Have you tried booking a flight lately? If you have, then you already know how frustrating it can sometimes be. There was a time when booking a flight was a relatively easy thing to do because you just followed a straightforward approach. However, things haven’t been simple with regard to booking flights in years. They got rather complicated after the terrorist attacks of 2001 and COVID, along with all its restrictions, has only served to make the entire process even more confusing, often to the point that you end up feeling like you’d prefer to pull your hair out one strand at a time as opposed to booking a flight. It’s difficult in the extreme, and that’s just for domestic travel.
The Peril of Trying to Book a Flight
Trying to book something for an international flight is an entirely different ball game, one that would probably make a saint curse a sailor under the table. Throw in the fact that you obviously don’t want to spend any more money than necessary in order to get where you’re going safely, and things just got even more difficult. The prices of flights change all the time and how much you end up spending depends largely on who you book with, what third-party you use, and even which day of the week you decide to book your flight. Believe it or not, the time of day also has a direct impact on how much you will ultimately spend. When you factor in all of these different aspects, it’s genuinely enough to make your head spin. In fact, something that should be a relatively straightforward process that doesn’t take very long can end up taking the better part of your day. However, there is one way to get around all of this hassle. If you learn how to use Google Flights to your advantage, you can find good flights to just about anywhere in the world and you don’t have to pay a fortune in order to do it. If you’re not taking advantage of this particular service, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
What Is Google Flights?
Perhaps one of the more interesting things about Google Flights is that it’s been around a lot longer than most people think. As a matter of fact, Google launched it all the way back in 2011 after they bought out another company. Currently, they have it joined with a larger service, Google Travel. A lot of people utilize certain travel services to book flights because it’s easier than going directly through an airline and it also costs less money. That’s precisely how other sites like kayak and TripAdvisor have become so popular. Think of it this way. If you book a flight from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to London’s Heathrow Airport, you’re looking at a considerable cost, especially if you book directly through an airline. First and foremost, you have to find an airline that is providing service to and from the destination that you’re interested in. Unless you are taking off from a major airport such as New York, LA or Dallas, this can be challenging. Next, you have to try to book a flight and deal with however much the airline feels like charging at that particular point in time and you have to have everything virtually locked in. If you’re not quite sure of your travel dates just yet, you’re going to end up spending a lot more money than you probably want to because airlines tend to charge for cancelling tickets, changing tickets and virtually everything else. By the time you’re done, you spend hours staring at a computer screen and you probably tried to buy tickets several times over, only to have the screen time out or the airline send you a message telling you the tickets are no longer available. In some cases, you can actually watch the cost of these tickets change in real time because that’s how much the market changes from one minute to the next. It’s absolutely maddening and it’s something that will drive you completely mad if you let it.
Why Is Google Flights Better?
Suffice it to say, Google Flights is superior for a number of different reasons. First and foremost, they’re easy to use. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience with computers and you never booked a flight on your own in your life, the site so self-explanatory that you can still get on there and book a flight in a matter of minutes. For example, let’s say that you’re still interested in booking that same flight from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to London. The first thing you have to do is go to the Google Flights web page. There, it’s all laid out in a very user-friendly manner. You can choose which airport you want to fly out of and where you want to go for your destination. All you have to do is put in that information and then select the date that you want to start your trip. The system automatically provides you with all available options so that you have a choice between airlines and the cost of tickets. It’s all right there in front of you. They even tell you what the current travel restrictions are and whether or not the flight you selected is a direct flight or if they have a layover. Typically, the system is set up to tell you how much a round trip ticket will cost and it gives you an option to choose your arrival and departure dates. If you are looking for a one-way ticket, all you have to do is click on that option in the top left-hand corner and then you will see a new list of available flights come up. As previously mentioned, you also get to see how much each and every one of those flights cost so you have options available to you concerning the amount of money you want to spend, which airport you prefer to depart from and when you want to leave. Another major advantage of using Google Flights is that you can book your tickets as far out as you can imagine. If you’re interested in traveling a year from now, this is where you go to look at that information and then book tickets so that you can lock in the current price in case everything goes up by the time you look at it again.
