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This is not the same as what is the most advanced flight search engine besides Azuon and Matrix? but I would hope an engine "advanced" enough for that one would satisfy this one as well.

The scenario is that one is near XXX and wants to be near YYY by date Z but has no plans for the time in between.

There are search engines that allow an origin and/or destination to be a huge list of places, and one that even allows the word "anywhere."

But as far as I can tell, Kayak, Adioso, Momondo, Skyscanner, & Azuon do not allow "anywhere" as the middle of a multi-city flight. Matrix allows a list, but can't handle very big lists and doesn't have low-cost airlines.

I understand the arguments about computational complexity, but I spent several years doing complex queries on huge databases and it's not as bad as some questions here make it sound.

Currently, one approach I've figured out is to do two searches with Azuon, put both result sets into a database and then join the table to itself. That is not entirely satisfactory, because (for example) it won't find options like XXX to DFW then DAL to YYY.

Another is to manually (and tediously) look for matches in the two searches.

And I had forgotten about this method. But even that won't find everything.

Some engines will find stopovers but won't find very many, and won't show long ones.

I suspect I could do it with one of the expensive tools from OAG, but apparently they found some reason to not honor their offer of a free trial.

  • Azuon's performance is suspect. I've seen it say that there are NO flights from anywhere in USA to anywhere in Europe in a one-month time period. Today I asked for "LAS, DEN, FSM, FWA, DFW, XNA" to central or south America or Canada, over an eight-day period, and it gave me ONLY Southwest to SJU. – WGroleau Jul 13 '17 at 16:16
  • If I was doing this, I'd probably use flightconnections.com to figure out what cities ZZZ can serve as one-stop connections between XXX and YYY, pick a few that sounded interesting, and see what the fares were on two separate tickets XXX–ZZZ and ZZZ–YYY. This doesn't cover all of your desiderata, though: this method wouldn't reveal the DFW/DAL case, and finding the cheapest fares among all the ZZZ's would be difficult. – Michael Seifert Jul 13 '17 at 16:38
  • @MichaelSeifert: That's an improvement over my workaround, as it reduces the size of the two result sets. Although I failed to make it clear that XXX and YYY also aren't single airports, because the time period covered is usually more than a week, and I can bicycle 300-400 kilometers in a week. – WGroleau Jul 13 '17 at 16:44
  • The problem with stopovers in a fare component is that you may invoke the Higher Intermediate Point rule. This rule says that you have to check that, if you had constructed your itinerary as two separate components with a fare break point at the stopover, this construction would not be more expensive than your through-fare with a stopover. (This is done recursively if there are several stopovers.) If it is, you have to raise the price of your through-fare component to match the more expensive construction. This is something a lot of pricing engines struggle to get right. – Calchas Jul 13 '17 at 22:16
  • Ah, but the point is to find the options and look at the prices, not to just assume a particular one is cheapest. – WGroleau Jul 13 '17 at 23:03
2

Try JetPuzzle extension for Chrome. It really does well.

You can try to put any two points and it will list you a huge amount of options including those with literally "anywhere" legs. And making things even smoother, it proposes you variants with arbitrary number of stopovers.

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  • Hmmm. I don't like Chrome, but this is worth a try... – WGroleau Jul 13 '17 at 18:44
  • I don't think this quite fits what the OP wants because it appears as if they want to stay longer than a typical layover at the intermediate city. – Erik Jul 13 '17 at 21:46
  • 1
    Actually, I tried it, and was extremely unimpressed. I don't consider four a "huge amount" but that's all I got in each try. And all of them were quite expensive. One of them had me landing in Montreal and taking off from Boston about thirty hours later. But at least it did show some interesting routes. – WGroleau Jul 13 '17 at 23:07
  • It's all depends on destination, season, etc., and with this tool I picked really interesting bargains before. All in all, I don't think you have plenty of choice with your requirements. – Suncatcher Jul 14 '17 at 3:41
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Simply look for the full trip on any site ie. with your preferred starting and end points. The results will give you a clue of the paths flight companies take to reach your destination and therefore what cities will be feasible as stopovers.

Once you see something you like, then use a multi-city booking to include that city, with a day or so in between departures. If it's all with the same airline with daily flights, your costs will be roughly the same as the single flight.

  • Doesn't meet the goal. YYZ-KEF-BRU is a reasonable price, but what if YYZ-MÉX and MEX-BRU were. Also low enough bought separately? That's just an example, but the point is that with the time-intensive method I mentioned, I have more than once found fun routes that would never show up in any search engine I'm aware of. – WGroleau Jul 17 '17 at 3:39

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