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I'd really like to fly with an Airbus A380. But how do I find and compare the price of flights that are carried out by specific kind of plane? I don't want to fly just anywhere; I plan to go from Vienna, Austria to Indonesia this summer, possibly with a stop-over in Hong Kong, Singapore or Bangkok.

I checked if any there are any regular commercial flights with A380s to/from my home town. There aren't, so the way to go is probably to first fly to a major hub somewhere in the Middle East or South East Asia (which I'd have to do anyway since there don't seem to be many direct flights from Vienna to SEA).

So far, I simply searched for flights like you'd usually do and then checked which planes they use; this is very, very tedious, especially when one is very flexible in dates.

How do I find cheap flights that are carried out by a specific type of plane?

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    Not an answer, but maybe some help: There's only 13 carriers which have A380, only some of which make sense for your choice of destination. So if you can limit your search to those, it will already limit your choices by a lot. – drat Apr 14 '15 at 9:11
  • Good tip; but since most of those airlines are either European, Middle Eastern or (south east) Asian, it doesn't narrow down the search space all that much. – mort Apr 14 '15 at 9:15
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    Interesting question, but it is not uncommon for carriers to change airplane type last minute. So if such a search engine exist, I don't expect it to be watertight. The two times I was booked on a 777 flight, I flew on a 747. – user141 Apr 14 '15 at 9:39
  • @andra: interesting, this could screw up a lot of planning! – mort Apr 14 '15 at 10:14
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    Singapore and Emirates are major adopters of A380s. There is a higher probability that you might end up in one, if you book a long haul from a major hub on these. – edocetirwi Apr 14 '15 at 14:28
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The ITA Matrix allows you to search by aircraft type, though this feature is undocumented and not found in the official ITA Routing Codes help.

In the Advanced Routing Language field, you would input /aircraft followed by the aircraft types, indicated with a t: and using the IATA equipment codes. For example, suppose I wanted to fly from Miami to Los Angeles and was very insistent that the flights be on widebody aircraft. I could enter

ITA Matrix search for MIA-LAX flights on 747, 767, and 777 aircraft

and would indeed get back an all-widebody itinerary— though on the return, I'd need to fly via Honolulu to do it:

MIA-DFW-LAX / LAX-HNL-DFW-MIA on 767s

Without the type specification, the top result offers me a 737 connecting to a CRJ-900 and a return on a 757. You can use /-aircraft for negation, too, to avoid regional jets or whichever manufacturer has aroused your ire recently.

As far as I know, this is the only publicly accessible flight search engine that allows you to search by aircraft type. Unfortunately, however, it seems you can only search for aircraft on a segment-by-segment basis. I could not coax it to search so that it returns a routing where any one segment is on a particular aircraft (if anyone has figured out the language, please suggest an edit).

So for your A380 quest, you'll need to do some legwork to identify major routes, which you can then plug back in to the ITA Multi-City search. You don't indicate where in Indonesia you are headed, but Singapore is closer to Jakarta than Hong Kong, and the link JoErNanO indicated in another answer indicates A380 flights from Frankfurt and Paris to Singapore. So, I run a search requiring an A380 on the FRA-SIN or CDG-SIN segments, then let the engine fill in the other segments as may be available:

ITA Matrix search for VIE-FRA-SIN-CGK flights, with FRA-SIN on an Airbus 380

and this returns a list of itineraries such as this:

Sample flight VIE-CGK flight including a FRA-SIN segment on an Airbus 380

You could then repeat the exercise looking for flights via CDG-SIN, or via HKG, or perhaps aim for multiple A380 segments via DXB, but you would need to do your comparisons in a spreadsheet or some offline listing.

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There is of course a much simpler way to search for flights with designated connection points:

Simple ITA Matrix search for a VIE-CGK flight with connections at CDG and SIN

The trouble here is that there are numerous CDG-SIN flights on other equipment, and the time it saves you in setting up the search is more than made up in the time it takes you to sift through the larger set of non-relevant results.

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Lastly, remember that ITA is just a search engine; you'll need to go elsewhere to book your desired flights.

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I'm unaware about flight search engines allowing you to specify the plane type. This is nevertheless interesting, and could indeed be a feature request for Skyscanner or similar engines.

A possible strategy to circumvent this could be looking for airplane statistics. You mention the A380. According to Airbus, an increasing number of airlines are beginning to operate this aircraft. The corollary to this statement is that the A380 will be flying more and more routes. The linked page also shows an map highlighting such routes. Just hovering on Hong-Kong for example yields:

a380 HK routes

Airbus also provides a list of airlines currently operating the A380:

  • Singapore Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Qantas
  • Air France
  • Lufthansa
  • Korean Air
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Thai Airways International (THAI)
  • British Airways
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Qatar Airways
  • Etihad Airways

Overall, these initial indicators might help when looking to book a commercial flight on the A380. It is important to note that airlines have the right to amend bookings at all times, and that this is especially true in the case of minor changes such as the airplane model. Hence the aircraft mentioned on your booking reservation is not guaranteed to be the one you'll effectively be boarding.

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I do not know about a search engine for any specific type of planes, but Airbus just made public a website specifically for the A380. This is like any flight search engine, just only offering flights on board the A380.

It does not necessarily give you the cheapest (the fare from Vienna to Jakarta starts at 900 euros in less than a month so it's not bad), and I found the search a bit slow, but you will know for sure what airlines and flights will be operated on an A380.

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    That one is pretty cool, though really, really slow – mort Jul 20 '16 at 8:30
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There is a new tool which shows all routes based on the aircraft type.

Here is an example showing the latest A380 routes:

You could choose one or multiple origin airports at once and see all A380 destinations. Europe to Asia (excluding Middle East)

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Here's another website that allows you to search for A380 flights:

iflya380.com

You can input your travel dates and cities and it will tell you which routings between the two involve the A380.

Also, I am not affiliated with this site in any way. I just read about somewhere online and tried it out.

  • This may be useful, but if you are affiliated with the site in any way, please disclose that, editing your answer to include it. Otherwise, it may be deleted as spam. – Giorgio Aug 9 '17 at 17:26

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