Why Google Flights is Awesome – a Real-World Example

April 21, 2015 | By

Google Flights does everything I’ve ever wanted in a flight search tool.  You can of course search for all flights for a specific date, airline, departure airport, and destination airport, but you can also filter based on flight duration, number of stops, airline/alliances, flight times, etc..  Rather than list all of the features, I’ll show a real-world example.  Google Flights puts all of the search parameters in the URL, which makes it easy to share my complex flight search:


Here’s what this search finds (you can find all of this in the above URL):

  • Departing from San Francisco, Oakland, or San Jose airport (f=SFO,OAK,SJC;)
  • Flying to Tampa or Orlando airport (t=TPA,MCO;)
  • Departing on July 12, 2015, Returning on July 16, 2015 (d=2015-07-12;r=2015-07-16;)
  • No more than 1 stop (s=1;) (s=0; would return only direct flights)
  • Outbound flight departing between 6am and 9pm; Arriving between 4pm and 11pm; (ti=…)
  • Return flight departing between 8am and 2pm; Arriving between 1pm and 11pm; (ti=…)
  • Total flight time under 9 hours (md=540; [minutes])

The results (as of this writing) are as below (screenshot).  Depending on when you are reading this article, you might need to tweak the dates to get some results.  Once you select your flights, you are taken directly to the airline’s website to book the flight, so this isn’t adding any unnecessary travel booking agencies.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of how powerful Google Flights really is.  I can also add filters based on price range, airlines/alliances, cabin class, etc..  It also has fantastic support for multi-city flights.



Finding the cheapest dates to fly

If your dates are flexible, Google Flights has another great feature to find the lowest fair.  By clicking the little bar-graph icon on the view above, I get the following:


I’ve been using Google Flights for several months, and on several complex itineraries for both work and personal flights.  It’s been absolutely perfect and has simplified my travel booking significantly.

More info about Google Flights can be found at https://support.google.com/flights.

Full disclosure: I work for Google as part of the Google Cloud Platform Developer Relations team.  However, I do not work with the Google Flights team, so this post is written purely to share the awesomeness of Google Flights.  The fact that it’s built by another team at Google is simply a happy coincidence.




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About the Author (Author Profile)

Greg is a developer advocate for the Google Cloud Platform based in San Francisco, California
  • WOW. This is amazing.

    Is the Google Flights search functionality the same as what’s exposed by the QPX Express API’s Search (https://developers.google.com/qpx-express/v1/trips/search)? Looking at the doc, I’m not sure if you can pass in a string of comma delimited destinations and origins…

    Thanks for sharing! I’d love to use this in a hack some time…