Which web site do you use to search for flights? Expedia? Travelocity? Kayak? For years, I’ve used Kayak religiously. It always did the job. There’s now a flight search engine that I find myself using over Kayak: Google Flights. Yes, Google is claiming yet another element of the internet.
There are two main reasons Google Flights is probably the best flight search engine: speed and visualization of alternative destinations.
Google Flights is Fast!
Whereas other flight search engines take seconds to update results when you make any significant change to your search, Google Flights updates almost instantly. It’s very impressive the site can process pricing algorithms as fast as it does.
I ran a couple test searches and found that where Kayak took about 9 seconds on average to return a complete list of results, Google Flights returned a complete list of results in under 1 second. If you’re doing flight searches without definitive destinations or dates, you’ll really appreciate the speed of Google Flights.
If you’re flexible with your travel dates, just click the small bar icon underneath the return date field and a calendar with flight prices will pop up. Again, this isn’t a unique feature, but the speed with which it works is unique.
Google Flights Offers Great Visualization of Destination Options
If you’re not quite sure of exactly where you want to go, Google Flights offers a visualization option that is extremely useful. The site will superimpose flight prices for a wide variety of destinations onto a map, and it does it fast. This is excellent for honeymooners who may know of the region they want to visit but not of the exact city or country.
Additional Notes on Google Flights
Google Flights isn’t a site you actually book airfare through; it will connect you to booking sites when you’re ready to pull the trigger. This step seems to be viewed as a negative by some folks but I actually don’t mind it at all as I prefer to book through the carrier’s site. Doing so can eliminate finger-pointing between a third-party site and the carrier if there are problems with the booking.
I’ve used the Kayak app extensively over the years so I was bit disappointed to find out there isn’t a Google Flights app. On the other hand, the mobile version of the Google Flights website is great, offering almost all of the functionality of the full web site.
Have you found a flight search engine you prefer over Google Flights? Or have you discovered other functionality of the Google Flights website worth mentioning? If so, share your thoughts in the comments.