Finding Cheap Flights with ITA Software Matrix
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, FareCompare is a useful tool when mileage running on cheap flights. But for simply finding a cheap flight from A to B, FareCompare is generally not the way to go.
I had a friend this past week ask me for some advice on finding cheap airfare, so I thought I would briefly touch on that topic. One tool that is trusted across the board, by mileage experts and travel agents alike is ITA Matrix Software.
So let’s say hypothetically I want to go from Seattle to Miami in a few weeks. I pick a Saturday, as this in general is a good day to find cheap flights, and pick February 11th.
Once you hit search, a calendar showing trips matching the length of your stay will come up, organized by date of departure. I stick with my decision to leave on the 11th, as that has one of the lowest fares:
So select your days of departure, then hit “Show Flights”:
And I may stick with the $373 over the $371 (American) if I happen to be mileage running or focusing on retaining my elite status with a particular airline.
From here I would go directly to the airlines website or book with Expedia. In this case I ended up searching American’s website:
Remember American pricing comes up one-way, not roundtrip.
Remember, ITA said the flights were $373 and the total comes out $417.20, which suggests ITA leaves out the tax. This isn’t a great bargain, but it’s not bad for a cross-country trip either.
The Points Guy posted a while back on using ITA to look for mileage runs, which is also an excellent use of this tool. I also searched the same route he posted about, JFK-SFO and found a roundtrip price of $232, before taxes. In comparison, the fare The Points Guy found was $330.