When it comes to planning your dream trip, it's hard to argue with no-frills customization.
That's why seasoned travelers turn to ITA Software's Matrix: The travel search engine, which just so happens to power others like Orbitz and Bing, lets them dig deep for bargain-priced fares to build the perfect itinerary. All you have to do is master the matrix.
We'll skip explaining the nuts and bolts the site and cut right to the chase: how to use some advanced routing codes. The Matrix has a basic interface, so figuring it out shouldn't be too difficult for anyone familiar with online travel agents like Orbitz or Priceline.
Hacking the Matrix
Underneath the fields for departure and destination, you'll see a blue link for Advanced Routing Codes. Click that to open a blank field where you can enter the codes. To make things easier, we'll just add them after the airplane code, separated by two colons.
Per HackMyTrip, here are a few codes that we've found pretty useful:
- To search for your favorite carrier's flights, separate the airport from the carrier using two colons: SFO :: UA. This finds San Francisco flights on United Airlines.
- Search for multiple airlines and airports at the same time using a comma: LGA, EWK, JFK :: UA, AA. This finds all NYC flights on United and American Airlines.
- To specify a connection on an airline, simply change the command: LGA :: AA DEN. The airline code must go before the airport's so you'll find a connecting American flight in Denver from NYC.
This is just the beginning, as there are ways to search by fare or booking class, frequent flier clubs and more. To find these flights, HackMyTrip recommends using a different syntax. No colons are required (though they're helpful) but you should type in a forward slash:
- “/alliance oneworld” to search oneworld members like American Airlines
- “/alliance skyteam” to search SkyTeam members like Delta
We recommend clicking over to HackMyTrip to see the full list of the codes. Then play around with Matrix to see what combinations you can come up with on your own.