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I'm looking for how to get from Porto, Portugal to Lviv, Ukraine on December 28th. There is a quite inexpensive and reasonably-long option:

Porto — Warsaw around €80 with Wizz Air or Ryanair,
and then Radom — Lviv on the next day with SprintAir for €34.
Overall under €110 and 24 hours.

Why don't any of the search engines I know of show me the itinerary I found?

Kayak does know that Radom is close to Warsaw (it's a 2-hour train ride) — it shows me flights from Radom when I click "include nearby" for Warsaw — Lviv search.

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    Have you run this on rome2rio.com With non-airline transfers and more than same day for a within Schengen travel, I think flight search engines are right in ignoring it. – Willeke Oct 30 '16 at 14:20
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    Yes I did, but rome2rio.com is only suggesting ground means of transport on the last leg. It's not even showing me "train to Lisbon, fly to Lviv" option, which makes much more sense than "Fly to Rzeszow, train, night train". – Gleb Oct 30 '16 at 14:31
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Why don't any of the search engines I know of show me the itinerary I found?

Several reasons. One is that low cost carriers are not well represented in flight search engines (eg your other recent question).

But the main reason is time, both in computing a vastly larger number of possible routes and in variability once surface travel comes into play. By road can vary according to traffic conditions as well as bus schedules. Hence connections cannot be assured.

Flight search engines exist to advertise air tickets and there is next to no incentive for them to offer journeys that include legs by private car (say Porto to Lisbon) or by taxi (say Warsaw to Radom).

If you choose Lisbon as your starting point then Rome2Rio does offer a selection of flights to Lviv.

  • In addition to computing the routes, in order to find routes like the OPs example which are cheap but long, the search engine would have to get quotes for hundreds if not thousands of flights, which is way more expensive (both in terms of computational and monetary cost) than just calculating the routes. This is the main reason such routes are not searched for. – user1937198 Feb 5 '17 at 1:23
  • Searching is relatively cheap compared to quoting. Theres a lot of filtering going on between the route search and the quoting. – user1937198 Feb 5 '17 at 1:29
  • I'm talking in terms of the flight search engines point of view. By searching I mean working out the route in terms of flights taken, whilst quoting is working how much the tickets cost for each flight. Just working out if a route is feasible in terms of distance, time, connections etc can be done in milliseconds and isn't dependent on demand pricing or the whole route. By comparison finding out the price for a flight involves things like GDS lookups, must take the whole route checked into account and can take a 10th of a second each. – user1937198 Feb 5 '17 at 1:41
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – user1937198 Feb 5 '17 at 1:49
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Because people searching for flights from A to D, want to fly from A to D, they are not usually interested in flying A to B, then catching a train from B to C, then getting back on a plane from C to D simply to save a few dollars.

And since the folks willing to put up which such a convoluted route are budget travelers, off which they make very little profit, no one wants to invest in the complicated programming required.

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You ask how to make the flight search engines to include connections for which you need to travel between airports and/or from the arrival airport to your destination.

Several search engines have the option 'include nearby airports' or 'allow for ... distance' to the airport, or 'all airports in this country'. That helps with finding flights which bring you to an airport from where you can take local transport to your final destination. You need to know about that transport to effectively search for it, but a site like Rome2Rio can help you when you set it to the right search terms.

For your described travel, you will need to be creative yourself, look for options and enter stopovers to see if there are useful routes.

The only way to get better results from the search engines without having to jump though hoops is to ask the search engines to improve and tell them what you need and how you want to find it. But I do not have high hopes your connection, taking about 24 hours, with ground transport will ever be one of the results for a normal search.

Flight engines do not do ground transport, apart from a few cross city transfers which many people prefer to exclude.

It is sites for all transport, Rome2Rio being the best known, which should be able to find your route for you.
If they do not yet include it, write them, inform them of the options and ask them to adjust their searches to include them.
I do see a lot more options now than there were when I first met them. Still not all options, still not good for details but improving.

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