Life Travel

How To Book Plane Tickets Using Google Flights

Google Flights
Google Flights

Google is my best friend in everything. I have never worked for Google but I have been using Google ever since it existed. Google Flights was launched in 2011 and yet, there are many people who do not know about it. As usual, Google doesn’t flaunt their assets much.

I have been booking plane tickets using Google Flights as my research tool instead of Skyscanner for many years now. The reason is rather simple for me: Google Flights provide the cheapest option even compared to Skyscanner due to its large resource pool. Gotta look out for my wallet when I am constantly travelling.

Despite these factors, Skyscanner is relatively a great flight search provider as well. There is no Google Flights app so far. However, both flight search providers are free so that’s already great news!

Step 1: Go to Google Flights

You can either stay on this page and use this older version of Google Flights or click Try Now on the right-hand side of the screen.

If you do click on Try Now, you may be told that it has not been launched in the country that you are in. However, that does not mean that you cannot use Google Flights. It simply means that they don’t have the features in that country’s currency, yet. For example, I am currently residing in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Google Flights have yet to be launched in Thailand. Thus, I simply choose my home country, Malaysia, as that’s the currency that I would like to view the prices in. If you would like to view flights in a different currency, simply choose what currency you would like to see the prices to be in.

Google Flights has recently added new features and this is how the new version looks like after clicking Try Now.

google flights
New features: Price tracking and deals, Google Trips and hotel search.

Step 2: Enter your departure city or airport and destination. 

(Note: You can also find destinations by clicking on a popular destinations list or on a world map. Flight prices are updated approximately every 24 hours.)

After entering the information requested, you can either choose the dates that you want or simply click explore.

At the top, first, select your ticket type: one-way, roundtrip, or multi-city. Then, select the number of passengers, and cabin class.

Here is a sample of what I have tried for Chiang Mai to Dubai for 1 passenger. This calendar is one of my favourite features of Google Flights as it shows the roundtrip prices for each date of the month.

Tip: If you were to click on 16th Jan 2018 for departure and your return to be on 30th Jan 2018, your total flight will be RM2,245 (approximately 550 USD). However, if you choose 31st Jan 2018 as your return flight, your ticket price will increase to RM 2,338 (approximately 573 USD).

Google Flights
The green colour represents cheapest dates. Grey prices represent more expensive flight dates.

If you would like to go on a long holiday to multiple cities to stop over in, remember to click multi-city at the top of the page. Prices vary for each flight that you choose and you will see the multi-city total flight price instead of per city.

Google Flights
A sample of multi-city flights.

In the case of doing multi-city stops, you will need to know what are the best routes to go about before selecting your stopover city. If you are planning through Asia, I will always suggest for you to either fly through Kuala Lumpur to any other Asian countries or Singapore for Western countries. These two international hubs will often provide you with the cheapest flights.

Another thing I love about Google Flights is price graph and track prices. These two features ensure that I will be able to plan my trip based on my tight budget without a hassle.

Google Flights
A sample of price graph. Price tracking will be an email notification.

Step 3: Select your options to buy the tickets.

Most of the time, you will need to be redirected to the airline’s website to purchase the flights but there are some instances where you will be able to buy the flight directly from Google. If you are unable to buy the flight online, Google will teach you how to buy the flights by phone instead.

Google Flights
A sample of purchasing flight page.

Google Flights works in a way that the price showed is only for the passenger air transport service itself and includes VAT/GST and airport taxes. Any other additional fees such as credit card charges or baggage will need to be referred to the airline carrier selected.

Flights can be bought as separate tickets from one or more partners. According to Google Flights Support, this option might appear when it could save you money or opens more flight schedules. If you see this option, it is best that you visit the airline’s website directly and buy both tickets. However, do a double check on the prices and availability before buying any tickets!

If you are wondering why are some flights unavailable on Google Flight, chances are the tickets have been sold out or the airline carrier has yet to be included. I am unsure which airline is not on Google as they have about 300 airline carriers and travel agencies registered.

This is how efficient and easy Google Flights is. Time to book your next plane ticket the smarter way. 😉

Google Support provides guidance on how to purchase your flights on your mobile devices. Select either Android or iPhone&iPad.

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