Cheap Air Fares and Google Flights

Flying over the Sierras on a cheap flight I found from Phoenix to San Jose, CA

I have been extremely fortunate in finding great prices for airline tickets, which is mostly due to using Google Flights.

What is Google Flights? It is a matrix system run by Google which searches for your destination and lists all the available flights (with the exception of a few non-participating airlines). It is extremely easy to use and has some features you won’t find elsewhere:

Explore destinations – this option presents a map with destinations in the area you’re interested in or even the world, showing flight prices. For instance, a week ago I was looking at Europe and found a flight available in January to Heathrow Airport in London from Phoenix Arizona for just $370.

Google Flights will also alert you to cheaper flights available within days of your desired departure date as you’re searching, so if you’re flexible you can take advantage of them. And you can sign up for travel alerts when reduced fares are offered for your destination after you leave the site.

I’ve tried telling several people about Google Flights but generally get the response that they use Sky Scanner or Expedia or something else they’ve been using for years. It’s time to move on, people.

Remember Google Flights is not a booking service; they simply show you what’s available. It was a young hostel guest I met today who finally agreed that Google Flights was a big help and urged me to blog about it. Thanks, Hayden!


  • My one-way flight to the Philippines last year on China Southern airlines was just $323 and my daughter’s roundtrip was $721. China Southern was a great experience – big airplane, lots of room, and we seemed to be fed constantly. (Found on Google Flights)
  • My one-way flight on Southwest Airlines to Liberia, Costa Rica this year – just $235. Southwest is not available on Google Flights.
  • However, it was because of Google Flights, I also discovered that a flight to South America was much cheaper from Phoenix than going from any airport in Central America, so I was able to return home for Christmas (on Southwest for just $235 again) and then go on to South America for less than going directly to South American from Central America.
  • Here’s another cheap flight travel tip – do not be afraid to fly airlines you’ve never heard of. I had great experiences with Nok Air and Viet Air in Southeast Asia, instead of the more well-known Air Asia. I do look new-to-me airlines up online where you’ll find several sites that give flight record information and even independent customer reviews. In that part of the world, you may find yourself comparing a $60 flight to a $28 fare, which can seem incredible and lead one to the idea that the cheaper flight is on some kind of broken down crate. I did not find that to be true at all.

So, I urge you to explore Google Flights and in general stay open to new ways of travel. Every penny you save on things like flights and accommodations gives you more to spend on food and fun!

Author: Kathy Lynn Hall

I've embarked on the lifestyle of vagabond as a solitary woman and I'm excited about sharing my experiences with you.

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