Along with Skyscanner, Priceline, and Momondo, Google Flights and Kayak are among the search flight engines we most often send members to for finding and booking flights. But while some people prefer to use one over the other, there are pros and cons to each, and we recommend using them together to find the best deals.
For example, Google Flights is very fast and is great for searching multiple dates and locations. The downside is that Google Flights doesn’t search smaller online travel agencies (OTAs), so once you narrow down your dates, go to another website like Kayak (and/or Momondo, Skyscanner, or Priceline) to find the cheapest price.
Here, we go through the good and the bad of Google Flights and Kayak and how to use each one to your advantage to find the best deals on airfare.
As we already mentioned, Google Flights has a lot to love about it, including:
But, Google Flights isn’t perfect, especially in terms of finding the absolute best price. A few of its drawbacks are:
Kayak may lack some of the bells and whistles of Google Flights (particularly around searching multiple dates and locations), but it’s still a powerful tool. Some of the things it does well include:
That said, Kayak lacks in some important areas, including:
We recommend starting in Google Flights. If your dates and locations are relatively open, start with the map feature. You can select specific dates or choose a weekend, week, or two-week trip in a specific month.
You can then move the map to view the prices for a specific region, such as Europe. The map will populate with the cheapest fares for your selected date range. If you zoom in on a specific country, you’ll see more options for smaller cities, too.
If you know where you want to go but your dates are slightly flexible, check out the calendar view, which shows two months of availability at a time. The lowest prices are highlighted in green and you can easily change the trip duration or select different dates to see how it affects the price.
Once you know the cheapest dates for your trip and have a price on Google Flights, head over to Kayak and do the same search. In some cases, the price might be the same, but in others, the price found by Kayak could be significantly less if you book with a smaller OTA. There are some pros and cons and things you should know about booking with OTAs, but depending on the savings, it could be worth it.
The bottom line: Both Google Flights and Kayak have their good points and some areas for improvement, but both work best when paired with one another (or another flight search site). We typically recommend starting your search on Google Flights to refine dates and location and then moving to Kayak (and/or Momondo or another metasearch site) to check prices on smaller OTAs and make sure you’re getting the best possible deal for your flight.