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How to Use ITA Matrix Like a Pro

How to Use ITA Matrix Like a Pro

ITA Matrix is a very powerful piece of software originally created by MIT scientists in the 1990s and now owned by Google.

ITA Matrix feels like Google Flights on steroids, as though it was developed specifically for aviation geeks like ourselves who go to great lengths to guarantee an aircraft type, book the absolutely tightest connection, or earn the most qualifying miles for our dollars.

Despite its power, ITA Matrix is not necessarily known for being the most user-friendly. So while we’ve mentioned it in passing a few times before, it’s now time to dig a little deeper into the inner workings of one of the most powerful flight-search tools out there.

This installment is a guide to ITA Matrix’s full suite of features. We’ll cover the basics of ITA Matrix, with some of the more common filters and specifications, as well as more advanced maneuvers, in this article.

Basic Search Options

ITA Matrix is accessible at the website, and the search engine is available directly on the home page. The old interface, which will be decommissioned by the end of 2024, has been replaced by a modern one, while the core functions remain the same.

To start, we have options for round-trip, one-way, or multi-city flights at the tabs on the top of the “Find your flight” box.

We’ll focus on one-way flights for most of this guide, as round-trips follow essentially the same process with the opposite direction included. Later on, we’ll look at multi-city searches, as they are slightly more complex.

Origin & Destination

We begin by inputting our origin and destination airports. ITA Matrix allows you to input either the airport code or the city name, where the city name encompasses all airports within the city.

For example, “Toronto, ON, Canada – All airports” would include Toronto Pearson (YYZ), as well as Toronto Billy Bishop (YTZ), as co-terminal airports.

You should stick to airport codes rather than city codes if you want maximum precision, especially as things get more advanced later on.

The first noteworthy feature is ITA Matrix’s “Nearby” feature, which identifies nearby airports to the one you’ve selected that can allow you to save money on airfare. After all, for the budget-conscious traveller, a short bus or train ride can prove to be a worthy endeavour if it allows you to save a few hundred bucks on your flights.

After inputting “YYZ” for…

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