RTW – ITA Matrix : The Way to Cheaper Flights

In the last post about my Round the World (RTW) trip I said I had to find my own flights and that this was not that easy. Here I will explain just how I found the flights and what I had to do to get them at the price I wanted.

There are a number of tools that you can use to find the flights you want. One of the best, and fastest, if Google Flights. Google Flights will allow you to quickly enter your itinerary and it will throw up flights that match. However, Google Flights is pretty simple. There are only limited ways you can filter the flights and so a far more flexible tool is ITA Matrix. ITA Matrix uses Google Flights behind the scenes but it has a huge array of options that allow you to filter the flights so that more precisely fit what you want.

I am not going to explain how to use ITA Matix here. It has a huge number of options and features and there are already many sites that explain how to use it far better than I could. But if you are ever going to be making long trips or multi-leg trips then you could save yourself thousands.

The site is at https://matrix.itasoftware.com/

Here is a typical example. As I say, look up how to use ITA Matrix to find the flights you want but here I took a simple example… finding cheaper flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to New York (JFK). This is looking for all flights from LHR to JFK during the month of February 2019. It assumes a 7 night stay and is looking in Business Class or higher.

This is the initial search…

This is what it returned…

You can see that the cheapest flights are in brown at £1664. By changing the starting location to Stockholm like this…

It returned this…

Now the cheapest flights are just £681! Of course, you have to get to Stockholm and because of flight timings you may have to stay overnight there, but with the flight to New York around £1000 cheaper and with return flights from London to Stockholm starting at around £100 this would still be cheaper by many hundreds of pounds and more if you could get the positioning flights using frequent flyer rewards.

This simple example shows the principle of finding cheaper flights… find a location in Europe to start your trip instead of London and simply position yourself there the day before, of if timings allow, the same day.

This is how I found my flights for the RTW. A lot of trial and error using ITA Matrix and also being guided by forums such Flyer Talk and Turning Left for Less.

One final point… although this technique can be used for economy seats the savings will not likely make positioning to somewhere in Europe worthwhile. By all means try but this is mainly beneficial for Business and First class travel.

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