Google Flights claims to help you book the cheapest flight tickets. Does it work? We checked

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaSep 06, 2023 | 09:00

Google Flights claims to help you book the cheapest flight tickets. Does it work? We checked

The unveiling of this feature was officially communicated through a blog post on Monday (August 28). Photo: Getty Images

If we are taking a trip, out of all the things that burn a hole in our pocket, the most painful one is the expense that begins even before our trip starts – ie, booking tickets. And if we are booking a flight ticket, the prices skyrocket. Recently, various reports have indicated that flight ticket prices will soar during Diwali. But Google Flights claims to have a solution. 



Google Flights has introduced a new function designed to aid travellers on a budget as they strive to find the most favourable airfare bargains. The unveiling of this feature was officially communicated through a blog post on Monday (August 28).

  • This feature will let Google advise users about the best times to make flight bookings in order to optimise their cost savings.
  • This addition comes alongside the platform's existing tools, such as price tracking alerts and a price guarantee option. According to Google's official blog statement:
"Through careful analysis of reliable trend data, users can now identify the historically lowest price points for booking flights on their preferred dates and to their desired destinations."
- Google Blog

Before getting into this, here's the thing: According to Google's blog, they 'rolled out' the feature within the last week. So, we waited for a week and tracked prices for certain destinations, and here's what we found about its effectiveness.

First, a quick guide to how it will work, according to Google

1. Get new insights on the cheapest time to book

Previously, on Google Flights, we could already see whether current prices for your search are low, typical or high compared to past averages for the same route.


  • Should you opt to make a booking instantly or hold off in anticipation of potentially reduced prices down the line?
  • According to Google, they have upgraded their insights to make that choice a bit easier. For reliable trend data, with the latest update, we can now see when prices have typically been lowest to book your chosen dates and destination.

For example, these insights could tell you that the cheapest time to book similar trips is usually two months before departure, and you’re currently in that sweet spot or you might learn that prices have usually dropped closer to takeoff, so you decide to wait before booking. Either way, you can make that decision with a greater sense of confidence.

The real deal

  • To put it simply, if this feature works, you can get the best time to book a flight ticket, and if you are flexible with your dates, you can either wait or book right away, according to the insights provided by Google.
  • So, we tried and tried to book several destinations, but the feature was only visible for selective flights. For instance, we attempted to book flights from Delhi to Goa or Delhi to Dibrugarh (Assam), but we were unable to see any suggestions.

However, when we tried booking from Delhi to Bagdogra, luckily we were able to find that suggestion. But Google asked me to book the tickets five months in advance, which clearly is not a wise(est) suggestion because, of course, the flight prices will be much lower five months before the travel date.

Photo: Google Flights/dailyO

2. Turn on price tracking

  • Let's say we decide to wait to book our tickets. But how can we know when it will be the right time to book the flight ticket? Do you want to check daily? We dislike the process of anticipating and relying on luck to figure out the best time to book our flights. To solve this, Google has introduced a new feature for tracking routes.
  • After enabling this feature, Google will automatically notify us via email if flight prices drop significantly.

How can you do that? You can set up tracking for specific dates, or, if you're more flexible, you can turn on "Any dates" price tracking to receive emails about deals anytime in the next three to six months.

Unlike the previous feature, the tracking price option is available for all the flights. For instance, we tracked the same flight, Delhi to Bagdogra (West Bengal), and within the span of two weeks, we received two emails.

Check it out: 

Screegrab: DailyO
Screengrab: dailyO

3. Money-back guarantee?

Now, the third point is a very interesting one, as it offers a money-back guarantee. 

  • On some flight results, you’ll see a colourful price guarantee badge, which means Google is especially confident the fare that we see today won’t get any lower before departure.
  • Once you trust Google, and book one of these flights, Google will monitor the price every day before takeoff, and if the price does go down, according to the site, it will pay you back the difference via Google Pay.
  • However, Indians can't access this feature, as these price guarantees are part of a pilot program available for select Book on Google itineraries departing from the US. 

Bottom line: The initiative itself is great; however, you need to be really, I mean really, flexible with your dates and sometimes your destination to use Google Flight's features for any profit. 

Last updated: September 06, 2023 | 09:00
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