If Google is your go-to for life’s most important questions and moments, you’ll be pleased to know that the search giant’s flight comparison service is now available in Singapore.
With the launch of Google Flights, Singapore-based users can see a full list of flight ticket prices with just one Google query. For example, a simple search of “flights to Bali on Mondays” will show a list of of prices for tickets to Bali on different airlines that depart Singapore on the nearest Monday.
I tried the new feature to see how it was different from existing flight comparison portals such as Expedia and Skyscanner.
Being a price-conscious travel addict, there were a number of features which I found extremely useful.
Here’s how to get the most out of your flight search:
A search on Google for “flights to Bali” will immediately give you a list of prices, from cheapest to most expensive, by various airlines departing Singapore.
Alternatively, you can go to the Google Flights page and run a search there. The query will not only return a list of prices for flights to Bali, it will also recommend the best flights which Google chooses based on “the best trade-off between price and convenience”. This is calculated based on factors such as duration, number of stops, and airport changes during layovers.
Google says that while it may be compensated by some of these travel partners, this doesn’t affect the ranking of results.
Useful details – such as travel time, flight number and flight delay prediction – are available when you click on a specific flight.
According to Google, flight delay prediction is made based on historic data, and is 85 per cent accurate. Very useful information to have if you’re being “kiasu” (fearful of failing or losing out) and need to get to your destination at a specific time.
Google even tells you how much leg room you will have on each flight, and if that space is of average standard or not. The legroom information I found on the Bali flight query ranged from 71cm (below average) on low-cost carriers, 76cm (average) on Silk Air flights, and 81cm (above average) on Singapore Airlines services.
You will also be able to see what additional facilities the flight provides, such as Wi-Fi, in-seat charging, as well as the video and entertainment system it has.
To narrow your search, you can also filter the results with options such as bags, stops, airlines, price, times, connecting airports, layover duration and flight duration. All these filter options were clearly displayed at the top of the screen, and I really liked how much information I could get at one glance.
If, like me, you have flexible dates and want to make sure you get the most value out of your trip, Google has a nifty trick to help.
At the top of the results, you’ll find a section on flight insights that provides a more in-depth breakdown of the information you need.
You can choose to compare prices of flights within one week of your selected dates.
Or you can view how prices will change within a few months of the dates you selected. For my Bali query, flights were most expensive in February. My selected dates had some of the lowest flight fares, so it looks like I made the right choice!
For cities where there is more than one airport available, Google Flights will also tell you which airport is located closest to your destination, and how much it costs to fly to each of the airports listed.
And if you still haven’t decided if a city is worth going to, you can click on “tips” to access Google’s travel guide, which provides information on what there is to do in the area. Alternatively, you can access the information on the Google Trips app.
When I clicked on the travel guide, I was given information about places of interest in Bali, as well as a suggested one-day itinerary.
There is also an option to view places of interest on a map, so you know how far one point of interest is from another. This is especially useful for itinerary planning, so you know which activities to cluster together on a certain day.
The level of detail that Google Flights gets into is quite impressive.
Apart from offering the most useful information on the first page of its search results, the thing that won me over was how easy it was to use the functions and read the information I needed.
Insights is the most useful feature, in my opinion. Instead of having to do multiple searches, all I needed to do was click on the tabs to get an overview of all the information I needed to help me decide when I wanted to go on a trip, and which airports would save me the most time.
Those familiar with booking their trips online would know that most other websites can take quite a long time to search for flight comparison information. So another great thing I found with Google Flights was that search results and insights loaded almost immediately.