Matrix Lets You Find Cheap Airfare, Plus Advanced Routing Codes, Minus Ad Clutter

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.

Matrix [via Qtripper] (Thanks to Rupen!)

Comments

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  1. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Whoa.

  2. davegins says:

    I know (travel) kung fu.

  3. NarcolepticGirl says:

    It’s okay. I do like how they have an easy option to select which other nearby airports you would like to include. And a flexible monthly view of the lowest fares.

    But I’m guessing it doesnt include “larger” regional airlines like SouthWest and Allegiant… as I wasn’t able to find flights from Knoxville to Tampa which I’ve found with other sites

  4. Eyeheartpie says:

    Nifty.

  5. Sardis says:

    The lack of ads is not the best thing about Ita Matrix 2. It is the advanced routing codes that let you find exactly what you are looking for.

  6. NeverLetMeDown says:

    Matrix is the software that underlies Kayak, Orbitz, and a bunch of airline sites too. 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.

    Hardcore frequent fliers use this frequently.

  7. bon13 says:

    interestingly ITA was recently purchased by Google

    but I still like Kayak much better, and there are no ads

  8. mechteach1 says:

    The original version of this, as well as the beta version of the advanced site, have been around for quite a while. The new version is more user friendly, but the original, basic site is 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.

    • starfox says:

      The new site supports the same commands as the original version. If you want to travel from either Boston or New York on AA via O’Hare, type “BOS, NYC :: AA ORD” in the origin field. You can even find a popup help menu of the syntax with examples by going to the “advanced” search form (“More Options”), clicking on “Advanced routing codes” under the Origin and Destination fields, then clicking on the help icon. Kind of obscure, but nice to have the help on the same screen as the form.

  9. Mr_D says:

    A travel agent told me about this site 4 or 5 years back, and it’s all I’ve ever used since.

  10. InsanePerson says:

    This is the one of the closest things to EEasySabre, an online (non-HTML) booking tool offered by American many years ago – where you could use the same advanced routing options and actually book and pay for the flight. I fondly remember it, as well as United Connection, a non-browser-based application on which you could easily find and book a flight in less than 90 seconds. These were great tools, much faster, simpler and more powerful than the slow travel booking sites available today.

  11. Rocket says:

    A friend of mine worked for ITA software. He told me about this. I use this search, then I book on Orbitz.

    Also, my friend makes his own airline searches at home.

  12. GuidedByLemons says:

    Very cool, just used it to book 2 flights!

  13. etz says:

    I like the ITA sites for the graphical display option (time bars). It really gives you a good at-a-glance view of your flight options including layover times for connections.

  14. kubus_gt says:

    Slow news day or something? ITA been around for close to a decade.

  15. Brink006 says:

    Frequent fliers like myself have been using this tool forever, though the previous version that was not as accessible. This is incredibly useful if you’re trying to maximize miles by pounding short connections for the 500-mile minimum, or you’re trying to do a segment run where you hop from airport to airport collecting connections.

    Either way, the #1 key for this is that if you find an amazing price or you find a great value for connections, be careful how you share it. As soon as the airlines get wind of an amazing deal, they shut it down. More than a few amazing routes have been ruined by people advertising them on the internet.

    • GuidedByLemons says:

      It’s like you’re speaking a different language here.

      I take flights to get to places I want to go.