Welcome to the second instalment of our series that takes a closer look at the latest data from Google Trends across a number of key travel industries. The focus of this article is flights, but you can find similar posts for hotels, holidays, cruises and car hire by tapping on the respective links (they’re not all live yet, so check back in for updates).

Our aim is simple: to help you navigate a complex Covid-19 landscape that is in constant flux. For this article that means providing you with search interest insight for flights, a segment of the travel industry that has been hit especially hard by the pandemic.

Again, as per our messaging in earlier blogs, Google Trends data should be seen as a guide. It’s recommended that you validate any trends data with qualitative and quantitative metrics before taking action.


  • Defined an initial list of searches for each category
  • Used Google Trends API to pull “interest over time” and “related queries” data at scale for against the travel category (67)
  • Visualised summed averaged for each category by week in the “interest over time” graphs
  • Analysed rising queries within “related queries” tables from the last 30 days

Interest over time (YOY)

The flights category covers a variety of queries such as ‘domestic’, ‘international’, ‘last minute’ and ‘cheap’, as well as queries for specific airlines.

This month we’ve included a comparison between the UK and the US to highlight differences in travel trends for two countries that are experiencing the pandemic differently.



Melt takeaways

UK flight trends took a dip in the first week of August, potentially as a result of Spain being added to the quarantine list. This contrasted with what we saw for most of July, where searches had been trending upwards as consumer confidence continued to improve.

This is in stark contrast to the US where fight searches have stagnated over the past few weeks following a small peak in week 23 (June 2020).

Rising queries: “Flights” (UK, last 30 days)

The following table shows rising queries relating to “flights” within the UK travel category of Google Trends for the last 30 days. The higher the value, the sharper the increase in recent searches.

Query Rising value
tui flight timetable 10600
flight aware 8150
flights to geneva from london 7000
tui flight timetable 5050
tui flight schedule 2020 4900
sasti flights 2400
flights to spain cancelled 800
spain flights cancelled 750
cheap flights to italy 550
tui flights to spain 500
cheap flights to malta 400
ryanair flight tracker 350
amsterdam flights and hotel 350
tui flight schedule 300
ryanair flights to spain 300
ryanair change flight 250
tui flight schedule 250
ryanair flight tracker 250
glasgow flight arrivals 250
flight tracker 24 250
flights to cornwall 250
ryanair flights to spain cancelled 250

Melt takeaways

July appeared to show that flights were moving in a positive direction with, for example, TUI announcing the resumption of flights again. This was reflected in growing search interest for terms like “flight schedules”.

All that said, as mentioned above, the recent addition of Spain to the government’s ‘quarantine list’ appears to have put a dampener on the UK’s growing appetite to travel again. 

There’s data to support this, too. In rising queries over the last 30 days, we can see that people are searching specifically for “flights to spain cancelled” and “ryanair flights to spain cancelled”.

This trend is also apparent in other searches, such as “flight tracker” and “flight aware”. This suggests that prospective travellers are looking for more clarity on flight schedules as new countries are added and taken off the UK’s quarantine list.

Outside of Spain there appears to be interest in other EU destinations such as Italy and Malta. There are no long-haul destinations in the top results, which we’ve seen in previous months.

One interesting result in the top rising queries is flights to Cornwall, which may be a result of rising interest in domestic travel or because Newquay Airport is once again offering flights to London, which were suspended following the collapse of Flybe in March (pre-Covid-19).

In terms of individual airlines, and despite there being rising queries, TUI and Ryanair are further away from returning anywhere near pre-Covid-19 levels, compared to Jet2 and EasyJet. That said, we would need to further investigate and validate this with booking data to see if this is a valid trend.

We hope you’ve find these trends and insights useful. And we hope to see you back here next month to learn about how these trends play out over time for the travel industry.

If you’d like us to monitor any particular trends for you travel or non-travel get in touch.