Many times, it's the flight to your chosen destination of your dreams that puts the most strain on your travel budget. Today, I'll show you how you'll find the cheapest flight like a pro with the so-called Matrix and both of my favorite flight search engines.
What's the Matrix?
The ITA Matrix is one of the best but also one of the most complex flight search tools you can use to find a suitable flight for yourself. First of all: You cannot book a flight via the Matrix, you can only let it indicate when exactly which airline offers the cheapest flight.
Don't mistake the Matrix with Google Flights. It's owned by the same company but the Matrix is also way more powerful as an search engine than Google Flights.
First of all, you're able to choose between one-way, roundtrip or open jaw flight, meaning more stopovers in several cities, which you could use for some short trips.
Next up, your point of departure and destination airport code. Don't worry, if you don't know it, the Matrix will display several results while you're entering a city or country. Now you're able to choose between option A as in searching for exact flight dates or option B as in search for the cheapest flight. Choose between two month and how many nights you're planing on staying and let the Matrix display all the prices for you. You can now see the best time for your trip.
More options available are the number of people flying, if some of them are kids, how many layovers and if you want to fly economy, premium economy, business or first class. Once you're selected all your wanted options, you're ready to go. The Matrix will automatically display the cheapest flight first (all taxes included).
In the upper, left corner, you can see all the airlines that are offering flights and if you want to narrow your search result, you can choose which airline you want fly with. Additionally, you can choose whether you want to fly in the morning or in the evening, which flight has the shortest or even the longest stay during a stopover and so on. As you can see, the Matrix knows a bunch of things.
If you found the right flight, you can click on “Details” on the right side of your result and receive all informations about your chosen flight. The ITA Matrix will explain how the rate is made up, what type of aircraft you'd fly with, the flight number and if there is a meal and drinks served.
But the Matrix has also one big downside. You cannot search for a flight for an unlimited amount of time, at some point it kinda doesn't want to do the job properly anymore. The more complicated you're shaping your search, as in the exact date, including airline and even time of departure, the longer the Matrix takes in searching for the results and at some point, it just stops with the search, displaying only those results, the Matrix has found until then. So, you could miss out some real bargains, hidden in the depths of the mighty internet.
Online flight search has a high complexity, who nobody wants to dwell on while planing a vacation, so here's my tip for you: use the Matrix in order to flight the best time for your flight to your dream destination and after that, chose my following two recommendations in order to book it.
The currently best flight search engine
Let's just say, you want to fly to New York City, for seven nights, in May or June and you've found the best period while using the Matrix - which would be Tuesday May 9 using this example at a charge of 391€ / $418 for a roundtrip, starting from Berlin. Switching to Skyscanner, you're now entering the exact dates, meaning Berlin to New York, outward flight on May 9, inward flight on May 16, two persons and et voila, you will receive said Delta flight for 391€ / $418 as a result and can now book it.
Same thing works with Momondo, only this time, choosing said example, you're fight will only cost you 369€ / $394 with Momondo.
As you can see, you should always compare Skyscanner and Momondo before choosing your final option. One day, Skyscanner will deliver the cheaper option, the other day Momondo, you can never know for sure.
Additionally, Momondo offers the open jaw flight options. Let's say, just hypothetically, you could fly from Berlin to London, stay for two nights and continue to New York afterwards. If you know right from the beginning that you want an open jaw flight, use the Matrix as well to help you with the best time period to fly.
As you can see, options above options and you still got the opportunity to find the right flight like a pro. Now you're prepared quite acceptable, regarding your next flight search, able to start right away. I don't want to hold you back any longer and don't forget: look before you leap ;)
Until then, happy traveling.