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ITA Software

Discussion in 'Mileage Runs/Travel Hacking' started by thegrailer, Mar 28, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. thegrailer
    • Original Member

    thegrailer Silver Member

    I thought I'd start an ITA thread ;)

    1. If you have a question - ask
    2. If you have info - please post

    Edited with info from other posts

    Basic ITA commands:
    C:AA Nonstop flight on specific carrier
    C:AA+ One or more flights on specific carrier (see examples tab for other options)
    AA,CO,DL Nonstop flight on one of carriers specified (C: is optional)
    O:AA Nonstop flight on a specific operating carrier (as opposed to a code share or subsidiary carrier)
    O:AA,O:CO,O:UA Nonstop flight operated by AA, CO, or UA
    N Any single nonstop flight
    X Any single connection point
    X:NYC Connection point
    DFW,STL Connection in one of specified points
    F Any single flight
    F:AA151 Specific flight
    ? Zero or one flights
    + One or more flights
    * Zero or more flights
    ~ Negation
    (The F:, C:, and X: prefixes are optional)

    More Advanced ITA commands:
    Selecting booking code
    Examples:
    /f bc=F
    or
    /f bc=F|bc=C|bc=Y

    Where "F," "C," & "Y" can be changed to the class you want to search for

    Search for exact fare
    For example, if I want to search for Swiss' [LX] fare from SFO to FRA with fare code TICSWIUS, I can type in:

    / F LX.SFO+FRA.TICSWIUS

    You can also leave out sections:
    / F LX..TICSWIU
    or
    / F ..TICSWIUS

    [This last form can be particularly useful when multiple carriers issue fares with the same fare codes -- UA/CO/LH/AC's TATL Joint Venture comes to mind here.]

    Excluding Fares
    For example, to avoid K fares:
    /f ~bc=k

    NOTE: See post #37 for the pitfalls associated with limiting fares

    Restricting the search to a particular alliance
    In the “routing codes” box, type “/ alliance <alliance-name>”
    <alliance-name> can be “star-alliance,” “oneworld,” or “skyteam”

    Restricting connecting time windows
    / minconnect <time_in_minutes>
    / maxconnect <time_in_minutes>

    For example:
    / minconnect 60; maxconnect 180

    That will filter out all connections less than an hour and more than 3 hours. The semicolon lets you string together commands instead of using the slash over and over again.

    Forbidding specific cities in the itinerary
    For example, if one wants to absolutely forbid NRT short of an emergency landing on the following itinerary ORD-TPE-ORD

    ORD:: / -cities NRT
    TPE:: / -cities NRT

    Similarly if one wanted to avoid NRT and HKG outbound and NRT and SFO inbound

    ORD:: / -cities NRT HKG
    TPE:: / -cities NRT SFO
    See post 47
     
  2. viguera
    • Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

    A good idea, but chances are people that know how to use ITA already know this and more, and people that don't will be completely perplexed by what you just typed... :)

    May I suggest you start at a more basic level? The ITA matrix help site is fairly good at showing people how to do usually basic searches, but I don't think it covers how to use the advanced searching options.

    Plus maybe a link or two to wherever there might be an FAQ discussing classes. :)

    Again, just trying to be helpful to new-ish people.
     
    Michael D, GVA380, miloki and 7 others like this.
  3. Rlpro
    • Original Member

    Rlpro Silver Member

    Thanks for starting this thread. I know basically nothing about ITA and what it is useful for.
     
  4. FlyMeToTheLooneyBin
    • Original Member

    FlyMeToTheLooneyBin Silver Member

    It's not that hard to figure out the basics. Go check it out, then come back here for more advanced questions.
     
  5. thegrailer
    • Original Member

    thegrailer Silver Member

    good point. I am open to suggestions for editing the first thread to add info

     
  6. FlyingVizzer
    • Original Member

    FlyingVizzer Silver Member

    Ok - here's a basic basic question.

    The ITA software... what's the difference between that and like the monthly searches on kayak? I have the shortcut to ITA and use it sometimes but I don't seem to understand the benefit of that over some of the other travel search sites.

