If you fly 100,000 miles a year or more, you’ve probably been through more than your fair share of airlines and airports. And chances are, you’ve developed your own quirky preferences. Perhaps you like the lounge in Chicago, or the flight attendants in Minneapolis. Maybe you’re trying to qualify for frequent-flyer status on your favorite airline, and you’d be willing to fly a circuitous route on your next trip to do it.
Whatever your motivation, it’s always been a pain to find only those flights that match your specific preferences. And even if you could find them on some website, online travel agencies and airline websites were often unable to ticket them.
So we decided to take the agony out of this process: we now let you specify the specific routing or flights that you want to take. Beware: this is nerdy stuff!
When you’re on the Hipmunk homepage, enter an airport code followed by two colons to specify the routing from that airport to the next destination on your trip. You’ll see documentation appear right below the text field.
Let’s say you want to take a flight from San Francisco to Miami, connecting in either Denver or Detroit so you can meet up with family for a quick hello. You’d just type SFO::DEN,DTW in the first field and MIA in the second. Then, when you run your search, you’ll see only flight options that fit that routing. And as always, you can click the buttons on the right side of the screen to show flights with longer-than-necessary layovers.
Now let’s say you have to fly from Los Angeles to Montreal and back. You know there’s a non-stop available, but in the interest of collecting frequent flyer miles, you decide you’d prefer to take a 4-flight trip on Air Canada outbound, and a 3-flight trip on Air Canada on the return trip. Easy: just type LAX::AC AC AC AC (to specify “4 Air Canada flights”) in the first field, and YUL::AC AC AC (to specify “3 Air Canada flights”) in the second field. You’ll end up with results like this.
Finally, let’s say you know exactly what flights you want to take to get from one place to another—right down to the flight numbers. Then you can specify the flight numbers directly in the fields: for example, HNL::AS860 AS456 in the first field, LAX the second. You’ll get only those flights in your results.
Note that this feature is still in beta, and some routings on some airlines may not return many (or any) results. Let us know what you’d like to see, and we’ll do our best!