ITA Matrix – Intermediate Case

ITA Matrix

Welcome to the Intermediate Case for ITA Matrix

I am assuming you have already read and understood the ITA Matrix Beginner Case that I wrote about.  After you finish the Intermediate Case, please read my ITA Matrix Expert Case. I will explain the following concepts:


Round Trip Los Angeles to New York City for Halloween

Let’s assume you live near Los Angeles and want to fly to New York City for Halloween.  You decide that you want to leave Los Angeles around Wednesday, Oct 30, and return home from New York City around Sunday, November 3.  Because I said “around” instead of “on,” we have more options to play around with.  For the intermediate case, we will need to use the advanced search options.

Advanced ITA

I start by entering LAX into the Departing From section.  Then I click the “Nearby” link.

LAX Other

Because I don’t mind driving around Los Angeles, I select all 5 airports then click OK.

LAX Around

Now instead of leaving from LAX, I have the option to leave from any of these 5 airports.


Now I enter JFK into the Destination box and then click the “Nearby” link.

Only JFK

Because my friends don’t mind picking me up from anywhere, I select all 5 airports.


And now I have many more potential flight options to chose from.

JFK and All

The next thing I change are the dates.  Since I said I was coming on Wednesday, October 30, I decided that I could leave a day earlier if I wanted, landing on Tuesday or Wednesday.  So I chose October 30 from the calendar and select “or day before.”

Tuesday or Wednesday

For my return, since I still have work on Monday, I would be fine with coming home on Saturday or Sunday.  So I select November 3 from the calendar and select “or day before.”

Saturday or Sunday

Now I click the search button to see what my options are.  It is also important to keep the box marked “allow airport changes” checked.

Search Complete

Here are all my options and the cheapest flights from each airline.

All My Options

Since I hate layovers, I’m going to allow 0 or 1 stop each direction.


Since I hate red eye flights, long layovers, and risky connections, I get rid of those options.


Since the cheapest flights are $302, I won’t look at anything more than $302.


Now I am left with 9 choices, all flights approximately 7 hours long with a layover.

All Flights LAX-JFK

Since all the above flights are equally good, I will take a look at my return flight options.

JFK-LAX Return

Look what I got here, 4 Delta flights to chose from, all leaving on Saturday, November 2.

All Delta

Because the first 3 flights leave before 7:30AM, I chose the last flight leaving at 10:55AM.

Delta JFK

After I select my return flight back to Los Angeles, I am brought to my outbound departure flight.  I have 7 Delta flights to chose from.

Delta Outbound

Since my return flight lands at Long Beach (LGB), it makes sense to fly out of Long Beach because that is where my car will be parked.  So I narrow my search down to LGB flights.

Only LGB

Here are my 5 choices to fly from Long Beach to New York City.


Since I am returning on Saturday, I want an extra day in New York City so I will leave on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. I have 3 choices for flights on Tuesday.


Since I don’t want to get to Long Beach at 7AM, the first flight is out.  Since I don’t want to get to New York City after 11:30PM, the last flight is out.  Therefore, the “Goldilocks” flight wins.

LGB Gold

Now my perfect flight is complete.  I love how ITA Matrix breaks down the flight cost into taxes and fees so you can see how much the actual flight costs.

Delta Complete


Purchase the Ticket Online

From here, I would go to and enter my departure city (LGB), my arrival city (JFK), departure date (10/29/2013), my arrival date (11/2/2013), and press the FIND FLIGHTS button.

Book Delta

Select the same flights on that I chose in ITA Matrix.

Delta Confirm

Verify that the prices are the same.  ITA Matrix always rounds up to the next dollar, that’s why there is a slight difference between $302 and $301.60.  If everything looks good, I purchase the ticket.


Want to learn more about ITA Matrix?

If you want to review the basics, read my ITA Matrix Beginner Case.  If you have mastered the Intermediate Case, you should read my ITA Matrix Expert Case.

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About Grant

Grant is an expert in frequent flyer miles, hotel loyalty points, credit card rewards, and cash back deals. He also has a pretty cool travel blog. Find him on Twitter @travelwithgrant.

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