9

Playing around with the ITA Matrix and I noticed that I couldn't find any flights between London and Havana, nor between Miami and Havana, Mexico City and Havana, or Madrid (Barrajas) and Havana. I searched for a one-way trip, with no restrictions on the number of stops, within a month of 1 September. I even removed the restriction that it only return flights with available seats.

This made me wonder if maybe the problem was Havana itself. Does ITA Matrix work for all destinations, or are there limitations? (And is Cuba one of those non-functional places or am I just Doing Something Wrong™?)

11

The Matrix does not show flights to points within Cuba.

This is because ITA takes a wide reading of the US Treasury regulations that forbid US citizens and companies from arranging or organizing travel to Cuba without authority of the Treasury. ITA's exclusion of all Cuban points is probably wider than is really required but that is how they implement their legal obligations.

I have previously raised this topic with a developer at ITA Software. They foresee that US regulations will become more relaxed in the future and that there is no point in reconsidering their blanket exclusion at the moment.

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    @pnuts A one way on FNJ-PEK is priceable on CA but not JS. That is probably to do with JS's absence from the IATA fare distribution arrangements. Domestic flights inside Iran are probably also not available (I didn't look) because Iran has been excluded from the IATA billing and settlement plan for some time. But I would suspect that Cuba is unique in being excluded as a country by ITA. – Calchas Aug 9 '16 at 20:29
12

Besides the specific limitations around Cuba, ITA Matrix only shows regularly scheduled flights generally available through airline Global Distribution Systems.

As such, it won't show you flights on Southwest Airlines in the US (as they don't publish their fares besides their own website). It also won't show you more unusual flights, such as air taxi flights or airports only served by small airlines. For instance, you can fly out to Bathurst Island in Australia (BRT airport), but you won't find that flight on ITA Matrix; it's available through Fly Tiwi, an airline that offers flights to small communities in the Northern Territory on relatively small planes (under 20 seats). Countless similar examples exist throughout the world.

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    @pnuts Southwest is pretty much the same as the "full service" carriers at this point besides their no assigned seats policy. None of the majors serve meals on domestic flights, though some will sell more food than others. and in-flight-entertainment (besides bring your own device stuff) is on the way out for anything besides longhaul. Their seating policy drives some people nuts though. – Zach Lipton Aug 9 '16 at 21:05
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    In that case, you have good reason to be upset! – Zach Lipton Aug 9 '16 at 21:56
  • @pnuts: Yeah, in my experience Southwest now has the same seat pitch as everyone else. Until a few years ago they actually had slightly more. Last rows are likely to result in irregular legroom and meal service on any airline. I think your experiences are outdated. (And actually, I can't remember when Southwest has ever had TVs on their aircraft.) – Nate Eldredge Aug 9 '16 at 22:08
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    Another case where Southwest is just leading the pack; seat-back TVs are disappearing as carriers refit planes and replace them with TV/movies delivered over WiFi to your phone/tablet/laptop/whatever. – hobbs Aug 10 '16 at 1:51
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    Note that some air taxi type operators have codeshare or other types of distribution agreements with larger operators that are GDS connected, or are GDS connected themselves -- ITA shows some of Hagelund's flights, for instance, because they are running regional-type service (under the Ravn Connect branding) for Ravn Alaska, while Cape Air is in the GDS outright. (Although I'm sure that folks unfamiliar with bush flying might be a bit puzzled when they see "Cessna (Light)" in a flight listing on ITA...) I suspect this is a largely North American practice, though... – UnrecognizedFallingObject Dec 20 '16 at 0:32

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