2

Say I want to visit somewhere like Osaka for 2 weeks, and am flexible on dates the whole year. My priority is the cheapest and most direct flight. I don't care about dates. It obviously takes too much time to type and trial-and-error pairs of dates. How can I find out efficiently for free?

How can I view all of the flights between two cities across all dates? doesn't answer my question. You have to pay to use Expertflyer. ITA ranges just for one month, not the whole year.

Skyscanner shows the airlines with direct flights between OSA and the US. I checked Delta and JAL's route maps, and they have nothing direct between SFO and OSA. United's flight map (screenshot under) proves it does, but it doesn't advertise what dates. These KAYAK searches including OSA-SFA and SFO-OSA show direct flights.

enter image description here

  • 2
    As far as I can figure out, the only reason you'd ever have to try 365x364 dates is if you were planning a return trip with absolutely no constraints on which direction you flew first, which time of year you go, or how long the trip should last (well, no constraints except that both legs can't be on the same day). – Chris H Jul 5 at 9:45
  • 6
    This is the latest in a series of poorly constructed questions about airline routes. What's it for? Every traveler knows something about their proposed journey, be it dates, airlines they wish to use, or aircraft type they want to fly in, or even the movie showing on the flight. Any of these would narrow down your options to something manageable, but you seem to want an open-ended answer about every possible combjnation. Voting to close as too broad, or unclear. – Redd Herring Jul 5 at 10:43
  • 3
    While not the best wording, I think this is an interesting question. I've come up against this situation before, trying to figure out when in the year is a route actually flown, particularly for very remote places. – Itai Jul 5 at 14:28
  • 2
    @ReddHerring "Every traveler knows something about their proposed journey, be it dates, airlines they wish to use, or aircraft type they want to fly in". congrats for knowing more than i do and knowing "every traveler" in the world, because i don't know. when i travel for fun, i plan dates around flights and prices, not the other way like you. why don't act a bit nicer than just closing posts, because others "know" less than you? – Mark da Silva Jul 6 at 0:13
  • 3
    @MarkdaSilva your request still doesn’t sound like a vaguely realistic one. You’re price sensitive but unconcerned whether your stay lasts 1 day or 364 days? – Chris H Jul 6 at 8:10
3

FlightConnections.com shows the days of the week on which a given flight is operated. I have found that their data is not always 100% accurate, but it would give you a better idea of which airlines operate a flight on which days.

For example, in the screenshot below, you can see that EgyptAir flies from Baghdad to Cairo every day except Mondays and Tuesdays, while Iraqi Airways flies the same route every day except Mondays and Wednesdays.

enter image description here

  • 3
    Unfortunately, FlightConnections shows seasonal routes with which days it flies but NOT the dates. – Itai Jul 5 at 14:26
  • 1
    @Michael Can you please answer Itai's comment? – Mark da Silva Jul 6 at 0:04
  • @Itai Surely it’s a relatively simple task to match up days with dates? – Traveller Jul 6 at 10:21
  • @Itai: Can you elaborate on your comment, preferably with an example route? I’m not quite sure what you mean. Alternatively, feel free to edit my answer to indicate the appropriate caveats. – Michael Seifert Jul 6 at 12:15
  • For example, flying between Montreal and several Caribbean islands direct is only possible some month of the year which what is meant by a seasonal flight. If you go to FlightConnections, you can see that there are flights on (say) Saturday and Wednesday but it does not tell you that you have to wait until June-September or December months. Found a similar route in Brazil a few months ago. – Itai Jul 6 at 21:50
1

Question 1: Most (all? I don't think I'm aware of any which don't) major travel search engines allow you to search with flexible dates, including flights within (for example) +/- 3 days of the date you selected. You can also typically specify that you only want direct flights. As almost all routes have schedules which repeat on a weekly basis during each season, checking one week tells you much more than just that week. Actual season dates vary between airlines and regions, but even if you don’t know a given airlines season change dates you can certainly bring your search down to 1 week per month of the year and have a very clear idea of when an itinerary is possible.

If you're interested in destinations available to/from a specific airport or via a specific airline, the Wikipedia pages of most major airports and airlines contain lists of the destinations they serve. As of course do their official websites. How effectively any of these sources communicate frequency of a given route is variable. Some, like the United page included in the question, fail to communicate that effectively or at all, others do so much more effectively. For example Hamburg airport’s destination map, where you do have to pick a date first, but once you’ve done so you can click the calendar to select a new date, and each day has a coloured icon indicating whether there are direct, connecting, or no flights to that destination.

I'm not answering question 2, as
a) travel.SE is not your travel agent, and
b) searching for flights as above inherently reveals this information to you anyway

  • 1
    I don't get how this answers my question 1? and did you even read my post? perhaps you can reread it more carefully. I don't want to guess dates. "If you're interested in destinations available to/from a specific airport or via a specific airline" - i already knew this. didn't you see how i linked to Skyscanner that shows this? – Mark da Silva Jul 6 at 0:06
  • 1) almost all routes have schedules which repeat on a weekly basis during the season, so if you figure it out for one week you can be reasonably confident you’ve got a quarter or a half of the year covered. I’ll edit the post to make that clearer 2) No, I don’t see how a link to skyscanner shows your knowledge of what information is available from Wikipedia pages and official airline/airport sites. – Chris H Jul 6 at 7:58
1

Generally speaking, airlines don't change their schedules very often. For most city pairs, at least one airline flies it as a daily route (or many times a day.) If you happen to discover a city that doesn't have daily service, you can follow this algorithm:

  • identify an airline that flies the route
  • for a week in your rough date range, discover which days the option is available (you may have more luck doing this on the airline's own web site rather than on an aggregator) by looking for a flight on each day of the week
  • prepare a hypothesis such as "they appear to fly it Tuesdays and Thursdays."
  • choose a nearby week and test your hypothesis. Refine if need be.
  • optionally, choose a week 6 months away from the first and test the hypothesis again. This will let you know whether your proposed rule holds year-round or not

You can then also look through the "news" or "announcements" section of your chosen airline to see if they are announcing that their former once-a-week-service between X and Y is now happening twice a week, or that their "usual seasonal reductions" will be happening on a particular date. This should enable you to build up a reasonably confident pattern.

I used this approach to build a 26 leg trip that included a leg that happened only twice a week and another only once a week. The websites of the selected airlines were far more useful than larger search engines for this purpose.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.