Travel booking sites like Kayak, Orbitz, and Hotwire share the same data with little more than bright logos and William Shatner commercials distinguishing one from the other. Till now, Google's Flights tool has stood in the shadow of these online travel leaders, but new and updated features could help Flights surpass them all. Beyond finding the cheapest flights, it now also shows year-round price changes, money-saving destination swaps, and potential travel delays.
Pick Your Destination
If you want to travel, but aren't sure about the destination, you can enter your location and Google Flights will give you the best price for popular domestic and international destinations. The tool gathers flights that aren't at peak price based on the dates you want to travel. And the map also automatically shows the lowest price of any given destination, if you want to forgo the popular suggestions.
Determine When to Travel for Less
After you select your dates and your destination, Flights now shows you the price you're paying in comparison to high and low prices tracked for that airport throughout the year. It also offers cheap days to travel, so you can decide if it's worth losing one day on the slopes or beach to fly for less.
When you select your outbound flight, Google eases finding the right roundtrip option and highlights the best value in green. Nonstop flights are listed first, so if the first flight listed on your outbound choices is highlighted in green, Google has just found you the perfect travel deal. If you don't luck out, the tool highlights swaps at the top of the page, such as leaving or departing one day sooner or later.
Google Flights now warns you of any potential delays, like if a flight is regularly more than 30 minutes late, based on flight history and airport trends. That means you know about typical delays and possible cancellations from weather before you book. After you do book, it will monitor your trip and alert you of any changes.
Package Plans or Not
Unlike most booking sites, Google Flights separates hotel and flight options so you aren't plagued with hotel deals if your lodging is already set. If you do need a place to stay, click the Hotels tab after you book your flight, and all your trip information is automatically carried over. Then, based on that information, Google Hotels will find you the cheapest per-night rate nearby and highlight locations and amenities. They even throw in travel deals from other booking sites, so you can know all of your options.