    Also, where do you enter commands? In the advance routing code section? Usually, I just put in the originating location and the destination with dates...
     
  7. JohnDeere19
    • Original Member

    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

    For those that don't know the basic codes, here you go:

    C:AA Nonstop flight on specific carrier
    C:AA+ One or more flights on specific carrier (see examples tab for other options)
    AA,CO,DL Nonstop flight on one of carriers specified (C: is optional)
    O:AA Nonstop flight on a specific operating carrier (as opposed to a codeshare or subsidiary carrier)
    O:AA,O:CO,O:UA Nonstop flight operated by AA, CO, or UA
    N Any single nonstop flight
    X Any single connection point
    X:NYC Connection point
    DFW,STL Connection in one of specified points
    F Any single flight
    F:AA151 Specific flight
    ? Zero or one flights
    + One or more flights
    * Zero or more flights
    ~ Negation
    (The F:, C:, and X: prefixes are optional)
     
    thegrailer, edog22 and viguera like this.
  8. viguera
    • Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

    Suggestion: a read-only ITA FQA right here in this section to store this type of info so it's not polluted by the subsequent 533 million posts that will follow. :)
     
  9. Rlpro
    • Original Member

    Rlpro Silver Member

    Will do. Thanks!
     
  10. FlyMeToTheLooneyBin
    • Original Member

    FlyMeToTheLooneyBin Silver Member

    If you use it for what Kayak can do, you're using just the basics and can see that's it's similar. That's where the similarities end. ITA allows you to do more specific searches. If you're just looking for basic here to there on a single carrier, Kayak will do just fine. If you want to route yourself through specific cities, then ITA is much easier to use.

    You add the commands in the "Advanced Routing" box, or you can put the commands following "::" like in the original matrix1.
     
  11. FlyingVizzer
    • Original Member

    FlyingVizzer Silver Member

    Ah, I see - so in other words, if you're looking to do either a multidestination trip or looking to maybe add a few stops to increase mileage, it might be great but if I'm just trying to find a way to go from Point A to Point B for the cheapest way possible, then they are the same.

    Then the question is, how do people generally find crazy deals/mistake fares? Do they just stumble upon them or do they search different airline deals everyday?

    The reason I ask is that I would love to do more trips like I just did to CPH for as cheap as I was able to do it. I mean the mileage I get out of that is obviously bonus but honestly, I would only go to places that I would at least have an interest in going. I don't think I'm the type of the person to fly just for the sake of flying. So, in that sense, what's the best way and easiest way to find the cheapest flight for any random destination?
     
  12. viguera
    • Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

    It's a bit more powerful than that, and although you can't book through them you can find the exact flights that you want to achieve specific results -- whether that is to go through a specific route, cabin type, etc.
     
  13. FlyMeToTheLooneyBin
    • Original Member

    FlyMeToTheLooneyBin Silver Member

    Well, as viguera said, ITA is more powerful than that. You can search multiple cities at once. You can specify cities you're interested in with ";" or ",". So, if you just want any carrier, any number of stops, but between different cities (which don't have to be co-terminals or nearby), I don't know how you would do that in Kayak, or whether it's even possible.

    For example, if I wanted to fly from LAX to either CDG or LHR or MAD, I could put "CDG;LHR;MAD" in the To field and search all three destinations with one search. And that's just the beginning of it all. It can get quite complex. It's not just limited to multi-destination trips. Also, note that the problem of finding cheapest airfare is not an easily solved one, and sometimes, a cursory search gives you one result because of limited search time, but a more honed in specific search can give you better results. I found a trip to Asia earlier this month for about $1000 on CO, but everywhere (Kayak, expedia, orbitz, travelocity, ITA with generic parameters) gave me $1300. I had to specify a stop to "encourage" ITA to look at certain routes which narrowed the search space and allowed ITA to find that cheaper fare. How did I know that route was going to help? trial and error. :) But really, if I was using any other engine, I never would have found it.

    With time and experience, it's really a very helpful tool if you understand how it works at the top level and how routes and fares work. Then you can take advantage of it better.
     
    reubano, ceysav, GVA380 and 3 others like this.
  14. FlyingVizzer
    • Original Member

    FlyingVizzer Silver Member

    See, now THIS, is some useful advice and hopefully, some good info for other ITA newbies.

