How to Use ITA Matrix Following Part 1 of Like A Pro, let’s take our flight-searching and bargaining skills to another level with Part 2, which will cover additional advanced control and ITA Matrix power tools.
More advanced control
Remember the extension code we discussed in Part 1? Well, there are a few even more advanced ones worthy of going over.
Last time, we mainly discussed the fare codes in the “Travel Schedule” section, specifically the most commonly used: MINCONNECT, MAXCONNECT, and MAXDUR. We used them to specify minimum connection time, maximum connection time, and maximum travel duration, respectively.
Now let’s talk about another section of the extension code, which deals with the specific airline or alliance’s fare class (also known as fare code or fare bucket) that we want to fly.
Specify a rental class
The examples provided by the ITA matrix are all useful, but let’s focus on the code “F BC =”, which allows you to search for one or more specific rental classes in the same cabin.
For example, you might want to book a specific rental code Optimize your Air Canada e-upgradeOr to make sure you have earned 100% miles on your ticket when crediting to a given Frequent Flyer program.
Imagine we wanted to specify an Air Canada “M” fare, which is the lowest Flex fare that does not require a subscription fee when using eUpgrades on an international booking.
To request a flight with a specific fare code, we type “F BC = M” in the extension code field.
Search results “M” increase Air Canada fares in booking class.
Marketing vs. Operating Airlines
There is something else that the intelligent traveler can take care of Marketing And Operating The airline for a given flight.
After all, in the world of transatlantic joint ventures, codeshares are a necessary and common occurrence. However, whether you are aiming for airline elite status or trying to maximize your mileage earnings, you will notice that most loyalty programs have different earning rules depending on who is marketing and who is operating the flight.
For example, under the Airplane Loyalty Program, tickets issued by Air Canada will eventually be fare-based rather than distance-based point earnings, resulting in lower total points for most travelers.
If the flight is marketed by a partner airline like Lufthansa, instead, even if it is operated by Air Canada, you may be ahead in terms of the number of Aeroplan points you earn.
To request a flight Conducted By an airline, we use the extension code “O:” and then the airline’s two-letter IATA code. If we want a transatlantic flight operated by Air Canada, we will write “O: AC” in the routing code.
Now, if we want to specify the flight To market To avoid earning Air Canada’s new fare-based points by Lufthansa, we will input “O: AC” in the routing code and “AIRLINES LH” in the extension code as below.
(Note: Enter “AC” as the routing code No. It’s like entering “O: AC”. The former specifies a flight operated and marketed by Air Canada, while the latter specifies only the operating airline, which allows you to further specify the marketing airline in the extension codes.)
As a result the search dragged out the preferred flight which was operated by Air Canada but marketed by Lufthansa. When booking this flight on a ticket issued by Lufthansa you will be able to earn Aeroplan points based on distance, not on the fare you paid under the new Aeroplan program.
As you can see, ITA Matrix’s advanced routing and extension codes are incredibly powerful and customizable.
To start creating your dream (or nightmare …) itinerary, I encourage you to visit the website and play with all the advanced controls we discuss, and maybe something we don’t have.
ITA Matrix Power Tools
We will cover the final part of the software here ITA Matrix Power Tools, ITA is an add-on to the Matrix that further supercharges its capabilities. This requires a little more technical knowledge than the previous items we discussed, but still not much.
There are several different ways to install ITA Matrix PowerTools and I recommend checking the FlyerTalk thread for complete installation instructions.
Once PowerTools is installed, it should look something like this (for reference, it is in Google Chrome):
Navigate matrix.itasoftware.comAnd you know that PowerTools is active when you see the “Passenger (1a)” bar at the top left of the screen.
Note that full functionality of PowerTools can only be found on older interfaces. This old interface will eventually be removed from the ITA Matrix website, but hopefully the full functionality of the power tool will eventually be incorporated into the new platform.
To get back to the old interface, click on the yellow banner link on the main website.
Enter all the information you would otherwise have in the new interface.
To book a itinerary, just start your search using the guidelines described above and beyond. Part 1. For this example, let’s just look for a simple non-stop route from Toronto to London:
Looking at the options, our traveler decides to go with Air Canada instead of the British Airways or American airline codeshare options. Even with the price difference, their Airplane Elite Status Lounge access and e-upgrade possibilities will come in handy.
Compared to before, the page with all the rental information looks much more complete.
On the far right, the ITA Matrix is powered by PowerTools, providing mileage, cent-per-mile calculations, as well as a list of booking options, direct booking links to each airline or OTA’s website.
Below the booking links there is also a credit link from somewhere, which will take you directly to the exact location of the credit website, showing you how many miles you will earn while crediting this flight to all possible frequent flyer programs.
This is very useful for combining mileage runs or figuring out how many redeemable miles you will earn before booking.
Booking is as easy as it seems: clicking on the link to your desired airline website or OTA will bring up the corresponding booking page with all your rental options selected just like the search in ITA Matrix.
Click on the Air Canada booking link, as it is usually best to book directly from the airline whenever possible. Keep in mind that if you click on the “+” sign next to Air Canada, you will have the option to choose a country from which you would like to purchase a fare or add a promotional code if you have an additional 15% discount code. Almost false.
This brings us to the booking link on the Air Canada website, as if we were searching directly on the website. Just click to complete the booking.
For the intelligent traveler, the ITA Matrix is one of the most comprehensive tools for finding, understanding and maximizing airfare, especially when combined with the ITA Matrix Power Tools browser extension.
While the ITA Matrix’s search and filtering function and advanced routing codes are already extremely powerful, PowerTools takes things to the next level by giving you extra insight into the fares you find as well as allowing you to book directly with an airline or online travel agency. Likes