023: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Google Flights

How to Find Cheap Flights in 2023: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Google Flights

“Unlock Insane Deals: 2023’s Cheapest Flights Exposed! Master Google Flights for Epic Savings. Your Ultimate Guide. Don’t Miss Out!

Let me first share with you a truth that few in the travel business are prepared to confess, before I go on to explain why Google Flights is my preferred airline search engine and why Going uses its sample results in almost every Going deal we send to 2 million+ customers.

There isn’t a single airline that is the cheapest to fly. And for this reason, I adore Google Flights.

I can tell you with certainty that they’re all essentially the same because I’ve spent years (years!) of my life looking through millions of fares on hundreds of airlines and flight search engines.

That’s fantastic news, not bad. It implies that regardless of the flight search engine you pick, you will still receive the same benefits. And Google Flights is the one that I’ve personally discovered to be both the simplest and most effective.

(In case there was any question, we receive no commission, payment, kickbacks, goodwill, or anything else in exchange for this advice. At Going, we are committed to inexpensive airfares. Period.)

Pros of Google Flights

Google Flights offers several advantages to users:

  1. Comprehensive Search Results: Google Flights provides a wide range of options from various airlines and travel agencies, giving you a comprehensive view of available flights.
  2. User-Friendly Interface: The interface is intuitive and easy to use, allowing users to quickly input their travel details and get relevant results.
  3. Flexible Date and Destination Searches: You can search for flights without specifying exact dates or even a destination. This is helpful if you’re flexible with your travel plans.
  4. Price Tracking: Google Flights allows you to track the prices of specific flights or routes, and it will send you notifications when prices change.
  5. Interactive Calendar: The calendar feature shows you the lowest fares for different dates, making it easy to find the most cost-effective time to travel.
  6. Filtering and Sorting Options: Users can filter and sort results based on various criteria such as price, duration, number of stops, and airline preference.
  7. Integration with Google Services: It’s integrated with other Google services, like Google Maps and Google Pay, making it easy to find directions to the airport and manage payments.
  8. Multi-City Searches: You can search for multiple destinations in a single query, making it convenient for planning complex itineraries.
  9. Explore Destinations Feature: This feature allows users to discover new destinations based on their interests, budget, and travel dates.
  10. Mobile App Accessibility: The Google Flights app is available for both Android and iOS, allowing users to search for and book flights on the go.
  11. Predictive Pricing: It offers insights into whether flight prices are likely to increase or decrease in the near future, helping users make informed decisions.
  12. No Booking Fees: Google Flights doesn’t charge any additional fees for booking flights. It redirects you to the airline or travel agency’s website for direct booking.
  13. Integration with Google Accounts: If you’re logged in with your Google Account, you can save your flight details and preferences for future searches.
  14. Real-Time Updates: Google Flights provides real-time information about flight delays, cancellations, and gate changes.
  15. International Currency Conversion: It can display prices in various currencies, which is useful for travelers from different parts of the world.
  16. Information on Baggage Fees: Google Flights often provides information about baggage fees, helping you consider the total cost of your trip.

Remember that while Google Flights offers many advantages, it’s always a good idea to cross-check prices with other flight booking platforms to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Let me provide an example to show you how everything works together to get you a cheap flight.

Imagine you are a Philadelphian who wants to travel to Europe next summer. Typically, a flight search engine would limit your options to flights leaving from Philadelphia and landing in one particular European airport, let’s say Paris. You would need to conduct another search if you are also interested in flights to Amsterdam.

But with Google Flights, you may select six other airports that are close by as your departure locations, including three in the New York City region and three in the Washington, DC, region.

You might choose Paris, Amsterdam, and up to five other airports as your final destination. With these details, Google Flights will display the 49 potential itineraries’ least expensive airfares. (Additionally, it will show you results for the entire 12-month calendar, not just on a given date.)

The result:

  • Other search engines (June 5-12): $1,282 from Philadelphia to Paris
  • Google Flights (June 5-12): $431 from NYC to Paris

We were able to save $851 thanks to Google Flights by simultaneously checking up to 7 airports (including the tiny train fare up to NYC) for departure and arrival.

