One thing that always has mildly irked me about searching for airfare is all the ads. Do you want to look complete the same search through one of our partner sites? Do you want to add on a hotel? Yadda yadda, just gimmie da plane! Da plane! Well now you can strip away all that gimcrack and tomfoolery and go directly to Matrix, the software that powers sites like Orbitz, Kayak, FareCompare, and Hotwire.
Just like any other airfare search site, it’s free and online and you enter your parameters and it gives you the results from all the carriers. You can enter choices like flexible stays and see a calendar of lowest fares and all that jazz, just minus the upsells.
The most robust feature is that it gives you advanced routing codes so you can find the precise itinerary you are looking for. Commenter NeverLetMeDown says, “It’s actually incredibly powerful if you want to do really detailed searches (i.e. fly me from Chicago to Tokyo, with stops in LA and Anchorage, and only on United, Continental, or ANA). You have to learn the codes for that level of search detail, though, not too complex.”
The original flavor version is even more bare bones and commenter mechteach1 says it’s, “far better for complicated itins. Once you spend a little time learning the ITA language, you can specify carriers, number of stops, intermediate airports, fare class, etc., or any combination thereof.”
The one drawback is that you cannot book directly through Matrix. You will have to call the airline or your travel agent with the exact information they provide you, or try to recreate the results on the airline’s website yourself.