Google Flights Price Tracker
Google Flights now has a great new tool: a Google flights price tracker. I’ll admit it’s not 100% the “stuff of dreams”, but it’s getting there. In this article, we’ll look at what this tool can do for you and how to use it. I’ll also highlight the one area where the Google Flights price tracker can continue to improve for the future.
Google Flights – The Basics
For anyone who doesn’t normally use Google Flights, here are some basics on what you can do. Firstly, it operates like you would normally use Expedia or Kayak or Orbitz. Search for flights and find what’s cheapest. Simple.
You also have the option to add multiple cities/airports by using the + sign. If you can fly to/from multiple airports, add them here to help you find a good deal.
Additionally, after providing some basic dates to start your search, you can see a calendar of dates. This can help you save money by flying a day or two earlier, etc. Note the part at the bottom where it says “Showing prices is USD for 8 day trips”. Adjust this to 7 days or 9 days as desired, to check more options.
Under where you put in your dates, you can click on “price graph” to see this chart.
Available filters let you choose not only the number of stops but also connecting airports, airline/alliance and more. The alliance/airline options are great if you’re working on a mileage run for a specific alliance to get status.
So now we understand basics of searching for flights with Google Flights. Once you’ve found flights you like, choose them and complete the booking like you would normally expect.
Google Flights New Price Tracker
All of that is well and good, but what if you think the prices are too high? Or what if you’re open to flexible dates? Do you want to keep searching again every few days? Or adjusting that bar for “show prices for 8 days” and now “show prices for 7 days” and on and on? Nope.
Enter the Google Flights price tracker. I’ll admit that Kayak.com has had something similar for a while. However, Google Flights has fixed the part of the Kayak tracker that drove me bananas. Let’s look.
Comparing to Kayak
On Kayak, you cannot search with more than one airport. Additionally, you can set an alert for specific dates or for a whole month at a time. You can’t set flexible dates for anything but a whole month. Maybe I’m available in late March or early April…but not all of March and not all of April.
One nice thing about the “specific dates” search on Kayak is that you can choose a class of service. That’s nice if you’re looking for premium economy or business class. You can’t use this option in the flexible dates alert.
Using Google Flights Price Tracker
Where Google’s version comes out ahead is the ability to track prices on your specific dates or on flexible dates with multiple airports. Gone are the days of setting multiple alerts for all possible combinations. Who wants to set an alert for March 1-8, March 1-7, March 2-8…? No thanks
With this new tool, I can track my specific dates and also flexible dates with multiple start/end airports. I can also track prices with filters, such as removing flights with long layovers or flying only on a certain airline. This provides only results that you care about and removes the need for setting a ton of different alerts.
One Area for Improvement on Google
It’s not perfect, though. Look what happens when I search for flights in business class.
I’ve now lost the ability to track flights with flexible dates. I can only track specific dates if my flights are in anything but regular economy. This is the same issue we saw with Kayak’s price tracker, so Google Flights isn’t necessarily lagging behind here. However, this is a feature they should add.
So How Good Is It?
“Any dates” sounds worrying, right? If I’m trying to get to Cancun for Spring Break, I don’t want “any dates”. Flights in February don’t help me.
After some testing, Google has figured out that I was looking for flights around 1 week and in mid-March. It has expanded about 2 weeks earlier and later and is offering me trips of 5-10 days.
Depending on how flexible you are, this could help you find cheaper flights to save money on a trip. Once you’ve found something (or given up), you can check your saved alerts here and delete anything you don’t want.
Google Flights Price Tracker: Final Thoughts
Google Flights continues to make improvements, and the price tracker is the latest in this long line. Originally just a search tool where you couldn’t actually buy the flights, Google Flights is now my “go to” when trying to find a cheap flight where I’m paying cash. Now, you have the ability to set alerts for multiple airports with flexible dates and then forget about it. Just wait for emails telling you about deals and better prices. Once they add this “flexible dates” feature to flights beyond economy, it will really be amazing. Especially since this is a free search engine.