This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

One of the best tools to find great airfare deals used to be the ITA Matrix. It had several useful features that allowed users to search for airfare between city pairs over several months using flexible date ranges for the duration of your trip, making it a great resource for finding some of those low-cost mileage run deals.

The ITA Matrix has been one of the most useful airfare search tools out there.
The ITA Matrix has been one of the most useful airfare search tools out there.

The one major downside is that you cannot book airfare directly through the Matrix but instead must go to an airline or online travel agency website to price out the ticket and buy it. Still, that was a small price to pay for some truly amazing deals that were to be found.

However, the folks on this FlyerTalk thread have noted that in recent months the ITA Matrix seems to be going downhill fast. Whereas before, you could use the Matrix to search for airfares with numerous criteria like fare booking classes, searching specific airlines and specific alliances, and even displaying a price per mile. You can find out the command functions for doing so here.

And here is an example of what it looks like when you click on the “Advanced Routing Codes” link to enter in the commands for the particular criteria you would like.

Lately, though, people seem to have been finding that any effort to use these more advanced search options leads to a search timeout at about 60 seconds.

Among the faults that they identify are:

  • Search timeouts
  • Incorrect pricing that you cannot replicate through OTA’s or specific airlines
  • Searching using “Nearby” airports up to 500 miles away
  • Searching by alliance stalls the search
  • Specifying fare codes or routing rules stalls the search

For a quick example, here is a calendar of availbility in April for roundtrip flights between New York JFK and Frankfurt:


It prices out no problem on a variety of dates, and then pulls up specific flight options:

JFK FRA airlines

And then you can go book it on a site like Orbitz:

JFK FRA orbitz

However, if you try to expand the search to nearby airports like this:


The search stalls for a while and then you get the following error message:

ITA Error

So it looks like the ITA Matrix is losing some of its functionality for the hardcore deal-searchers out there. While you might have issues searching specific fare classes and airlines, however, if you are just looking to price out simple airfares between city pairs over date ranges, the Matrix should still be useful.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Search specific airports
  • Search specific dates when possible
  • Search “normal” date ranges (like 3-10 days) if you are looking at an availability calendar
  • Look at the airline options that are pulled up and go to the site where you are most likely to get the same results, whether it is an airline or OTA

Have any of you been having trouble using the ITA Matrix lately? Share your experiences in the comments below.

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.