One of my favorite ways to look up flight information when researching the routing for a trip is by searching google. It's quick and dirty, and returns spot on results for even the most obscure airports. If you know the airport codes a simple search will pull up flight numbers, days of the week the flight departs, and departure and arrival times, as well as price. Even if you don't know the airport code you can often times even just search the city ("LAX to Rome") and the flight information will pull up as a result.
For example, if I want to know flights between Los Angeles and Rome you can just search "LAX to FCO". By clicking on the "All Flights" button I can pull up results that show all the flight, including the airline and departure and arrival time.
From here I can look over all the possibilities to figure out the best routing in terms of total travel time, layover quality, and airline quality. The date options at the top of the results are super convenient to search or toggle between days to see when the flights depart and the different flight options per day. After I find something that looks like a good option I can click the flight to view more in depth flight and routing information. Let's say I want to fly on Lufthansa on this trip.
From here I can look at the quality of the layover airport to see what kind of lounges are available and I can also look up the seat layout and quality of seats by looking up the aircraft on seatguru.com. The results can be a little quirky and sometimes the flight number will not show for the flight. If this happens after selecting the flight, you can select a return flight that makes the flight number appear for both legs of the itinerary.
After I have narrowed in on the ideal itinerary that I want I hopefully can book that exact award with miles. If I can't find the award space to book the itinerary I will go right back to searching for alternative routes or airports. By searching the city name you can pull up all of the airports within the city, for example searching "Rome" will pull up flight information for all the airports.
There are limitations to using google, but it's and incredible helpful tool when researching and booking awards.
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