Using ITA To Find Cheap Airfare When Your Dates Are Flexible

Google’s ITA Software is the most powerful airfare search engine out there.  It won’t sell you any tickets, but you can use it to find tickets and then book the tickets from another site, like from Orbitz or directly from the airline.

There are endless commands you can use to customize your search on ITA, but if you are a beginner just take a look at the calendar option.

When I search for valid dates on deals, such as for tickets to Israel, I’ll always hop onto ITA to help sniff out the cheapest dates to fly.

For example searching from NYC to Cleveland.  You can click “nearby” to add other airports like Akron/Canton.. Click on “See calendar of lowest fares” and enter any date. Then enter a length of stay for up to 7 days, for example 5-12.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Searching like that it’s easy to find dates for as low as $90 round-trip including tax:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I limited a search to nonstop flights only from Cleveland to Los Angeles and found results for just $211 with tax, an incredible price:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are lots of other codes you can use as well. To use them click on “Advanced routing codes” on the search page.
Say you only want to fly on Delta flights, just enter the following the field for advanced codes: DL+
Only want to fly on OneWorld airlines: / alliance oneworld
Don’t like connections shorter than an hour but don’t like to stay in the airport longer than 2.5 hours: / minconnect 60; maxconnect 150
Want to connect in Paris on the way to Israel: CDG

More codes can be found on this DDF thread.

For example here I use / alliance star-alliance ;-redeye to look for only Star Alliance operated flights and to avoid searching for any redeye flights. the ; allows you to add another code and the - sign negates all redeyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here then are prices for flights from NYC to Los Angeles and all surrounding airports on Star Alliance airlines that are not overnight flights:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And by clicking on a date the exact flights are shown:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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30 Responses to “Using ITA To Find Cheap Airfare When Your Dates Are Flexible”

  1. Matt Says:
    1

    Awesome. Sure beats Kayak!

    ReplyReply
  2. anon Says:
    2

    Kayak does all of this, if you know how to input the request (or how to modify the URL). But this may be more noob friendly

    ReplyReply
  3. Dan Says:
    3

    @anon:
    Let me know how to search Kayak for dirt cheap hidden-city tickets or how to limit Kayak searches to search an entire month for only United flights in fare classes that will earn full miles when credited to Aegean for easy Star Alliance gold status…

    ReplyReply
  4. Yitzy Says:
    4

    Tonight again, Alitalia %15 off promo coming…

    ReplyReply
  5. Judah Says:
    5

    Last I checked, ITA wasn’t working for flights to Israel. Thanks for the heads up, Dan!

    ReplyReply
  6. anon Says:
    6

    @Dan: I was reacting to Matt’s response based on your post. Kayak does everything you described in your post, though I don’t doubt there are more advanced features with ITA.
    :)

    ReplyReply
  7. Yitzy Says:
    7

    @Dan: Where is the best to transfer Amex NOW?
    I need to close a card

    ReplyReply
  8. chase card Says:
    8

    how about where is the best to transfer chase sapphire preferred points, i need to close card as well.

    ReplyReply
  9. DG Says:
    9

    Just wanted to know- if I am holding a United ticket from TLV-EWR, already ticketed, and found it cheaper thru this search engine, will UA refund the difference?($1223.00- $1068.00)Thanks!

    ReplyReply
  10. Dan Says:
    10

    @DG:
    They will not if you bought the ticket more than 24 hours ago. You can always cancel and rebook but then you’ll be paying a change fee.

    ReplyReply
  11. DG Says:
    11

    @Dan: @Dan: Right. Thanks for all those future savings on my TLV outward bound flights. (more money to spend in the Duty Free??)

    ReplyReply
  12. dumb Says:
    12

    how come I am finding Expedia etc cheaper than any price on ITA and its calendar fare calculator?

    ReplyReply
  13. need to book Says:
    13

    What’s the best way to book a flight that I see on ITA but can find on any other website?
    Thansk

    ReplyReply
  14. Jay Says:
    14

    Dan, United seems to have something similar (exclusivly for united flights obviously)
    https://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps/booking/flight/fareCalendar.aspx

    ReplyReply
  15. Herbie Says:
    15

    Can I use this to search for an award ticket?

    ReplyReply
  16. Come on Says:
    16

    this was one of the best kept secrets why did you have to share it with everyone?

    ReplyReply
  17. Shira Says:
    17

    I am new at this, until now I’ve used Kayak, Orbitz, etc. How do I actually buy a ticket using the codes they provide for the flights I want? To clarify the question, if I want to use Kayak, etc., where do I plug in these codes so I can take advantage of these fares? I’d appreciate any help with this. I often book online for my family and neighbors here in Yerushalayim.

    ReplyReply
  18. Motty Says:
    18

    is this deal still going on?

    ReplyReply
  19. hunch Says:
    19

    How do I search a 3 month span?

    ReplyReply
  20. booking Says:
    20

    trying to book ticket to israel on italia usa – they say they do not have any flights from jfk to israel – even with flex dates…am i missing something?

    ReplyReply
  21. carol Says:
    21

    @booking: am trying to book alitalia with their 25% off special and getting nowhere. any suggestions?

    ReplyReply
  22. Elad Says:
    22

    Dan,
    Here is an example of something not workin on the ITA:
    I checked the ITA for an itinerary I already booked (found on Kayak), but it seems the ITA doesn’t show this option.
    My itinerary is:
    between March 16th to March 27th (2013) – TLV -> JFK (return trip).
    Kayak found for me the option of flying with Transero airlines (Russian carrier), through Moscow, for a great price of 800$ (and this trip is during passover when prices soars!), and the ITA doesn’t show at all Transero as an option…
    It seems that the ITA misses some options and doesn’t show 100% results… Unless I missed something in operating the ITA, but I don’t think I did…
    Can you tell me if this is a real false\bug\error of ITA?

    ReplyReply
  23. Yechiel Says:
    23

    When I search Expedia or Kayak I get cheaper prices from Tel Aviv to Toronto. Example: On Feb 12 return Feb 17 there are tickets for $775. Doesn’t exist on Itasoftware.

    ReplyReply
  24. Dawn Says:
    24

    Thanks! This is GREAT site. Do you have a suggestion for a site that will show great, extremely flexible vacation prices? I don’t really care where I go (as long as it’s exotic)…anywhere, anytime, as long as it’s a deal! I’d love to just throw a dart so to speak, and plan my trip based on saving the most money possible.

    ReplyReply
  25. Elliot Says:
    25

    if i book a delta hacker fare for my outbound flight for a 1 night trip, can i use delta for the way home the next day or will they not let me board because i already missed 1 leg of my trip?
    (i hope i explained my situation well enough)

    ReplyReply
  26. momo22 Says:
    26

    Were can i find the codes for the Europe airports

    ReplyReply
  27. sexdate Says:
    27

    I think your topic is pretty great. If you wanna meet other people u also can see website. I just wanna thank you for this.

    ReplyReply
  28. Jason Says:
    28

    I tried calling Turkish Airlines bc the flights on the website were more expensive than ITA. ITA showed code W available but the airline said that code W was not available. Does this make sense?

    ReplyReply
  29. Avi Says:
    29

    Any way to make this work for longer stays? It doesn’t seem t be helpful at all for that…

    ReplyReply
  30. Anonymous Says:
    30

    @Dan: how do you search a specific fare class??- (ones that can be credited to aegan)

    ReplyReply

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