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Does ITA system really work?

Poulton Le Fylde...
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for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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Does ITA system really work?

I've been waiting for return fares for April 2nd, 3rd or 4th 2015 to be released from Phuket to Manchester with Qatar, Etihad and Emirates, departing Manchester on November 20th 2014. ITA Matrix best prices for those dates with best connection times are Qatar £528, Etihad £525 and Emirates £2367 (yes for Economy!!!). I want to book Qatar as it suits our requirements best. However, price on Qatar website and confirmed by Qatar Reservations bu phone is £624 + £25 if I book by phone. When I informed them about the ITA price they claimed never to have heard of ITA and that no such fare is available. Going to go to a local travel agent later with copy of the details to see what they come up with but has anyone ever achieved what ITA claims as best price doing it their way?

San Diego
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for San Diego
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1. Re: Does ITA system really work?

Hi,

The folks at the airline probably have not heard of ITA matrix and that is not surprising.

They need the detailed flight and price code info on the web site to find the price you are seeking. IF they cannot find it on their computer with the price code info you provide then it is possible there is an error on the web site. After all these are prices for a whole year out and so that is quite early to know routes/prices accurately.(IMO)

The final judge of what price is offered is of course the airline from which you are buying.

Nashville, TN
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2. Re: Does ITA system really work?

ITA is the closest system you will find to a GDS without actually having access to a GDS system. In order to find the fare that is listed , the vendor must have the exact fare code available as what is found by ITA. For example a quick search for R/T flights found the lowest fares to be at fare codes NHWD1NA for the ORD/CDG leg and NHXD1NA for the return. These fare breakdowns can be found in the block titled, How to buy these tickets.

Unfortunately, these fares do sell out and pop in and out of the system as people are researching. Is the system for real? Yes it is. Is it always right? No it's not. However, it does give you a very good starting point and that's what you need when doing the research.

Edited: 02 May 2014, 14:53
Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
Level Contributor
41,311 posts
97 reviews
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3. Re: Does ITA system really work?

Just been into local travel agent who had never heard of ITA Matrix nor had their suppliers and their best quote was £880 and couldn't get anything for Qatar. What surprises/worries me is that I specifically phoned Qatar to ask whether the April schedules and prices had been released yet as I thought that could be the explanation. I was assured that the prices were live (at £624) and offered to book me at that price. The travel agent is going to keep on trying for me next week and I will keep on checking with ITA and Qatar.

San Diego
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for San Diego
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4. Re: Does ITA system really work?

Again it is not surprising that the travel agent doesn't know about the ITA web site.

They don't use it. It is just the fare code they need. . IF the agent cannot find the fare code then it is not live on this date. It is logical that the Qatar agent can find a fare better/sooner than some random travel agent as it is their airline.

Poulton Le Fylde...
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for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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5. Re: Does ITA system really work?

So if the airline agent cannot find it, it doesn't exist?

Houston, Texas
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for Solo Travel
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6. Re: Does ITA system really work?

A couple times I've opened a ticket on ITA - I think there is a contact us feature. They strive to make sure their system reflects available airfares, so they do want to fix the glitches or errant data.

Nashville, TN
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10 reviews
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7. Re: Does ITA system really work?

"So if the airline agent cannot find it, it doesn't exist?"

No, it existed when you were checking ITA for the dates/flights, etc you requested. However, it may have been last seat availability, not enough seats for all passengers, or any number of reasons it can not be found. Remember, when you search ITA, it's like searching a GDS and you need to request the number of seats needed for your party. You can not search for one seat on ITA and then expect the airline to come up with 4 seats. To get the correct booking code, you must use the same criteria you intend to use when you book your flights. Also, it helps to call the airline as soon as possible after you find your preferred fare. As noted previously, fares do sell out.

Poulton Le Fylde...
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for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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8. Re: Does ITA system really work?

The seats that I saw and contacted Qatar about are still shown as available on ITA at the same price but are not and never have been on Qatar website as I have been tracking them daily and during every day for the past two weeks. I'm perfectly aware that flights sell out that is why I have been monitoring both sites. I think it is more probable as Riff M has suggested that I am too early rather than too late. I have since contacted Qatar again and quoted the flight codes exactly as per ITA search result and they maintain that they do not exist nor have existed at that price. I have also checked with Etihad about the disparity in their prices with ITA and they too say that the flights on ITA just do not exist at the lower prices.

My daily checking will continue.

Nashville, TN
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9. Re: Does ITA system really work?

I'm finding flights on the QATAR website for 536.04 GBP. R/T. However, you will need to depart MAN a day or 2 earlier to get that fare. It's a promotional fare and probably will sell out fast.

Paris, France
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10. Re: Does ITA system really work?

Last year I had to book through Travelocity to get a fare that I found on ITA. It was a combination of flights on Delta/Air France. Neither airline website was able to produce the same fare, but Travelocity was.

I normally don't like using third-parties, but it was worth it to save $200 on flights.