# Help me not die of boredomOctober 2, 2007 3:28 AM   Subscribe

Is there a resource that shows permutations of flights to/from a set of cities?

Employees in the company I work for often send employees two/from four different cities, often arranging flights in which an employee will visit offices in multiple cities within the same day.

Recently my boss asked for a list of all permutations of flights to/from those cities. Short of doing the work manually (which would take days!) is there any resource out there? Please say yes.

Thanks!

The cities in question are:
Amsterdam
Milan
Edinburgh
posted by mateuslee to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Best answer: I'm not sure it's exactly what you're after but amadeus.net lists all possible flights between 2 destinations - it often comes up with possibilities you don't see on kayak / expedia etc

Or if you're only looking at low-cost then you could look at whichbudget.
posted by jontyjago at 3:49 AM on October 2, 2007 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The other, more costly way, is to get a subcription to OAG. It doesn't price out fares for you, but is the definative guide for flights.
posted by smcniven at 4:26 AM on October 2, 2007

Hahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahaaahhahahahahhahahahhaha.

This is (similar to) a classic Math/Computer Science problem called the Traveling Salesman Problem.

(In the second link, your cost function is probably time, not distance, after you've eliminated pairs of (arriving, departing) flights that arrive too late / depart too early to allow the employee to get the work done.)

I laugh, because, usually it's a hypothetical; it's funny seeing it presented as a real problem.

Short answer: no, there is no general and efficient way to do this. It's brute force all the way. If you find an efficient general solution (you won't) you'll have solved an entire class of "hard" problems in mathematics.

This is not to say you have to do it manually; you could input the actual flight data into a (brute force) solving program. One could do this in a database, with SQL. But there's no elegant way to do this; you basically have to enumerate all possible routes, to find the cheapeast/beat route.
posted by orthogonality at 4:31 AM on October 2, 2007

Best answer: ITA Software's Trip Planner was mentioned in a Wired article as the tool of choice for mileage runners. It has a "Route Language" that supports (very) advanced queries.
posted by djb at 9:29 AM on October 2, 2007

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