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Why Have A Different Flight Number And Call Sign?  
User currently offlineHighpeaklad From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 538 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 4 months 9 hours ago) and read 4909 times:

Last year I flew SFO - ORD the day before thanksgiving. I cant remember the exact flight number , I'll call it UA850. According to the UA website that flight number continued onto somewhere in south america ?Sao Paolo, but this involved a change of aircraft (747 - 767), so whats the point of having the same flight number?

Sticking to the thread title, I was listening to channel 9 while on the ground and at no point heard mention of UA850. It was only when I heard UA1515 (again I can't remember exactly) cleared for take off and our engines spooled up that I realised we had a different call sign to our flight number. What's the point of this, does it not lead to confusion with tower/ground crew communication?

Any thoughts.

Chris


Don't try to keep up with the Joneses - bring them down to your level !
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSPREE34 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 7 hours ago) and read 4830 times:

The UA850 flight may still have been operating late, or in some sort of equipment swap on the previous leg. Using UA1515 as the callsign prevents any confusion in the ATC system. Carriers will sometimes add one digit, or an alphabetic character as well.

A couple of the Ops types in here probably have some good input for this one.



I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
User currently offlinePlanesarecool From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 4121 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 6 hours ago) and read 4821 times:

This isn't really uncommon, even here in the UK.

For example, BD595 from Manchester to Heathrow would be shown as BD595 to passengers, but to ATC it would be BMA3PK. BA also do the same on their short haul (mainly domestic) flights, for example BA1407 (MAN-LHR) would be SHT2W to ATC. I have no idea why though.


User currently offlineBohica From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2700 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 4 hours ago) and read 4735 times:

UA has quite a few flight numbers which has a domestic leg and an international leg with a change of aircraft at the gateway city. Usually the domestic leg uses an 8000 series flight number with ATC to avoid any confusion with the international leg.

User currently offlineStar_world From Ireland, joined Jun 2001, 1234 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 3 hours ago) and read 4702 times:

There are two main instances of this - the first is the one mentioned by Bohica above, where the flight may be the first leg of a multi-leg route. If there is an equipment change at the international segment then very often a different callsign will be used on the domestic one - there's no guarantee that the international leg will wait for the inbound domestic leg, so it's possible that both could be in the air at the same time. I've seen this happen many times in the past with United.

The second instance is the one commonly seen in Europe, where a flight will be assigned a seemingly random callsign often consisting of letters and numbers. This is done because of the large number of airlines who have very similar flight numbers, both within their own airline and between others. For example, there could easily be BA 954, BA 994, BD 594, AF 1594, etc. all within the same airspace and it would be very easy for the flight crew on one of the flights to mis-hear a callsign. Having random numbers and letters makes each one sound more unique.


User currently offlineCarpethead From Japan, joined Aug 2004, 2954 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 3 hours ago) and read 4677 times:

Quoting Star_world (Reply 4):

Does it even have to be random? Why not use one or two digits from the flight number and the two letters on the aircraft reg that is being flown.


User currently offlineFlyingfool From Netherlands, joined May 2005, 438 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4574 times:

Quoting Planesarecool (Reply 2):
This isn't really uncommon, even here in the UK.

For example, BD595 from Manchester to Heathrow would be shown as BD595 to passengers, but to ATC it would be BMA3PK. BA also do the same on their short haul (mainly domestic) flights, for example BA1407 (MAN-LHR) would be SHT2W to ATC. I have no idea why though.

BA domestic flights as mentioned above even use a total difference "airline name" with the callsign.
Normaly the flights shown on the radar with BAW will be called with "Speedbird" and if the flight has SHT it will be called with "Shuttle"  Smile


User currently offlineDavid_itl From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 7378 posts, RR: 13
Reply 7, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4455 times:
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Quoting Star_world (Reply 4):
Having random numbers and letters makes each one sound more unique.

You'd have thought some kind of planning would ensure that...however, Air Southwest when they began their NQY-CWL-MAN service had a "clever" idea.

The existing WO307 uses WOW37M going MAN-BRS-PLH. The MAN-CWL-NQY service is WO517 and, for some peculiar reason decided to have that use the callsign of WOW57M. And of course, both services are scheduled to leave within a short space of time - 1st day of operation saw ATC mention that pilots should call WO ops about the confusion - thankfully, they now use WOW5MC for the WO517.

Quoting Planesarecool (Reply 2):
for example BA1407 (MAN-LHR) would be SHT2W to ATC. I have no idea why though.