Flight Result
Flight Result
Departing Flights
Departing Flights

Cons of Google Flights

While Google Flights offers many advantages, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider:

  1. Limited Regional Coverage: Google Flights may not have as extensive coverage for certain regional or smaller airlines, potentially missing out on some niche routes.
  2. No Direct Booking: While Google Flights provides information and links to book flights, it doesn’t handle the booking process itself. This means you’ll be redirected to the airline or travel agency’s website to complete the transaction.
  3. Lack of Exclusive Deals: Some travel agencies and airlines may offer exclusive deals or promotions that are not listed on Google Flights. It’s worth checking directly with airlines and agencies for any special offers.
  4. Limited Customization for Complex Itineraries: While it’s possible to search for multi-city itineraries, some users may find that Google Flights lacks the advanced customization options offered by specialized travel agencies or booking platforms.
  5. No Loyalty Program Integration: Google Flights doesn’t integrate with airline loyalty programs, so you’ll need to manage your rewards separately if you’re a frequent flyer.
  6. Potential for Price Discrepancies: Prices on Google Flights may not always match those on the airline or agency’s website due to factors like currency conversion or real-time updates. It’s a good practice to double-check prices before finalizing a booking.
  7. Limited Customer Support: Since Google Flights redirects you to third-party websites for booking, if you encounter issues during the booking process, you’ll need to contact the airline or agency directly for assistance.
  8. Privacy Concerns: Some users may have privacy concerns about using a service provided by a company known for data collection. While Google has measures in place to protect user data, this can still be a consideration for some.
  9. Inability to Search for Packages or Accommodations: Google Flights primarily focuses on flights and doesn’t include options for searching for hotel accommodations or vacation packages, which may be important for some travelers.
  10. Dependence on Internet Connectivity: Since Google Flights is an online service, you need a stable internet connection to use it effectively. This may not be ideal for travelers in areas with limited connectivity.

It’s important to weigh these potential drawbacks against the benefits to determine if Google Flights is the right tool for your specific travel needs. Additionally, always exercise caution and conduct thorough research when making flight reservations.

How to use Google Flights

The main online travel firms, including Orbitz, Expedia, and Priceline, as well as nearly every airline’s website are all searched by Google Flights for prices. A Google Flights lesson can be found below.

How to configure your Google Flights departure and arrival points to obtain the most alternatives
When you get at the homepage, enter your desired departure and destination airports as well as the dates you would want to go. Here’s an illustration:

How to use Google Flights
How to use Google Flights

Three things to keep in mind

  • The destination can be a city, region, or even a whole continent. Put “Caribbean” as your destination if you’re trying to locate the cheapest flight to the Caribbean during the winter holidays.
  • Each box can contain up to seven airports, separated by commas. You may enter “LHR, CDG, AMS, CPH, BCN, FCO, MXP” as your destination to find the cheapest airfare from Chicago to either London, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Rome, or Milan if you’re looking for a cheap trip anyplace in Europe.
  • There are city codes for certain cities with numerous airports. These include NYC (New York City) and WAS (Washington, DC), each of which counts for three because NYC is comprised of JFK, LGA, EWR, and WAS=DCA, IAD, BWI.

How to use Google Flights’ date picker to see which day is the cheapest to fly

Click the departure date box to look for the cheapest travel dates. Doing so will display pricing for two months, with the cheapest dates highlighted in green, as follows:

How to use Google Flights'

Two crucial points:

  • When you use Google to search for flights, it just looks at the costs for the months you’ve specified. The green dates in the aforementioned example are therefore the cheapest in May and June, but if you scroll to an earlier or later time period, you might be able to locate cheaper dates and therefore save money.
  • Only the length of the trip that you initially defined is included in the affordable green dates. I initially looked for a 7-day trip, but as the red box above shows, changing the length of the trip can frequently lead to drastically different prices. (Pro-tip: Changing from a 6-day vacation to a 7-day trip frequently results in considerable fare reductions. Due to the small print on overseas flights.often mandates that the cheapest fares only be available for trips of at least 7 days.)

After viewing the calendar of lowest prices, click on the desired dates to bring up a long list of potential flights, as seen below:

Best Departing Flights

Observe how Google Flights displays a selection of what it deems to be the “Best departing flights” at the top after taking into account variables like cost and route. Even so, it could be worthwhile to check out the “Other departing flights” to identify the flights that will work best with your timetable.

On Google Flight, all flight times are displayed in local time. On a Google Flights itinerary, if you see a +1 next to the arrival time, that signifies your flight will arrive the following day (or two days later if it reads +2).

