Google is Now Offering Price Protection on Flights

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On August 13th, Google Flights launched a price guarantee on selected flights booked on its platform. In a nutshell, if Google is confident that they're offering the cheapest tickets, they'll pay you the difference if they're wrong.

Google Flights

Google Flights is one of the primary search consoles for finding cheap flights. Similar to Kayak, Orbits, and Skyscanner (my personal favorite), Google Flights will search a wide range of airlines (not all of them) to find the best deals. While I find the search functions a bit more limited than Skyscanner, it's still one of the best platforms for finding the best deals if you know what dates you want to fly, or just want to find a fantastic deal from your airport of choice.

Price protection on Google Flights will be available on select flights booked between August 13th and September 2nd, 2019. The journey must be completed by November 24th. You can find more details about the price protection experiment on Google's Blog.

How it Works

Google Flights will only provide price protection on flights it's confident won't drop in price. There will be a colorful badge by your flight when you book notifying you that the flight will be covered by the protection. If the price does drop before your departure date, Google will send you an email of the drop and how to claim your refund. The service is automatic, and no additional actions are necessary between booking and receiving your email that you have a refund waiting. If you cancel or change any part of your trip, the price protection will be voided.

My Thoughts

I usually start my search for flights with Skyscanner as they have the best search engine. However, once I've found the flight that I want and the days I want to travel on, I'll head over to Google Flights to ensure the price is the best. I've only booked my flight a couple of times with Google Flights directly. Now I have an incentive to do so, at least for the next couple of weeks. This will be perfect for my upcoming trip to Iceland, although it will be hard to beat the $50 round-trip tickets I found from London to Reykjavik!

Source: Google

Google is Now Offering Price Protection on Flights
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Comments

  • The Arts Traveler says:

    I will still book directly with the airline. It’s worth it to me.

  • It is unfortunate that the price guarantee will only available for a limited time only. I wish that it were a permanent feature.

    • Depending on the results they will obtain this experiment could become permanent.
      They have invested on developing this so in my opinion it’s possible that this feature will become permanent.

    • It’s worth at least taking a look to see if it’s worth it.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    It was only a matter of time before google got in the game. They really want to enter every aspect of life. Kinda scary.

  • Is this only for specific flights or International flights? I tried searching a couple of domestic itineraries but I could not find the price protection symbol.

  • It was already the best place to search, now its probably the best place to book as well!

    • Perhaps until September 2nd… It would have been nice if this trial was on a broader scale, and for a longer duration.

  • It’s nice that the email notifying you of a price drop and how to claim refund is automatic. Generally, many people wouldn’t have noticed a price drop if that weren’t the case.

    • That’s an excellent point. And Google is large enough that they can eat a few refunds if it drives traffic and sales their way. Similar to Amazon undercutting others.

      • Yeah I hope it sticks around. I don’t have any travel until May so I can’t use it right now and presumably show Google people are interested in this.

  • I use Goolge Flights and would be interested to see how this plays out!

  • It is a great concept to have price insurance, and one day airlines will hopefully move to a better pricing model. I will have to check out skyscanner as I have typically just been using Kayak.

    • I’ll cast another vote for Skyscanner. In fact, I just used a feature of theirs I recently found, where you can select “everywhere” as your destination, and see all destinations ranked by price, from lowest on up. Great way to see where domestic and international deals are on a particularly day.

  • Google flights is aggregating flights that can be booked via other sites – whether it is on an airline site or 3rd party site like Kayak,expedia etc. What if Google flights shows me a flight price and then when I go to the actual site it’s not the same?

    • I don’t think there is any recourse there. If google doesn’t have the best deal, it’s probably better to book elsewhere.

    • Tamas Frajka says:

      It has happened before, the price they showed was not available anywhere. This is more a marketing gimick, sure they have some machines crunching numbers and they mostly only bet on those where the likelihood of having to issue a refund is miniscule.

  • The simplicity of the service shines.

  • Google Flights fighting for the market is good news. We know that they realize they can’t win in every kind of application, so they are focusing on those that seem to be competitive.. Thanks for the info!

  • I didn’t realize this was just a “test” offer. I guess if it’s successful (i.e., they don’t have to make any or only a few refunds), then they will continue it? I have a couple flights to book within the window, but the airline isn’t one they cover, so I won’t be able to try them out. Oh well, good luck to those that can.

  • this is certainly a good addition. I typically start any complex flight search thru google flights first and once i have the exact flights, i book with the airlines. This might prompt me to book directly thru google.

  • Will this really work or are there like a million conditions voiding pretty much any case?

  • worldtraveler73 says:

    Wow – a major step forward!!

  • Wow. This is revolutionary.
    Who would have thought Google will be an OTA offering price beat.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    I like the convenience of google. you can get a ballpark idea of what a flight will cost without the hassle of entering dates like on some search engines.

  • With price guarantee from Google Flight, it is worth a try to use it to book my flights.