Minor quibble - it'd be SHT3Y for BA1407 or BA1408 for SHT2W.

David


User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5235 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4350 times:

Several years ago, I was flying AA from ORD to ATL. The flight originated in PVD, but everything from PHL to BOS was running late, due to snow.

Since there were only a couple of passengers who were flying PVD-ATL, and the crew was present, AA took the next plane from PHX, scheduled to go on to DCA, and sent it to ATL.

We took off about 30 minutes before the plane from PVD was due in. From what a friend of mine who flies for AA tells me, our flight would have had the same call sign, American, but with a different flight number.

I don't remember exactly, but if the flight number were 567 or 1567, the new number would have been 8567. I know that AA flight number in the 9000s are either charters or ferry flights, whereas 8000s mean that a second or third leg of a flight is in the air at the same time as the prior leg.


User currently offlineFlyDeltaJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1881 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4347 times:
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At DL we will stubb a flight when it is running into another flight's time. This is esp true with the 112 as that is the flight number from JFK to DUB to SNN and back to JFK. That process relies on everything on time.


The only valid opinions are those based in facts
User currently offlineSuperhub From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2006, 478 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4343 times:

Quoting Highpeaklad (Thread starter):
Last year I flew SFO - ORD the day before thanksgiving. I cant remember the exact flight number , I'll call it UA850. According to the UA website that flight number continued onto somewhere in south america ?Sao Paolo, but this involved a change of aircraft (747 - 767), so whats the point of having the same flight number?

To market it as a Direct flight (as opposed to a non-stop flight). Airlines usually do this when there are no non-stop options between two cities...like SFO to Sao Paulo. People who want to fly from SFO to Sao Paulo is more likely to choose your UA850 than other airlines because it seems like everything is streamlined for them.

[Edited 2006-05-23 07:58:53]

User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21625 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4310 times:

When UA has an international flight that uses the same number as a domestic flight, and there is an aircraft change, the domestic flight will get an 81xx flight number on the ATC side of things. This is so that should the first flight of the two get delayed, they can still send out the second flight on time without having two aircraft with the same callsign in the air at the same time (obviously not good).

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineOly720man From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 6728 posts, RR: 11
Reply 12, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4262 times:

Quoting Highpeaklad (Thread starter):
Last year I flew SFO - ORD the day before thanksgiving. I cant remember the exact flight number , I'll call it UA850. According to the UA website that flight number continued onto somewhere in south america ?Sao Paolo, but this involved a change of aircraft (747 - 767), so whats the point of having the same flight number?

US Airways have US196/197 as LAX-PHL-MAN-PHL-LAX with A320/A321 on the domestic leg and A333 across the water. It used to be a MCO-PHL-MAN service.

Why the same flight number? Why not? Though having said that, how are route licences defined? I presume a flight number covering a number of stages does not constitute a route licence for the whole route, so US can't say, for example, that it flies LAX-MAN because there's an en-route change of aircraft.
I can imagine it annoys PAX that you have to change planes en route even thought the number's the same.



wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
User currently offlineRobK From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2004, 3947 posts, RR: 18
Reply 13, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4261 times:

Quoting Carpethead (Reply 5):
Does it even have to be random? Why not use one or two digits from the flight number and the two letters on the aircraft reg that is being flown.

The reg can't be used for part of the trip number because most scheduled airlines file repeat flight plans based on the same ARCID (aircraft identity). If reg's were part of the callsign then this would not be possible as the callsign would be different each time a different aircraft was used.

For many airlines where there's a chance of two of the same flight being in the air at the same time, the suffix 'A' is often used. Northwest seem to use 'N' for reasons not known to me, ie. NWA53N.

R


User currently offlineHPLASOps From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4252 times:

Quoting Oly720man (Reply 12):
US Airways have US196/197 as LAX-PHL-MAN-PHL-LAX with A320/A321 on the domestic leg and A333 across the water. It used to be a MCO-PHL-MAN service.

Same thing is true with US 98 LAS-PHL-LGW. LAS-PHL is with a 757 and PHL-LGW is with an A330.


User currently offlineLVTMB From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 391 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 4151 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 11):
When UA has an international flight that uses the same number as a domestic flight, and there is an aircraft change, the domestic flight will get an 81xx flight number on the ATC side of things. This is so that should the first flight of the two get delayed, they can still send out the second flight on time without having two aircraft with the same callsign in the air at the same time (obviously not good

True. The only airline I know has this practice is UA. And just as stated above, they only do it with flights that have domestic and international legs. You will not see it on purely domestic flights.

MB


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