Travel Tuesday: Google Flights is a Adding Money-Saving Feature
Travelers who are looking at flight options and fares have often found Google Flights to be a useful tool. Now, thanks to some updates, the service could further help flyers save some money on bookings.
This week, Google Flights announced that it would be upgrading the insights it provides to users. This includes giving flyers a better idea of when the best time to book a flight is. Previously, the tool displayed whether the current best-price available was high or low. Now, it will also show a date range for when the cheapest time to buy that flight typically is.
On that note, in their press release, Google did share some new data on specific types of flight bookings. For example, if you’re looking to travel for Christmas, they foresee the best prices being available 71 days ahead of time (which would be in early October — something that is sure to rile up Halloween fans).
Incidentally, this marks a major change from 2022 insights that said the best time was just 22 days before takeoff. Instead, the new range for holiday flights is 54 to 78 days prior. Similarly, Google found that those headed from the United States to Europe will want to book at least 72 days beforehand. As they state, once you’re within the 10-week window, prices tend to rise steadily.
Of course, there are other ways that Google Flights can help flyers save as well. For one, the service offers price tracking, allowing users to sign-up for notifications in regard to flights they are eyeing. Plus, those with flexible dates can turn on “any dates” price tracking to be alerted to deals.
Google has also been piloting a price guarantee program. For some flight results, customers can see a price guarantee badge. This not only denotes that Google is exceptionally confident that the fare display won’t be any lower but also means that, in the event they’re wrong about that, the company will give those who book the difference back via Google Pay. Currently, this offer is available on select Book on Google itineraries departing from the U.S.
Overall, these features — including the addition of the new “best time to book” insights — are what make Google Flights such a great tool for travelers. Alas, the service isn’t exactly perfect. For example, some carriers, such as Southwest and others don’t display their fares on the tool, meaning that flyers may want to check directly with those airlines. Additionally, the ruling Google gives on whether flight prices are low or high may be based only on the cheapest option and not necessarily indicative of others. Nevertheless, when it comes to seeing what’s available and tracking prices, Google Flights can be a great place to start your trip-planning adventure.
P.S. For more on when the best time to book is and how to save money on flights, you can also check out my previous article on the topic.