The ITA matrix is a magical piece of software for any airline ticket connoisseur. Google acquired ITA back in 2010 and used its technology to upgrade it’s google flights product.
Officially, the matrix has been discontinued but it is still available to use (for now). It has some very powerful functionality that isn’t available on most airline websites.
The main reason to use the matrix is to price a fare code that isn’t available to price on the airlines own website.
What do I mean by this?
Well, take Virgin Atlantic for example. Their Premium Economy cabin has 4 fare codes – W, S, H and K. The highest and most flexible (expensive) is W and the cheapest is K, with no flexibility whatsoever. There is also a split in the tier points earned depending on which fare your ticket is issued in. W and S earn 100 tier points each way while H and K earn only 50 tier points each way. The Virgin website defaults to offering you the cheapest available fare per cabin. But if you happen to want a higher fare code, the only way to find the price for it is either to call the ticketing line (and potentially have a long wait) or use the ITA matrix.
Let’s say you want to price a Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy S fare, this is how you’d do it.
- First, set your departure and destination city. Set your dates and number of passengers.
- Click “Show Advanced Controls“.
- Set “Routing codes” to VS (Virgin Atlantic is VS, British Airways is BA), this limits the search to only Virgin Atlantic.
- Set “Extension codes” to “F BC = S“. F stands for Fare. BC stands for booking code and S is the booking code we want.
- Change any other parameters you want like the maximum number of stops.
- Hit “Search“
As you can see, in my example above, the price for an S fare to Boston is a whopping £1808. Not cheap!
Using specific fares will rarely be a cheap affair, but if you want specific fare codes for tier point or flexibility purposes – this is how to price them.
If you need help with a specific fare question about British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, let us know. We love helping people with faring questions.