Southwest Airlines Flights Are Now Available on Google Flights

The low-cost airline doesn't appear on many third-party sites, but now it's on a major one.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
3 min read
Southwest Airlines flight taking off against a blue sky

Google Flights now includes Southwest Airlines.

James Martin/CNET

If you use Google Flights and live in an area served by Southwest Airlines, it might be time to plan a trip. Beginning Wednesday, the Dallas-based, low-cost carrier is now part of the Google Flights search engine. The airline confirmed the news in a statement sent to CNET.

"We've made it possible for Google Flights users to compare our different fare options and click directly into Southwest.com to book their selected itinerary," the airline said. "We're excited to continue finding ways to expose more consumers to the appeal of our unique combination of value, friendly and flexible policies."

Before this change, Southwest intentionally kept its fares off of Google and most other travel sites. Almost the only option for booking Southwest flights was through the airline's own website or app.

Read more: Best Time to Get Cheap Plane Tickets: Here's What the Data From Google Flights Says

But the change doesn't mean you'll see Southwest flights on all other third-party travel sites.

 "Google Flights is not a booking engine and this isn't a move into or toward online travel agencies," a carrier spokesperson told The Washington Post.

Best times to buy airline tickets

Back in August 2023, Google Flights released a new feature that offers updated insights on when to buy that ticket.

Google Flights already showed whether current prices for your flight search are low, typical or high compared to past averages for the same route. But the neew feature allows travelers to see when prices have typically been lowest for chosen dates and destination.

It works for searches that have reliable trend data.

"These insights could tell you that the cheapest time to book similar trips is usually two months before departure, and you're currently in that sweet spot," the Google blog post notes. "Or you might learn that prices have usually dropped closer to takeoff, so you decide to wait before booking. Either way, you can make that decision with a greater sense of confidence."


Google Flights now suggests the best time to book airplane tickets.

Google/Screenshot by CNET

Price tracking can help

If it's not a good time to book, you can turn on price tracking on Google Flights to receive automatic notifications for when fares drop significantly. This can be set up for specific dates, or if you've got flexible plans, you can turn on "any dates" to receive emails about deals anytime in the next three to six months. 

Get a price guarantee

You can also watch for a colorful price guarantee badge on certain flight results on Google Flights. According to the blog, this means the site is confident that the fare will not drop. If you book and it does end up dropping, Google will even pay you the difference.

"When you book one of these flights, we'll monitor the price every day before takeoff, and if the price does go down, we'll pay you back the difference via Google Pay," the blog post notes. "These price guarantees are part of a pilot program available for select Book on Google itineraries departing from the US."

General booking tips

If you're not planning a specific trip now, you may still want to take note of these specific travel-booking trips. The blog post notes that the best time to book flights for the holiday season is in early October. That's a big change from the site's 2022 statistics, which found that average prices for mid-December trips were lowest just 22 days before departure.

And if you're thinking of traveling from the US to Europe, the site notes that those average prices have been lowest 72 days or more before departure. Once you're about 10 weeks from a planned European departure, average airfares from the US to Europe tend to increase over time, the post says.

Watch this: How to Find Cheap Flights