Google Explore and Google Flights have long been my go-to flight search engines for when I’m flexible on my destination, but recently, I’ve noticed a flaw in the site that could ruin your trip if you’re not paying attention.
When you search for a flight on Google Explore and Google Flights, both sites will show you options for airports within a certain radius. However, what the sites don’t take into account is that those airports might not actually be accessible from the destination that you really want to land at.
For example, I recently was looking for nonstop flights to the Bahamas from Boston. I selected the “nonstop only” filter on Google Explore, and was shown what looked like nonstop flights from Boston to Bimini.
It’s not until you scroll down and select a flight (and carefully check the airport codes) that you realize that the flights are not in fact to Bimini (despite what the map makes it look like), or even the Bahamas – but to Florida, making it not exactly a nonstop flight. If you’re not familiar with the airport codes, you could accidentally book this flight thinking that you would be arriving on the island of Bimini, not across the ocean in Miami.
I’ve noticed this issue happening quite a bit, both in Google Flights and Google Explore. There doesn’t seem to be an easy fix for it in Google Explore, but on Google Flights, you can at least choose which airport you actually want to search for—for example, if you want to go to the Bahamas and not Florida, you can filter your search to only Bimini Airport.
No matter what flight search engine you use, always double-check the airport code for your flight! This can save you from mixups between international and domestic airports within the same city, or even from landing in an entirely different country than you intend to, as with the Bahamas example.
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