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What’s Google ITA Matrix?
ITA Matrix, now owned by Google, is a handy, free tool that lets you search for flights around the world with different parameters. ITA Software was founded by Richard Aiken and Jeremy Wertheimer in 1996, but agreed to be acquired by Google in 2010, which went through a year later.
Matrix is ITA’s original airfare shopping engine where you can search for flights, but not buy them, as tickets cannot be directly purchased there. Instead you use it simply for your flight information, to see what’s available at what price, which you then take either to your travel agent or airline to make your booking.
We’ve mentioned ITA Matrix many times in the past, including how to use it to search for the cheapest flights. You can often find great bargains on Matrix and we’ve posted many of these, including Vancouver to Shanghai for just $467 round-trip, Orlando to Iguazu Falls for just $273 round-trip and Chicago to Mauritius for just $824 return.
OnTheFly is more free ITA Software, but specifically for mobile devices. You can download it for Android here or iOS here and then search for airfares for any itinerary in the world. You can quickly and easily find available flights and compare options across dates, airlines and other cities or airports.
Like Matrix, you can’t use OnTheFly to purchase your flights, but it’s an excellent tool for planning your travel, especially when it comes to saving money.
How do I use Google ITA Matrix and OnTheFly?
You can access ITA Matrix here and search for your flights.
We tested both ITA Matrix and OnTheFly to see if they found the same flight information. While both were just as easy to use as each other, the results were slightly different (but only slightly). In this instance, when looking for a flight between LA and New York, Matrix and OnTheFly found similar but not exactly the same results, despite searching within 60 seconds of each other:
What else do I need to know about Google ITA?
There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between using Matrix or OnTheFly, so it looks like it just depends on whether you want to access it on a mobile device or not.
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