Matrix by ITA Software

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Matrix by ITA Software is a tool that is helpful in searching for fares. Currently there are two versions of the software: the Original Matrix and Matrix2. While purchasing fares is not possible at either website, it is handy for planning flights and mileage runs.

Original Matrix

The Original Matrix has numerous undocumented Features

Undocumented Features

This Flyertalk thread discusses many of them.

SPECIFYING BOOKING CLASSES

Command is "/f bc=y|bc=c"
Ex: Force booking class to Y or C. 
from: IAD ::  /f bc=w 
to: FRA :: /f bc=w|bc=q

Notes: if you're using another feature before this one (e.g. "nocodeshare"), the proper syntax is "from: ABC :: /nocodeshare, f bc=y".
The pipe "|" acts as an OR. The "&" acts as an AND. Boolean logic is used.

To prohibit a booking class, use the Tilde "~" before "bc=x".

Example: "XYZ :: /f ~bc=l

SPECIFYING BOOKING CLASSES FOR PARTICULAR AIRLINES

Command is "/f lh..f|aa..y"
Ex: Force booking class to Y or C. 
from: IAD ::  /f bc=w 
to: FRA :: /f bc=w|bc=q

Notes: if you're using another feature before this one (e.g. "nocodeshare"), the proper syntax is "from: ABC :: /nocodeshare, f bc=y". The pipe "|" acts as an OR. The "&" acts as an AND. Boolean logic is used.

PREVENTING AIRLINES

Command is "-airlines XX ..."
Ex: prohibit Jet Blue or Delta
from: BOS ::/ -airlines B6 DL
to: LAX ::/ -airlines B6 DL

RESTRICTING TO AIRLINES

Command is "airlines XX ..."
Ex: consider only Jet Blue or Delta
from: BOS ::/ airlines B6 DL
to: LAX ::/ airlines B6 DL

Duration Limits

Duration limiters
command effect
minconnect <MM> Minimum number of minutes on all connections between flights.
maxconnect <MM> Maximum number of minutes on all connections between flights.
padconnect <MM> Require MM minutes in addition to the airline's minimum recommendation.
maxdur <MMM> Maximum number of minutes for the corresponding city pair on the itinerary (not the whole itinerary).

Semantical Limitations: it's important to realize that minconnect and maxconnect limit time between all flights sequencing the corresponding city pair, but if a flight stops and then continues with the same flight number, this constraint does not apply. There is also no way to constrain some connections between the city pair and not others. E.g. if the route is A-B-C-D-E, the layovers at B, C, and D must all be constrained equally.

Example: LIMIT DURATION OF City pair, IN MINUTES

No more than 5hrs for each part of trip:
from:

BOS ::/ maxdur 300

to:

LAX ::/ maxdur 300

Example: SET MINIMUM OR MAXIMUM TIME FOR CONNECTIONS, IN MINUTES

No less than one hour, no more than two hour connections:
from:

BOS ::/ minconnect 60, maxconnect 120

to:

LAX ::/ minconnect 60, maxconnect 120

Example: EXTRA CONNECTION TIME

Require at least 20 minutes more than airline recommended minimum connection time:
from:

BOS ::/ padconnect 20

to:

LAX ::/ padconnect 20

Booleans that can limit the search query

Boolean constraints
command effect
-nofirstclass Exclude flights that do not have a first class cabin. (IOW, all flights for the city pair must have a first class cabin).
-codeshare No codeshares.
-overnight No overnight stops.
-change No airport changes.
-redeye No red-eye flights.
-prop No propeller planes.
-train No trains.
-surface No surface transportation.
-helicopter No helicopter.

Note that these options can only be used to get the mentioned effect. There is no means to get the opposite effect. For example, there is no syntax that can force a search to only include propeller aircraft.

Example

No overnight stops, no airport chanes, no redeyes, no propellor planes:

BOS ::/ -overnight, -change, -redeye, -prop

SEARCHING BY ALLIANCE

Command is "alliance <alliance-name>” 
in “routing codes” box, type “/ alliance <alliance-name>” 
    <alliance-name> can be “star-alliance”, “oneworld”, or “skyteam” 
from: BOS ::/ alliance oneworld

DISPLAY BY "PRICE PER MILE"

Display/sort by “price per mile” (hidden feature, new matrix only). Two ways:
1. On the search results page, hold the shift key down while you click on the “price” column (unfortunately this doesn't work in some browsers) 
2. Secret URL: http://matrix.itasoftware.com/?showPricePerMile=true 
   The option is sticky, the site will remember how you set it last.


PUTTING LOTS OF THINGS TOGETHER

Separate with commas.
Ex:
from: BOS :: UA UA / f bc=l|bc=y, -redeye, -prop
to: LAX :: UA+ / f ua.bos+lax.yup, padconnect 20, -overnight
If that doesn't work, try separating with semicolons:
Ex:
from: BOS :: UA UA / f bc=l|bc=y ; -redeye ; -prop
to: LAX :: UA+ / f ua.bos+lax.yup ; padconnect 20 ; -overnight

And this note from ITA Software support, October 2011: the trick is just that you need to separate -overnight and -redeye with a semicolon. In general, commands after the backslash have to be separated by a semi colon.

from: LAX :: ua,co+ / -overnight; -redeye
to: STT :: ua,co+ / -overnight; -redeye
(this example produces no valid flights, which is correct)