Also, I really find the whole shopping-for-a-flight experience painful. What I want to do is express the constraints: (1) fly into either San Jose or San Francisco (NOT Oakland) and (2) arrive before 1pm California time
So, cheap flights that leave MSP at 7am and arrive at Oakland at 3pm in the afternoon? NOT HELPFUL. None of the airline sites let me search this way, nor does Orbitz. Orbitz is particularly painful because it shows many, many elaborations on the wrong itinerary.
Ended up on the usual Northwest direct flight even thought it was on the expensive side, just because I couldn't find another flight that fit. (The early-morning Frontier flight works but was only trivially cheaper.) This trip should push me into first Elite tier on NWA, so I will have the dubious pleasure of preboarding along with half the other passengers on my flight.