Google has a habit of coming up with software tools that are so simple, they are virtually irreplaceable. Google Flights is just days old, but it’s already becoming one of those sites that we’ve always wanted but just didn’t know it yet. Here are a handful of reasons you’re never going to find a replacement.
1) It’ll keep you from getting plane sick
I’m not a big fan of flying (I have a pretty strict four hour limit before I reach my breaking point), which is why I’m going to use Google Flights for every trip I take from now on. As you might expect from Google, there’s a whole suit of filters you can apply to your flight searches, and my favorite is the “Duration” slider. Taking it all the way down to the four hour mark shows me all the places I can travel within my self-imposed limit, so I can be sure that I don’t meet with the air sickness bag before the journey has ended.
2) It’s crazy powerful
Instantly seeing the prices to any airport in the world is something only Google Flights can offer. Yes, you can do a search for whatever airport you want on other travel sites, but Google Flights travel map puts all those other options to shame. A single click will give you the flight times, stops, and prices to a new airport instantly—no typing or browsing required, it’s instant. It’s so easy to use that it’s actually fun to just see the routes and prices, and plan virtual trips you never intend on taking. Of course, there’s always the option to pull the trigger on a fantasy vacation and making it happen, which is where the real fun begins.
3) It’s the perfect vacation planner
Knowing you need a vacation but not knowing where to actually go is a problem as old as “time off” has existed, and Flights is like some sort of magical, digital genie that can answer that question in seconds. The main Google Flights page is full of popular destinations, just like most other travel sites, but it’s in a class of its own when it comes to details. Exact travel costs, numbers of stops, and travel times nailed down to the minute are just a few of the things you’ll get from your very first click. Web users often joke that “Google knows everything,” but in this case it seems entirely true.
4) It’s a penny pincher
A round trip ticket from my closest airport, Milwaukee, to San Francisco will cost me $570 on March 28. Normally, if I had to be in the Bay Area for that weekend I’d schedule the flight, pay my $570, and bemoan how pricey it is to fly to San Francisco in the springtime. Google Flights tells me I shouldn’t.
Instead, if I arrive just one day earlier on March 27, my round trip ticket will set me back just $383. No researching, no crazy pricing guides, and no bargain hunting is required—an ingenious, subtle pricing graph is displayed whenever you click on a destination, showing you how prices fluctuate over time and giving you every opportunity to save your hard earned cash.
5) If all else fails, it’ll just pick your destination for you
If all these powerful features still can’t help you decide on a vacation destination, Google will quite literally make the choice itself. The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button is a classic Google feature, and on Google Flights it will randomly pick a vacation spot for you based on the dates or other filters you’ve set. Starting at your home airport it can send you all over the world, and just like any other tool on the site, it will instantly give you the prices and other details as well. So close your eyes, click your mouse, and start an adventure.
Photo via Blue Pylons/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)