Google Flights unveils new feature to tell users when is the cheapest time to book

New Google Flights feature offers guidance on the cheapest time to book a flight.
Photo credit: Getty Images

By Forrest Brown of CNN

Regular users of Google Flights might notice a new feature the next time they go to the site to check out airline schedules and compare flight prices.

The new feature officially announced this week in a news release is Google guidance on the cheapest time to book a flight, which supplements price tracking alerts and a price guarantee option already in place.

Google Flights has released a new feature that will help travelers better determine the right time to book.
Photo credit: supplied/Google

Here's what to expect on the new feature plus some details on the others:

  • Cheapest time to book: Google Flights said it already lets users see whether current prices for a search are low, typical or high compared with past averages for the same route. But starting this week, searches that have reliable trend data will also let users see in what time frame prices have typically been lowest. Users can then better decide whether to book now or later, Google said in the release.
  • Price tracking: Users who want to wait for lower fares before booking can use a price tracking feature that "can do most of the heavy lifting for you," Google said. People who enable price tracking will be automatically notified if flight prices drop "significantly," Google said. It can be set up to track for specific dates or for "any dates" price tracking. Users must be logged into their Google accounts to use this.
  • Price guarantee: On some flight results, users might notice a price guarantee badge pop up (this won't happen on every use). If you book one of these flights, Google said it will monitor the price every day before takeoff.

"If the price does go down, we'll pay you back the difference via Google Pay. These price guarantees are part of a pilot program available for select Book on Google itineraries departing from the US," Google said in the release.

Google also said the best time to book flights for Christmas vacations is around early October.

"Average prices tend to be lowest 71 days before departure - a big change from our 2022 insights, which found that average prices were lowest just 22 days before departure," Google said in the release.