Options for Weary Travelers
Another benefit of using Google Flights is that they provide travelers with options instead of locking them into one single thing. Remember how it was mentioned earlier that Google Flights lets you see whether or not your flight is direct or if it has a layover? These options can be used to help you save money if you so desire. That’s because a direct flight typically costs much more than a flight that has a layover, especially if that layover is significant or if there’s more than one. However, layovers aren’t always fun. You typically end up sitting in an airport lobby for hours waiting on the flight to take off again and in some cases, you’re actually forced to get off of one airplane and board another. These days, the market has become so volatile that you run the risk of getting stranded at every airport that has a layover because there’s no guarantee that your flight will actually take off on time or that it will take off at all. If you’re not bothered by the prospect of taking longer to get to your destination or the potential for spending a night or two in an airport lobby, then you might end up saving a great deal of money by choosing options with layovers. The good news is that you can see how much you could potentially save at first glance because Google Flights has the information right there on the dashboard for you to look at. In short, it gives you the opportunity to be well educated about the flights that you choose before you actually book anything. That puts you in charge so you have the opportunity to decide how you’re spending both your time and your money as opposed to feeling like you’re being handed a raw deal by the airlines.
Using Google Flights
So, how exactly do you use Google Flights? As previously mentioned, it’s a very user-friendly, straightforward design that’s almost foolproof. All you have to do is select the date you want to travel, the airport you want to depart from and the location that you’re traveling to. If you’re only buying a one-way ticket, you have to select that in the system as previously mentioned. Otherwise, you will be given an automatic option to choose your departure dates and your arrival dates. The system will then calculate the total for your ticket for a round trip ticket with the information that you have input. You then have the option choose from multiple airlines that provide service to your particular destination. You also have the option of choosing flights that go to your destination on a direct route or those that have a layover. As previously mentioned, you can also book flights that leave tomorrow or you can book something as far in advance as necessary. Once you’ve filled out all of your information, you are then given an opportunity to book those flights and you will simply input your credit card information and then receive a confirmation that your flight is booked.
One of the truly lovely things about Google Flights is that they provide you with additional information that is pertinent to your travel needs in real time. That’s something that has never been more important than it is right now, especially with COVID restrictions that change on an almost daily basis. If you are unclear about whether or not certain travel restrictions have been put in place for your chosen destination, this is the place to go to find out. Not only will they tell you whether or not restrictions are in place, but what those restrictions are. They also tell you what you must do in order to meet the necessary level of criteria to be able to board a flight to that particular destination. Following through with the example that has been used throughout, you would see a travel restriction pop up if you were to book a flight there today. It would tell you that in order to be able to board an aircraft to that destination, you have to have proof of your COVID vaccination. It will also tell you that you will be required to show proof of that vaccination upon landing. If you are unable to provide that proof, you will be forced to isolate for a period of 10 days before you are allowed to walk about freely. Having this information available cuts down on the confusion that a lot of people experience with regard to all of these restrictions because it’s virtually impossible to keep up with them all individually.
Thanks to Google Flights, booking a flight has become easy again. It’s not something that requires you to spend hours upon hours refreshing a computer screen, nor is it something that forces you to stay up half the night trying to get the best deal. It simply provides you with all of your available options and then gives you the power to choose which one of those options works best for you. Perhaps the best thing about it, other than the fact that it couldn’t be more user-friendly if it tried, is the fact that you have the opportunity to go into the process knowing exactly what you’re getting into with regard to layovers, travel restrictions and anything else that you need to know at the time. These days, managing to board an airplane and get where you’re going without any unpleasant surprises is practically impossible. Using Google Flights, you have that possibility given back to you so you can focus on where you’re going instead of stressing out over getting there.