Google’s New Flight Search Hack

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Couple who tried to escape from Amsterdam tell their side of the story they were detained at the airport and sent into quarantine after one of them tested positive for Covid-19, but four subsequent tests came back negative.

  • Amtrak considers dropping BofA as its co-brand card issuer

  • My first stop for searching flights – for many years – has been ITA Matrix which is now owned by Google. It was a demonstration site, that doesn’t actually allow for booking (though there was a hacked together tool that would take its results and let you book them). It’s just the quickest and most powerful way to search, whether specifying the exact fare you want or the routing and airlines and then drilling down based on length of trip and other features.

    It’s old, and the backend is outdated and not being maintained, but some Googlers are porting it over to a new technology to keep it alive. Here’s the new site. Most of you of course will just use Google Flights. (HT: Miles Earn and Burn)

    [A] band of dedicated Google “20% time” volunteers has been working to rewrite Matrix using newer web technologies like Angular, while aiming to preserve most of the existing functionality. …Use the new Matrix to search for itineraries with the control and power you are used to, including routing and extension codes, calendar searches, filters, and time-bars to visualize the resulting options.

  • Woman runs onto tarmac at LAX, waving down a Southwest Airlines plane

  • She’s lucky she wasn’t arrested for stealing the car that Hertz failed to give to her, tbh.

  • British Airways is suing the City of Chicago over runway debris that took 3 Boeing 787s out of service.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. That BOA-Amtrak card may not last that long if they really throw in the towel, but it sounds like a negotiating tactic on Amtrak’s part.

    Either BOA should create a transferable points currency, or one of the major players in that space should take it over.

  2. @ Gary — I use Matrix ITA constantly. I am not seeing any improvement with this new tool. Can you explain what has been updated?

  3. That wasn’t construction debris on the runway in Chicago that British Airways airplanes ran over. It was Tezlyn Figaro, hopefully.

  4. I love ITA Matrix, still have it as a separate icon on my monitor. Like @Gene, other than seeing a more… graphical? … interface, I’d love to know what changed.
    Thx to those volunteers maintaining it anyway.

  5. That Hertz story would be outrageous if it was not about the same as the median rental car experience I’ve had in NYC and slightly better than all since 2019.

  6. The rental car experience has gotten progressively worse during COVID. The Hertz bankruptcy did not help. (I also wonder what the effect will be of United switching its status matching program to Avis. At least it helps to be President’s Circle.) However, this reminds me of a travel lesson I learned early on, which is to avoid the small neighborhood rental car outposts if you can. They have limited cars and are understaffed. Only the big airport offices have enough cars, car turnover and staff to help when things go wrong. For a small outpost, only a few people returning their cars late can throw everything off. I suspect if the original reservation had been made at one of the airports, things would have gone better. (I remember one time riding the train down to Philly and then taking the regional out to the airport to rent a car for a week.)

  7. ITA Matrix looks promising, and finds good fare…which unfortunately neither Google Flights nor Expedia finds. Since you can’t book the ticket directly from ITA Matrix, makes it kinda useless…and a bit annoying

  8. The letters are quite entertaining and all but really don’t read like they were truly written by an attorney.

  9. Does the original ITA Matrix return WN flights? That’s the most annoying thing to me about google flights is having to search them separately (which of course is on SWA, not on google). I don’t see WN flights on this new tool, so wondering if the original is better on that front.

  10. With the “new & improved” ITA Matrix interface, how do you return to the calendar after looking at an individual day?

    On the “classic” ITA Matrix, after I have viewed Flights, I just click on Calendar to return to it.

    With this new version, clicking on “Calendar” does nothing except remove a check mark from it. That’s a serious loss of functionality. I flip back and forth between the Calendar and Flights a *lot*.

Comments are closed.