Okay, first...some background...and then we'll get to the fun. Because we really do find it fun!
Back in 2010, Google bought a flight search engine software company called ITA Software. As they slowly integrated ITA's products into their own system, they allowed ITA to continue offering flight searches as you can still do today at http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ Go ahead and check it out. You can search for one way or special connecting flights and will often find connections or possibilities or better pricing that you may not find with one of the large travel search engines.
Anyhow, Google has been slowly and inconspicuously building and expanding their own Flight Search, using ITA's technology. Big news earlier this month is that they were including search results for all of the airlines in India.
Okay, let's get to the fun!
So first, click on the following link, which will open in a new window...Google Flight Search
You should see a map that looks something like this...
Our nearest airport is Saskatoon.
The system should have picked up your nearest airport, and it should be showing major cities and the best price to get to them based on some date in the near future. Of course you have to input your own information. For example, we are currently looking for a way to get from New York City to Guadalajara, Mexico next March when we return from Africa.
So first, we click on the "One Way" tab. Then, we have to change the departing city to New York. Of course there are quite a few airports serving New York City and we don't care which one we use so when the drop down box appears, we choose "New York (all airports)".
Choosing your departing airport.
Then, you input the date you want to leave. For us, we are looking at Saturday, March 8, 2014. The prices you see on the map now reflect the cost of one way flights leaving New York City on March 8th. If we now scroll the map down to include all of Mexico, we can see that Guadalajara shows up at $318...
Guadalajara at $318
The neat thing about this map is that it shows you all of your other options. For example, perhaps we see the price of going to Cancun that same day is only $258, and maybe we see that and decide to fly there instead for a week at the beach before carrying on to Guadalajara. Or, maybe we can open up even more options...and we can!
If you then zoom in on that map of Mexico (using the + and - in the top left corner of the map) even more cities and prices start to show up the more you zoom in!
Lots of flight options from New York to Mexico.
If you then click on the city you want to travel to, you'll get a screen like this...
And then off course you'll want to click on the red button!
Which will bring you to the listing of choices and the airlines involved. Clicking on each item, brings you to a more detailed screen showing the flight number and flight times. The best price is not always the best option though!
A seven and a half hour overnight layover in LA? No thanks!
Better off going down the list...turns out there's a flight with a one hour layover in Houston, for $340. Better option!
So you get the idea? Do some searching see where you can fly and for how much! It's fun, isn't it??