How to Find Cheap Flights Using Google Flights

By now you’re probably well aware of Google Flights as well as a slew of various other search engines or OTAs used to find flight deals. Google flights is our most commonly used tool to find cheap flight deals and excels as an aggregator for various routes and airlines. It’s an incredibly intuitive tool and quite powerful if you know a few tricks to get the most out of it.

Here, we’re going to walk you through and show you some lesser known functionalities that we at Firefly List use to find our flight deals.

What differentiates Google among other OTAs like Kayak or Priceline?

The pros: 

  1. Google aggregates tons of database information from travel agencies and airlines to compare prices across the board in real time. 
  2. Google can predict delays. Let’s say a specific route offered by airline X, from Dublin to Amsterdam gets delayed frequently by 30+ minutes, Google will notify you of this under the flight information log. 
  3. Google will give you more details with regards to your flight than other flight aggregators. For example, want to know how much leg room there will be? Google Flights will provide that information along with the type of aircraft, duration of flight, delays, and other ancillary information

The Cons: 

  1. Google doesn’t track every airline. One notorious example is Southwest. which has prevented third-party aggregators from logging their flights.
  2. They often won’t have the best prices. Because they’re not tracking all possible airlines, you can often find better niche deals on smaller flight aggregators.


Using the Multi-Airport Function in Google Flights

Under the departure input box, there’s a little ‘+’ icon, that when clicked gives you the ability to add more than one departure airport assuming airport codes are known.

So let’s say that I wanted to compare flight prices to Barcelona out of Denver, Atlanta, and Seattle, I’d input DEN, ATL, and SEA into the departure box, and then Barcelona into the destination. 

Note: There is a limit to this, Google Flights can only display so many results and thus anything over 5 or 6 departure airports at a time, Google will struggle with. 

Google Flights - Add Departure Airport

Using the Price Graph in Google Flights

The price graph will pull up an interactive graph with price on the Y axis, and dates on the X axis. You can scroll through this to quickly find cheap flights to a specific destination. Alternatively, you can use the calendar functionality to see how prices change across various months. 

Price Calendar: 

Using the Map Search in Google Flights

So maybe you haven’t quite decided on a destination yet. The map view will allow you to see flights out of selected departure airports to cities all over the world. If there are flights that are beneath their average price, Google will even highlight those in green to make the best deals more apparent. From this view you can alter other variables such as departure cities, flight times, airlines, or bag quantities.

Google Flights Map Function
Help, I went to book a flight on Google flights but the price went up?!
This is an unfortunate reality. Google works through searching various airline databases. Occasionally, an airline will up their price but it hasn’t been updated on Google yet. It’s unfortunate and luckily rare, but there’s little you can do to get that original fare back.
Some things you can try are by altering your dates and selected variables to see if there are other cheap flights available around the original selected time frame. 
Can I trust Google Flights?
Absolutely, Google is extremely reputable. They’re simply acting as an aggregator and once you’ve decided on a specific fare, they’ll provide you with a link that redirects you to an airline, or will have you book through their embedded system depending on the flight.

Thanks for checking out our Google Flights guide. We hope you found the information useful. 

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