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Google Flights Actually Saved Me Half off of a Fare

Seoul, South Korea - July 29th, 2015; An illustrative editorial of travel planning using a map app on a laptop, the Duolingo language learning app on an iPhone, passport, Visa Debit card, and some foreign cash and coins.

Nobody likes a cluttered inbox, but what if an extra email could save you a bunch of money on your next flight? Turns out, it definitely could and it has for me! Here’s how I used Google Flights to score an incredible deal on my flight to Mexico City.

First of all, let’s talk about Google Flights. How is it different from any other flight search engine? Search parameters between flight scanners are relatively uniform; you’ll need a departure hub, destination, and some idea of when you’d like to travel. One of the things I like the most about Google Flights is that you don’t need a particular date; you can search by month and check out a price grid and graph to compare ideal travel dates. And you can also compare flight prices to different destinations if you don’t know where you want to travel.

Google Flights also has a feature I haven’t seen before on flight search engines: the baggage button. This button allows you to filter flights that don’t include a carry-on cabin bag, thereby avoiding surprise fees at booking. Of course, you’ll likely run into a few hidden fees on top of the advertised base fare, but those fees depend on the airline and local regulations.

Apart from a few extra conveniences, Google Flights is very similar to other search engines; the most obvious and most important key difference, though, is its automatic connection to your Google account. When you search for flights but you’re not ready to book them, you can turn on a price tracker which automatically tracks drastic changes in price and alerts you to those changes directly. This has saved me money more times than I can count.

Take my recent score, for example. I wanted to fly from Detroit (DTW) to Mexico City (MEX) for which I expected to pay around $350 USD on Air Canada. If I wanted to splurge for a direct flight with Aeromexico (a Delta partner flying from a Delta hub) then I’d have to put up $430. Both of these fares were fairly consistent over the couple of weeks that I was looking, and I wasn’t too concerned about prices starting to go up, especially since I had flexible travel dates.

Neither of these was a terrible fare, but I knew that I could probably do better. So, I clicked on the Track Prices option on my Google Flights search and put it away for the time being.

It’s lucky I did that because it wasn’t long before I received a notification from Google Flights that my itinerary had dropped in price. It wasn’t just a little sale, either; I ended up booking the direct Aeromexico itinerary for just half the normal price! That’s $215 for a direct flight between Detroit and Mexico City. Not bad!

But here’s the thing: I would have likely missed this sale had it not been for the alert because the sale was just a quick flash sale, and when I say flash, I mean flash. The sale, presumably aiming to get some behinds in some empty seats (or maybe even a mistake), lasted only around 2 hours. So without the alert set, this isn’t a deal that I would have been likely to stumble upon. Even as someone who is constantly plugged into the travel community, it’s impossible to be aware of every opportunity as it comes up. Those of us who have tried to take advantage of surprise error fares know the sting of hitting the Book button a few seconds too late; it’s a game of luck.

But setting a flight alert in Google Flights is probably one of the best ways to increase your luck; it essentially guarantees that you’ll be aware of a deal when it pops up. And without it, I definitely wouldn’t have scored a $215 direct ticket to Mexico City! So next time you’re browsing for good fares, set up an alert through Google Flights. Who knows? Maybe you’ll score a sweet deal too!

Have you ever used Google Flights price alerts?

Comments are Closed.
Tenkawa June 17, 2019

Yes I have, and it has saved me hundreds. I travel from YVR to IND once a year, and normally this is a $650CDN+ flight. Using google flights and tracking the dates I wanted, I waited for the notifications. Last year (2018), I got a notification about 9 months ahead that there was a flight on Delta through SEA for $350CDN. Oh heck yes. Sure it was lowest of the low status, but I wanted it. I booked immediately, then told 2 friends. Delta had just added a new route and opened bookings. Their flights cost more than mine did by a few dollars as the plane filled over the course of 4 hours. This year (2019), I started the watch at 10 months, and at 8 months out, I got the notification that Air Canada had a sale though YYZ for $400CDN. Yup, booked. So I saved about 700-800 dollars on flights with Google Flights' notifications.