How to use Google Flights to make reservations

Select a suitable departing flight and then click on it. If you are purchasing a roundtrip fare, you will next be asked to select a comparable return flight, and your screen will appear as follows:

How to use Google Flights to make reservations

In the example above, all you have to do to change the departing flight is click where it reads “EWR-ORY” on the left, just above “Returning flights.”

Three quick points to remember are:

  • All taxes are included in the price Google Flights displays, however extra expenses (such as seat selection or luggage if they are not included) are not.
  • If you’ve looked up a roundtrip itinerary, Google Flight will show you the price for the complete roundtrip.
  • Google Flights is a flight search engine, not an online travel agency (OTA). Thus, Google Flights isn’t exactly a travel agency. Instead, it provides links so you may book through an online travel agency or directly with the airline after you’ve selected your itinerary. (For some flights, you’ll see the choice to “Book on Google with [airline],” which is actually just a fancy way for Google to send your data and payment to the airline.)

Once you click your preferred return flight, you’ll be shown your booking options, like so:

Booking Options

Numerous airlines provide a variety of economy ticket options. Basic economy and major economy (or terms with comparable meanings) are the two most popular. You may find out about the many benefits and limitations of various economy tickets using Google Flights, as follows:

Booking options

Which carriers are available through Google Flights?

The vast majority of airlines are listed on Google Flights, including: 

  • Aer Lingus
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada
  • Air Serbia
  • Alaska
  • ANA
  • American
  • British Airways
  • China Southern
  • Copa
  • Delta
  • Ethiopian
  • Etihad
  • Emirates
  • Hawaiian
  • Iberia
  • Icelandair
  • JetBlue
  • KLM
  • LOT
  • Lufthansa
  • Qatar Airways
  • SAS
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Swiss
  • TAP
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United
  • Westjet
  • and many, many more

Which carriers are not accessible with Google Flights?

Southwest Airlines flights in the US are the main omission. Southwest purposefully does not sell tickets through online travel companies and exclusively sells them directly through their website.

Funny enough, Google Flight does display the Southwest flight schedule but not the cost. You must visit to view the fare.

Which carriers are not accessible with Google Flights?

Frequently Asked Questions About Google Flights

Certainly! Here are some frequently asked questions about Google Flight:

1. What is Google Flights?

  • Google Flight is a travel search engine developed by Google. It helps users find and compare flight prices across various airlines and booking platforms.

2. How do I use Google Flight to search for flights?

  • To search for flights, go to the Google Flights website or use the Google Flights app. Enter your departure city, destination, travel dates, and the number of passengers. Google Flights will then display a list of available flights.

3. Can I book flights directly through Google Flight?

  • No, Google Flight does not facilitate direct bookings. Instead, it redirects users to the airline’s website or a third-party booking platform to complete the reservation.

4. Does Google Flights charge any fees for its service?

  • No, Google Flight is a free service provided by Google. It does not charge any fees for using its flight search engine.

5. Can I filter my flight search results on Google Flight?

  • Yes, Google Flights offers various filters to refine your search results. You can filter by price range, airlines, number of stops, duration, and more.

6. Can I track the price of a specific flight on Google Flights?

  • Yes, Google Flights allows users to track the price of a specific flight. You can enable price tracking and receive notifications when the price of that flight changes.

7. Does Google Flights show prices in real-time?

  • Google Flight provides up-to-date information on flight prices. However, prices may change due to factors like demand, availability, and airline policies.

8. Can I book multi-city or open-jaw flights on Google Flight?

  • Yes, Google Flight supports multi-city and open-jaw flight searches. You can enter multiple destinations and Google Flight will help you find suitable flights.

9. Does Google Flights have a mobile app?

  • Yes, Google Flight has a mobile app available for both Android and iOS devices. It offers the same functionality as the website, allowing users to search and compare flights on the go.

10. Can I book hotels or rental cars through Google Flight?

  • While Google Flight primarily focuses on flights, it may provide links to hotels and rental car options through its partner sites.

11. Is Google Flight available in all countries?

  • Google Flight is accessible in many countries around the world. However, the availability of certain features or local airlines may vary by region.

12. How can I contact Google Flight customer support?

  • Google Flight does not have a dedicated customer support team. For assistance with booking or flight-related issues, you will need to contact the airline or booking platform directly.

Please note that the information provided is based on the state of Google Flights as of my last training data in September 2021. There may have been updates or changes after this date.

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