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Is reverse search possible on Google Flights?

Is reverse search possible on Google Flights?

Old May 20, 16, 11:31 am
  #1  
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Is reverse search possible on Google Flights?

If you want to fly into a certain city (I will use LHR for example), can you look at fares on Google Flights departing from anywhere else? I can't figure out how, if it is possible. The program always defaults to my regular departure city.

If this were for a domestic US flight it would be easy, but since fares ex-Europe aren't equal to ex-USA it doesn't work in reverse. I would like to look at fares departing from any/all major US cities to LHR on a certain date, and checking each city (or a region) gets to be time consuming.

I searched but couldn't find a thread that talks about how to use Flights. Does one exist?

Thanks
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Old May 20, 16, 12:13 pm
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You can use the Matrix, plugging in your starting point and using the "nearby" feature to select surrounding airports (all within 500 miles, 1000 miles, or some other absurd number you pick). It's not exactly what you want, but should do the trick.
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Old May 20, 16, 12:30 pm
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I was after something similar myself but was told that Google flights and the ITA Matrix are the best options, Flights works very similar to Matrix, it still takes multiple searches of airports but doing 5-6 at a time.

The main problem I found was that it would not find the correct fares for CX, QR or SQ many times (Flights and ITA were giving me flights more expensive than what the airlines were actually offering) , even with specific searches from single origin and for that AFAIK there is no alternative than looking individually either on Kayak or similar or Airline website.
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Old May 20, 16, 1:14 pm
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Please continue to follow this thread in the Travel Technology Forum.
Thanks..
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Old May 20, 16, 3:36 pm
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Thanks Obscure2k, I wasn't sure if TravelBuzz was the best place to post.

I have used ITA matrix, but as mentioned, you can only search within a certain radius. Being able to do a nationwide departure city search would make things much easier.
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Old May 21, 16, 9:31 am
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Originally Posted by DavidDTW View Post
Thanks Obscure2k, I wasn't sure if TravelBuzz was the best place to post.

I have used ITA matrix, but as mentioned, you can only search within a certain radius. Being able to do a nationwide departure city search would make things much easier.
Well you could try this method as perfected by the BA board for cheap premium flights from the continent as seen in full here. I don't know the maximum number of airports that you can enter in this way on ITA (there are 17 in the example below). It should allow you to cover the major cities and you can always repeat it with another search listing a second tranche of airports if needed.

How much/when/where?
Following the steps below (idiot-proofed by FTers for some years now!) to find the cheapest starting point for your trip.

(1) Go to http://matrix.itasoftware.com

(2) Complete "From" as
Code:

AMS;ARN;ATH;BRU;BUD;CAI;CPH;FRA;HEL;IST;LCA;LIN;LI S;MLA;PAR;VIE;WAW

Be careful - if you can see gaps between any of the three-letter airport codes above, they shouldn’t be there. This is an FT formatting error and you will have to remove them manually..

For completeness, you may want to do a second search on the rest of the EU and potential EU member states:

Code:

BTS;DUB;LJU;LUX;MAD;PRG;TLL;OSL;OTP;RIX;SOF;VNO;ZA G :: BA+

Do also bear in mind that some of the airports there are quite far way from London (e.g. ATH, CAI, IST, HEL, MLA) and you may not want to have the hassle of such a long flight to begin your journey. If so, you can come up with your own list based on the above with airports (or others) that suit you best personally.

(3) Complete "To" as:

YYY :: BA+

Where YYY is your destination - if you don't know the airport code, use the glossary under 'Search' on FT.

(4) Enter rough dates which suit you and LON as "sales city" to get GBP prices

(5) Click "More Options", change cabin to "Business" or "First" and uncheck "Check seat availability"

This will bring up the cheapest listed fare for the route on that day, although it does not necessarily mean that tickets will still be available at that price. You can use dnw's method below to find days with actual I (Club) or A (First) availability. You can also use a tool such as www.expertflyer.com or KVS, though these are not free.

If you're looking for WT+ pricing (e.g. to MFU), set the cabin as "Cheapest" and add " / F BC=T" to the "From" & "To" lines. The results will say "Coach", but it will be a WT+ T class fare. You will need to delete a couple of cities from the list to fit in the extra bit of text.

When comparing WT+ prices for potential MFU's, don't forget that MFU's from countries further away from the UK ('Europe 2' zone in BA terminology) require more miles than MFU's from 'Europe 1'. You should factor in the worth of the extra miles needed when considering which fare offers best value.

(6) Click "Go". Scroll down the results if you don't fancy the first options (usually TIP/CAI/IST) or just delete them in the first place.

