Booking a Flight with only a rough idea of the destination

I thought that Airlines, Airports and Travel companies have worked out how online searching and booking should work by now. After all, Services like Expedia or Travelocity or one of the many other services make it easy to search all the possible Prices quickly (although you may want to clear your cookies before searching). Travelocity even gives me the option to say that I’m flexible with dates and search for +/- 1 to 3 days.

However, my situation is a bit different. I live near Los Angeles. I come from a German city near Düsseldorf. That alone is not so special, however I refuse to fly with intermediate stops – I want a non-Stop flight. Since the train network is pretty good in the area, I can fly to a city in the area and just take the train. This should be easy, right? Show me all flights from LAX to the area near DUS, which can include cities as far away as Frankfurt/Main, Paris or Amsterdam.

No such luck though. I can pick flexible times, but not flexible destinations. Oh, no problem, a big and well connected airport like LAX surely has a website? Sure they do, and they also have an outbound schedule. So I just look up all the destinations served by the airlines and (because I do know geography) I just pick a city in the area. Sadly, their flight schedule is a form that expects me to pick a target city in order to view the schedules. That’s stupid!

Why can’t there be a big-a$@ list of ALL outbound flights from LAX? Why can’t I get a simple lists of all Airports that LAX serves? Even Wolfram Alpha couldn’t answer this seemingly simple question.

I ended up getting a lists of all big Airports and looked at train connections. To spoil the ending, Amsterdam and Frankfurt am Main seem to be good choices, with Frankfurt being more attractive because it has a better train connection.

But really, this stuff should be easier.