Yesterday, I covered off one of the Star Alliance Map as one of the tools that I use for finding routing information. I find the tool to be my go to when I am searching for reward redemptions for Aeroplan but where it falls short is finding routes with other airline alliances and non-alliance airlines.
This is where FlightConnections.com comes in handy. In my experience, it is a very lightweight and robust system that provides you with a lot of information without much effort. Let’s take a look at how to use this powerful tool.
The first thing you might notice is that there is only one place to type anything, the “Search from Airport” field.
Here you can either search for all routes from an airport or you can look for specific routings. If you want to search for all non-stop routes from an airport, all you have to do is type in the IATA code for the airport or the name of the city. If you really want to get proficient with Travel Hacking, I would recommend that you familiarize yourself with the IATA codes for both airports and airlines as it will speed up your searches.
For a complete list of IATA codes, search the IATA website at http://www.iata.org/publications/Pages/code-search.aspx.
Let’s search for all direct flights out of Calgary (YYC).
As you can see, there are quite a few. You can use the zoom in feature to find out what cities are serviced and it works just like Google Maps so you should be familiar with the interface.
From here, we can zoom in and see which airline flies to which city directly from Calgary. I have clicked on Tokyo and see that Air Canada flies this route.
What’s more is that I can now see what days the route is flown from the result on the left hand side of the screen. Here we see the YYC-NRT route is flown every day of the week.
This information comes in handy because there are routes that do not fly on certain days. If you know that going in, you won’t make the mistake of waiting for availability to open up … because it never will. I’ve made that mistake before and trust me, you’ll kick yourself for wasting a bunch of time that would be better served searching for other route availability.
If you look at the top of the left sidebar, you will notice that you can choose how many stops your route has. This comes in handy if you can’t find non-stop availability. Here you can now search for cities that can act as a connection point so you can expand your search.
Simply click on the cities listed in the left hand side and each airline that flies that route will be shown, again with the flight schedule for each day of the week.
This is my go to tool when I just want to get a sense of routing and often times, it’s enough information for me to begin my search. The only reason I go to the Star Alliance Route Map is because FlightConnections does not allow for sorting by airline alliances, which is often key if you are looking for award availability.
A way to sort by alliances and airlines is one of the key feature I would love to see in the tool with the other being a mobile app or mobile site. As a Travel Hacking junkie, I often find myself wondering about routes when I’m nowhere near a computer. Don’t get me wrong, the site works on your mobile browser, it’s just not optimized is all.
All in all, FlightConnections is a great tool that you should have in your Travel Hacking arsenal.