Note that you may need to click on 'Cost' to reorder your results in price order, as the default is to list CAI flights first as they offer Club and First on all legs, not just the longhaul one. If searching for First flights, be careful as it sometimes lists itineraries where only one longhaul leg is in F and the return is in J.

Now that you know what the cheapest fare is, you need to find days on which it is available. In order to get a special fare you need availability in the following booking classes on your required flights. Again, taking LIS as an example:

Last edited by Jimmie76; May 21, 16 at 9:48 am
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Old May 23, 16, 2:48 am
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Originally Posted by DavidDTW View Post
Thanks Obscure2k, I wasn't sure if TravelBuzz was the best place to post.

I have used ITA matrix, but as mentioned, you can only search within a certain radius. Being able to do a nationwide departure city search would make things much easier.
Just pick one or two departures in the "middle" and use a 2000 miles radius - should cover most everything. Yes, it might time out, so you should prune the unlikely ones manually

For MCI + 2k miles you get these - just add, delete as you like

MCI, STL, MSP, ORD, MDW, DFW, BNA, DEN, CVG, DTW, IAH, HOU, ATL, YWG, CLT, YYZ, SLC, IAD, DCA, BWI, PHL, PHX, TPA, YOW, SFB, MCO, EWR, LGA, JFK, LAS, YUL, RSW, YYC, FLL, MIA, BOS, YEG, SAN, CUN, LAX, GDL, MEX, NAS, PDX, OAK, SEA, SFO, GTP, YVR, MBJ
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Old May 23, 16, 9:19 am
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Originally Posted by DavidDTW View Post
Being able to do a nationwide departure city search would make things much easier.
MCI+2000 is effectively a contiguous-48-states (plus most of Canada) search.

I tested it out: MCI+2000 to LON, one-week stay, all of July. (I figure this whole idea of using other airports is mainly useful when DTW-LHR fares are likely to be very high.)

The query returned results in around 30 seconds, with YYZ being the leading contender with fares in the $700-800 R/T range on Air Transat. AC metal was a little bit more expensive, but not much.

FWIW, ITA appears smart enough to not query *every* tiny airport in the United States and Canada when you do a +2,000 mile search...just the ones that kind of make sense.

Good news for you is that YYZ might actually be a decent option if your actual start point is Detroit.
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Old May 23, 16, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
MCI+2000 is effectively a contiguous-48-states (plus most of Canada) search.

I tested it out: MCI+2000 to LON, one-week stay, all of July. (I figure this whole idea of using other airports is mainly useful when DTW-LHR fares are likely to be very high.)
This is a good idea! OP's question is a good one though, and one I have thought of many times. It would be interesting of one of the more computer inclined among us could develop a page that allowed this.
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Old May 23, 16, 2:48 pm
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I found a website that has a map you click on an airport and it shows all direct flights to that airport. If you click on the departure airport it shows the airlines and flights. http://www.flightconnections.com/
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Old May 23, 16, 5:42 pm
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
MCI+2000 is effectively a contiguous-48-states (plus most of Canada) search.

I tested it out: MCI+2000 to LON, one-week stay, all of July. (I figure this whole idea of using other airports is mainly useful when DTW-LHR fares are likely to be very high.)

The query returned results in around 30 seconds, with YYZ being the leading contender with fares in the $700-800 R/T range on Air Transat. AC metal was a little bit more expensive, but not much.

FWIW, ITA appears smart enough to not query *every* tiny airport in the United States and Canada when you do a +2,000 mile search...just the ones that kind of make sense.

Good news for you is that YYZ might actually be a decent option if your actual start point is Detroit.
The MCI starting point is a good idea. I will try that.

And as much searching as I do, you are right....YYZ is almost always the best option for lowest fare. I have made the drive up Hwy 401 more than once to fly from Pearson.
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Old May 24, 16, 9:23 am
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Originally Posted by Madone59 View Post
This is a good idea! OP's question is a good one though, and one I have thought of many times. It would be interesting of one of the more computer inclined among us could develop a page that allowed this.
True...seems like a decent university project for someone.

How about a page showing the cheapest TATL routes, anywhere in the U.S. to anywhere in the E.U., by week/month and cabin of service? The ultra-low-fare seeker can use ULCCs on both ends as needed. The person who wants to fly J can find routes where a good sale is on...there's actually a greater chance that I'd tack on extra flights for this than just a cheap Y fare.

Repeat for each popular long-haul continent- or region-pairs.

Doesn't seem like it'd be too hard to code...
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