    For us newbies, it's something as basic as this that would open up a whole new perspective on the ITA. Great discussions so far - thanks!!
     
    newguy1212 and goodandclassy like this.
  15. Americanca
    • Original Member

    Americanca Member

    I have no trouble locating candidate fares through ITA, my challenge comes with getting the individual legs to price out at the low price when I use the multi-city application. How can I solve this problem? Do I need to then go to Orbitz or PL?
     
  16. european28
    • Original Member

    european28 Silver Member

    Ok, I will ask my newbee question.
    If you can't book with ITA, how do you book the fares that you find using it?
     
  17. FlyMeToTheLooneyBin
    • Original Member

    FlyMeToTheLooneyBin Silver Member

    Usually, at least for me, I can find the prices on the airline's website, unless it involves multiple carriers. Sometimes, I've found prices on ITA that I couldn't find a way to book, and that's just frustrating.

    The CO fare I mentioned above was not bookable on expedia, travelocity, orbitz. Searching on the CO site, I still couldn't find it using a Pt A to Pt B search. I had to do a multiple-city search on the CO site to get that fare to appear, and then purchased the tickets. It helps to add in multiple cities and specify each connection with times.

    That's just the tip of the iceberg. The airline fare/routing world is actually fairly involved. Once you've understood the basics, you should at least peruse the "Trick-it" threads here or on FT to see more of what can be done. You'll have to understand how ticketing works, too, and what it means to be a marketing, operating, plating carrier, etc...

    Sometimes, it's just fun to find fares even if you have no intention of purchasing/flying.
     
  18. FlyingVizzer
    • Original Member

    FlyingVizzer Silver Member

    I'm loving the sickness of this statement. LOL!!!
     
    onlybeef42 and hulagrrl210 like this.
  19. viguera
    • Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

    A friendly travel agent, although there are other methods. I'm not sure whether it's ok to post exactly how... I'm sure someone will if it's ok. :)
     
  20. Tenmoc
    • Original Member

    Tenmoc Gold Member

    It believe this will be part of the wiki once we get it going.
     
  21. Tenmoc
    • Original Member

    Tenmoc Gold Member

    I typically will book them off of the airline's website. To get a lot of the fares to come up though it requires multicity and forcing connections. For example (5 years ago) you want to go LGA-DFW-SEA-PHX and return. You can put in LGA-SEA and SEA-PHX then PHX-SEA and SEA-LGA to get around AA's 4 line limit for multicity. You know LGA-SEA is going through either ORD, STL, DFW. So no need to put it in the booking engine.
     
    ceysav and FlyMeToTheLooneyBin like this.
  22. FlyMeToTheLooneyBin
    • Original Member

    FlyMeToTheLooneyBin Silver Member

    This is exactly how I do it. You specify times to the nearest hour also to help it out. Just recently, on the CO fare I found, if I over-specified by putting in too many cities, it wouldn't find it. If I didn't put in enough, it wouldn't find it. I had to do it with just the right number. It was a four-leg trip.

    You just have to try different methods, but generally, multi-city tends to work most of the times.
     
    Tenmoc likes this.
  23. edog22
    • Original Member

    edog22 Silver Member

    In my experience ITA is much better for flexible and month-long style searches of AA flights - Kayak and AA seem to work best for specific dates.
     
  24. spkg
    • Original Member

    spkg Silver Member

  25. crammer

    crammer Active Member

    The ability to search multiple destinations on ITA is great. I do have a quick question for the experts on this topic, best demonstrated by an example.

    Let's say I want to travel to Worcester, MA. I need to rent a car to get from the airport to Worcester, but I don't care whether I fly to BOS;PVD;MHT;BDL (in ITA-speak). Since I need to rent a car, I need to fly out of the same airport I came in on (barring a good deal on one-way car rentals). Is there any way to construct the ITA query so that the round trip prices it quotes correspond to only those itineraries for which the arrival and departure airports are the same?
     
    Tenmoc likes this.

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