  • A tempting idea but by limiting to selected flights that are not expected to fall in price, it is clearly offered on Google’s terms. It would be interesting to know after this offer ends whether any money was actually paid out. As it is also limited to itineraries starting in the US, not much use to those outside of America. Perhaps it will be repeated in Europe?

  • If this works as they advertise, this will be a very big deal, IMHO.
    I always get super annoyed when my flight ticket drops in price after I buy it, so I will definitely look into using this feature.

  • I would rather book on the official website of the airline itself.

  • Even services like SkyScanner seem redundant at times – the ‘low’ fair searched is a cached rate no longer available when you actually go to the site to book. I wonder how Google’s new service plans to rectify that.

    • And it is often basic economy too so once you go to check out, the price can increase a lot but most importantly you aren’t comparing apples to apples like you thought you were.

  • Stacy Y Liu says:

    I feel like Skyscanner doesn’t always match up with Google Flights in prices. It’s a hit or miss. And with all the hidden fees and non-protected bits of flights not booked directly with airlines, it might cause more headaches. I see a lot of the comments say it’s worth it to book direct with the airline instead.

  • I am confident in Google’s pricing too, but when given the choice, I rather book directly with the airline. This always end up with less hassle if anything goes awry with the flight. Also, Google doesn’t take into account trips where a train is necessary, ie a trip to Stamford where I would have to fly in NY and then finish off in a train.

  • if we can also get elite member benefits, earn miles, free cancellation, etc. with Google it’d be the perfect service!

  • I use Google Flights, but I hear they might not have every airline listed in their results? I need to do research to see which ones are left out.

  • This “guarantee” is worth about as much as the major hotel chains “Best Rate Guarantee”. In other words, worthless.

  • anyone know how limited the scope is of this? i.e., to what percentage of flights would this apply?

  • Looking forward to testing this out!

  • This is a very interesting trial run. Clearly they are trying to drive business to their site, will have to see how useful the guarantee is

  • Why is it only available for a limited time ? Is there any chance this program will be extended ?

  • Joy Barlow says:

    Interesting trial run by Google. Definitely shows their confidence in their search engine! I always start my flight search with Google Flights after Kayak changed their platform a few years ago.

  • I understand that most do not believe in Google Flight advantages, but we will have a chance to test. At least we have a competitive perspective that may or may not have an advantage. Better than nothing!

  • I noticed this the other day when I was doing a search the other day. I’m disappointed that it is for a limited time only. Price is only one of the variables I use to choose a flight, so I likely won’t be able to take advantage of this deal.

  • I’m little puzzled by the term booking “directly” with Google. The only time I’ve seen something like this is when Google Flights says something like “Book on Google with Alaska.” Then it says you are booking with Alaska Airlines and “Alaska will handle customer support.” Is this booking “directly” with Google?

    • I don’t think anything else has changed. I believe the process will be booking “on Google with Airline” and the airline will handle the customer support. But Google will email you instructions if there is a price drop.

  • I like this price protection thing from Google Flight; if it was a booking engine, I would use them.

  • Thanks for the writeup. This is good information.

  • I quite like google flights, but usually also try skscanner, kayak and momondo as well as the airline website to make sure I get the best deals.

  • So if I’m understanding this right, Google is getting into the travel game like Orbitz, Priceline, etc (or has been)? I just learned about their pricedrop notification feature and will be using them more often. I’d definitely use them to book flights if it included a pricedrop guarantee. I’d also love to see the data for how many people it actually helps.

  • Ernest Mwanri says:

    This is wonderful feature. It was already great booking via Google since looking at dates one can see price trends, hence easy to plan trip on days with the best price

  • The opinions above about Google Flight price protection show exactly what I think. This feature from Google is actually good news.

  • I have looked on google and booked through them, or better I then was led to the airlines website and then booked.
    I assume that they would still do this? Does anyone know if the reservation shows that it was picked from the google site on the airlines side?

    A good step forward. It’s nice not having to keep looking to see if a fare dropped. I will have to read more. Most airlines charge the reissue fee when the fare goes down so it’s often not worth it. I wonder if google eats this and gives us the complete difference?

    I would love to see a step action of a itinerary they found a lower fare for and what you do to get the refund.

  • Valerie DeMarco says:

    I feel it’s worth it to me. I’ve had trouble in the past on trips booked & I’m tired of it. Lost a lot of money so it’s worth it. I’m jumping on this. Thanks for posting it.

  • The problem I have sometimes is when Google Fligths shows me a price and when I try to book that, have a message that the price has changed. Not that reliable for me, so far…

  • I remember something called YAPTA from a few years ago.

    I doubt Google can keep paying refunds for price drops on its own, unless it has some deal with the airlines on this.

  • I use Google Flights and would be interested this new tool. Its a good tip

  • Love Google Flight. Wish that it would show outbound cities to inbound when you are looking for open best fare. I know I can enter departing city and look, but would be great if just arrival city with departures open. Do you clear cache so that it does anything with the fares and brings them lower?

  • Wow, I like Google Flights because their search engine is the fastest. This feature from Google is actually pretty good.

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