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ITA Matrix Guide

What is ITA matrix

My ITA Matrix Guide. The ITA matrix website is a very powerful tool for finding flights where you have specific needs, or would like to find a great price on flights. One of the main ways people use it for it to help plan routes that have multiple hops to a destination. It can display what it finds in a way that is easy to compare between options. For example it can find all routes between two airports with hops in between and then display the results in ascending cost, or ascending time. The one downside of ITA matrix is that you cannot book flights directly through it. It will give you all the information to make a booking with an airline or a travel agent.


Overview of boxes

ITA Matrix Guide - ITA Matrix main page

The ITA main input page, with no options selected

 Below is some information on what the boxes on the main page are used for

  • Departing from: Enter the city name or airport code you would like to start from. You can use multiple starting points if you would like to compare prices between different routes. To use multiple starting points separate the airport codes with semicolon like the following LHR; LHC
  • Destination: This box works the same as the departing from one.
  • Advanced routing codes link: This activates a second set of boxes for the departing/destination where you can add some advanced codes to further refine your route. I will go into more detail about what you can do with these boxes below.
  • Dates: This one has two options the first is where you can limit the travel dates to specific ones. Just enter you outboard and inbound dates. The second one ‘see calendar of lowest fares’ is a much more powerful option if you are a little more flexible as to when you can travel. This option asks you for a start date ITA will them search the following thirty and display prices for all of them.
  • Number of days. With this box you can enter a number of nights you would like to be away, or you can search a range on nights away by supplying two numbers separated by a hyphen like 4-6 which would give you trips with four nights, trips with five nights and trips with six nights.
  • Adults: This one is self-explanatory. It will alter the final price, you can use this to also remove options where there are not enough available seats..
  • Cabin: Just select the class you would like to travel in. For me I usually select Business class or higher. This will give you business class tickets where that class is available but will up the ticket to a higher one where the plane has no business class like some domestic AA flights.
  • Stops: Controls if you would like direct only options or are ok with swapping planes.
  • Extra stops: This one is a little odd it will increase the numbers of stops you want beyond the least it finds. So if it can find a nonstop flight and you set this to one it will show flights with one stop.
  • Other: Allow airport changes, this will allow flights that need you to swap airports to be show. Not a good option in my opinion as even just changing planes is enough, changing airports is more added hassle. ‘Only show flights and prices with available seats’ I always leave this one ticked to it will show flights that are actually bookable.
  • Currency: Set this to what you would like to pay with. For me I set this to British Pound(GBP)
  • Sales city: Set this to the biggest city near you or in your country. For me this would be London, United Kingdom.


Advanced routing codes

This is where you can enable the true power of ITA matrix. It allows you to tailor the flight to some very specific options or limitations. From the route, to the airline even down to the planes you want to fly on and many others. Below I have listed the main ones and how they work..

You can enter connecting airports. These usually need to be the fisr thing you enter into this box. So for example if you would like to stop in New York and the in Phoenix you would enter JFK PHX into advanced routing code box. You need to reverse them in the retuning advanced routing box. The airport codes need to be separated by a space.

  • You can exclude specific connecting airports by adding it to the box with a tilde symbol in front of it. So for example if you don’t want connect through New York you would enter ~JFK
  • Choosing airlines. You can enter codes to limit the airlines that will show in the results page. To show flights marketed by and airline(ie codeshare) add the two character airline with a + after it. So to see flights marketed by British airways add BA+ To see flights operated by an airline (ie there own planes) add an O: to the airline. So to see flights on British Airways planes use the code O:BA+
  • /alliance {alliance name} This one limits results to airlines that are in the alliance you specified. The major alliances are; oneworld, star-alliance, skyteam
  • You can add exclusions to the results with the following codes
    • / -redeye (removes redeye flights from results)
    • / -overnight (removes overnight flights from results)
    • / -change (removes airport changes)
    • / -prop (removed planes that use propellers)
  • You can add time limiters to the flight connections
    • / minconnect {time in minutes} this increases to layover time by the number of minutes you enter
    • / padconnect {time in minutes} this one takes the airlines recommended minimum connection time and adds the number of minutes you specify to it. I find that this is the better of the two plane swap time options to use.
  • Limiting aircraft type
    • / aircraft t:787   this will limit results to only show routes that use a 787 aircraft. You can add multiple plane types with a space between each.
    • / -aircraft t:787 this will remove flights with this type of aircraft from the list of results. You can also add multiple plane types with this one.
  • Limiting class bucket. With this one you can limit results to only show the fare class you would like.
    • / f bc=A|bc=F this would limit results to only show flights that are in fare class A or fare class F the | symbol allows you to use an or condition.


ITA Matrix Guide - Data entered DUB to SFO

ITA Matrix with a search for flights from Dublin to San Fransisco


Once you are happy with your search terms press the search button at the bottom of the page. ITA Matrix can be a little bit slow at this point what it searches though all available flights. Especially if you don’t have a lot a limitations in the advanced code boxes, or it contains a route with many flights per day. Once complete it will show you a calendar page. Here you can see prices , it will display the cheapest it finds in orange text. If you hover over a date it will show prices and nights away. Click the one that you think will suit your needs. Which will then take you to the flights page.



ITA Matrix Guide - Calendar

ITA Matrix Guide – Calendar of results


ITA Matrix Guide - Calander popup

ITA Matrix Guide – Calander popup showing different lengths of stays


Flights page

You will them be taken to the flights page. ITA matrix will default to the complete trips ascending in price. If you hover over one and press the detail hyperlink that appears to the right you can see the flight details that make up that price. It will show airline, flight number, departure and arrival time, flight duration, aircraft type and the class. It will also show you the amount of time you have at an airport to swap planes if you need to. If you would like more details of that trip press the price box in the left and you will be taken to the Itinerary page for that trip.

ITA Matrix Guide - Result

ITA Matrix Guide – One of the results it found


ITA Matrix Guide - Result makeup

ITA Matrix Guide – How the trip is made up


If you would prefer you can swap the view by pressing the ‘Time bars” link. In this mode it will show the outboard legs first with the time bars of the flights and the layover time you have in an airport. In this mode you have to chose the outbound and inbound legs yourself. Once you select the outboard you would like by pressing the price box ITA matrix will take you to a similar page that will show you inbound flight. Chose the inbound your would like and it will then take you to the Itinerary page.

ITA Matrix Guide - How the trip is made up

ITA Matrix Guide – Results displayed in time bar mode


Itinerary page

On this page it will show you full flight details, the cost make up for the final price of the ticket. There is also a fare construction part that you can use to show to your travel agent so they can find the same flight route as you would like.

ITA Matrix Guide - Itinerary part one

ITA Matrix Guide – Top half of the itinerary page


ITA Matrix Guide - Bottom half of the itinerary page

ITA Matrix Guide – Bottom half of the itinerary page


Here is the link to the ITA matrix website


If you have any other questions or comments please don’t hesitate to contact me.


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