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A Flight Number With A Letter  
User currently offlineHangarRat From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 633 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5211 times:

I tried using flightaware to track my dad's flight from LHR to PHL today, as I was picking him up at the airport. I knew the flight number was BA69, but flightaware brought up something from June last year where the plane apparently made a tech stop at BOS.

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/BAW69

It wasn't until I used the look-up-flight-number feature that I found it as BA69V.

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/BAW69V

What's up with the "V"? Is that a flightaware thing, or does it signify something else. I've never seen letters appended onto flight numbers before.


Spell check is a false dog
24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAcey From Canada, joined Jun 2007, 1051 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5202 times:

Happens if the second leg of a flight leaves before the first so they'll append a letter so that there aren't two flights in the system with the same number. However, overseas it's done all the time... like BA's flight from YYZ is always BAW5CA... I'm not sure why. To entirely eliminate the possibilty of similar sounding callsigns is my guess.


If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
User currently offlinePianos101 From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 365 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5186 times:

If you look at BA's other flights (on flightaware) you'll see many of them have flight numbers with letters. Sometimes when two flights in the same area have the same number i think atc might append/change them. Probably another reason but that's what i got....

you beat me to it Acey...

[Edited 2008-02-04 20:18:42]

User currently offlineQANTAS747-438 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1984 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5175 times:

WN will do that too but issue a 9000 flt number in its place. Today, we had flt 3684 PHX-LAX-RNO which swapped out in LAX. Since the LAX-RNO portion left before the PHX-LAX flt landed, they made the LAX-RNO flight flt 9015 so that there wouldn't be two "3684's" in the air at once.


My posts/replies are strictly my opinion and not that of any company, organization, or Southwest Airlines.
User currently offlineWagz From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 517 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5111 times:
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No idea why BA does this, but BA69 has filed as BAW69V everyday for a few years now. I've checked their schedules and there is no other leg using the BA69 flight number.

In any event it is kind of cool hearing them check in as "Speedbird 69 Victor Heavy" every night.



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User currently offlineB777ER From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 548 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5100 times:

I researched this one day and from what I could find, there was a study done in either the UK or via the EU that stated many missed radio calls or the wrong aircraft answering would be alleiviated by adding a letter into the radio callsign. I may be wrong but I think this is why you see many EU flights with a letter mixed in with the number.

User currently offlineCloudyapple From Hong Kong, joined Jul 2005, 2454 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5087 times:

This is for the simple reason of avoiding callsign confusion on R/T. When you have Speedbird 69 and then Speedbird 699 or Speedbird 669 in the same vicinity at similar times, there is a danger one flight might pick up transmissions for another. The suffix letters reduce this possibility.


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User currently offlineFlyboy2001 From Canada, joined May 2005, 186 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 5009 times:



Quoting Cloudyapple (Reply 6):
This is for the simple reason of avoiding callsign confusion on R/T. When you have Speedbird 69 and then Speedbird 699 or Speedbird 669 in the same vicinity at similar times, there is a danger one flight might pick up transmissions for another. The suffix letters reduce this possibility.

That makes complete sense but, in the summer, BA87 (LHR/YVR) calls in as "Speedbird three-victor-alpha". No use of the actual flight number and TWO letters! I actually heard the tower controller ask why they were using that callsign but my scanner is a piece of junk and I missed the response. I'm hoping some BA flight crew or dispatch or someone will know why this is done!



And you... Revolution, or just resistance?
User currently offlineAcey From Canada, joined Jun 2007, 1051 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 4990 times:



Quoting Flyboy2001 (Reply 7):
"Speedbird three-victor-alpha"

Likewise with five-charlie-alpha out of YYZ. It does sound kind of cool though. Redundant? Probably.



If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
User currently offlineWILCO737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 9118 posts, RR: 76
Reply 9, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 4989 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

Lufthansa is using most of the times just callsigns with numbers and letters. So that you cannot identify the original flight number anymore!
Something like:

LH 3RJ or LH 4AL or LH 1J, or LH C2J etc etc....

WILCO737 (MD11F)
 airplane 



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlineLHR777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 4928 times:

Out of JFK, BA does this a lot - there are several flight numbers that are quite similar. For example, 'Speedbird two three Foxtrot' is BA112, the 1825hrs departure.

This avoids confusion with AA112 MIA-LHR, AI112 JFK-LHR, VS112 BOS-LHR, DL112 JFK-DUB, US112 FLL-PIT, CO112 EWR-BQN, FDX112 MEM-YYZ etc.

You get the idea......


User currently offlineHangarRat From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 633 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4763 times:



Quoting Wagz (Reply 4):
There is no other leg using the BA69 flight number



Quoting Cloudyapple (Reply 6):
When you have Speedbird 69 and then Speedbird 699 or Speedbird 669 in the same vicinity at similar times, there is a danger one flight might pick up transmissions for another.

The only other BA flights in from PHL are BA67 (LHR-bound 777), BA68 (LHR-bound 767), BA68 (inbound 777) and 69 (the inbound 767). I know JFK, BOS and IAD have BA flights. Why add a letter to just one of those flight numbers.



Spell check is a false dog
User currently offlineCloudyapple From Hong Kong, joined Jul 2005, 2454 posts, RR: 10
Reply 12, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4667 times:



Quoting Flyboy2001 (Reply 7):
That makes complete sense but, in the summer, BA87 (LHR/YVR) calls in as "Speedbird three-victor-alpha". No use of the actual flight number and TWO letters! I actually heard the tower controller ask why they were using that callsign but my scanner is a piece of junk and I missed the response. I'm hoping some BA flight crew or dispatch or someone will know why this is done!

The ICAO callsign of a flight does not necessarily need to bear any relation to the IATA flight number. In fact most IFR GAs don't even have flight numbers. Their callsigns are usually the reg of the aircraft or any old rubbish the pilot comes up with. So BA can put anything they want after Speedbird as long as it's 10char or fewer.

As for asking the pilot about the callsign, it's not necessary at all for the controller to know the IATA flight number because we simply dont care. If they file BAW3VA on the flight plan that's what's on our strips and exactly what we will use to contact the flight. I'm sure the controller at Philadelphia tower was only curious when he posed the question. We have a list of the ICAO callsign/IATA flight number mapping for all BA flights but it's not public document.



A310/A319/20/21/A332/3/A343/6/A388/B732/5/7/8/B742/S/4/B752/B763/B772/3/W/E145/J41/MD11/83/90
User currently offlineTAN FLYR From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1920 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4642 times:

AA does this also ,particularly from DFW (also ORD) when one segment departs before the original arrives. This seems to happen more with the later banks when flights from the east coast are more apt to be delayed.

User currently offlineADXMatt From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 954 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4642 times:

The callsign is very important when flying over certain countries. The overflight permit usually has the flight number on it and can be refused entry if it doesn't match the permit.

At CO we have to add a "D" to the flight number if it is running late and into the next Zulu day. The D stands for Delayed. We then add the original zulu date into the ICAO filing.

It is interesting how BA files their flight numbers. It must be a nightmare for the flight follower converting all the flight numbers.


User currently offlineMats From Israel, joined Jul 2003, 637 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4599 times:

The letters can also be used for change-of-gauge flights.
Although a sad subject, I know that this was the case with Pan Am 103.

Pan Am 103A was the 727-200 that flew from Frankfurt to London/Heathrow
Pan Am 103B was the 747 that departed from London


User currently offlineBlueFlyer From Northern Mariana Islands, joined Jan 2006, 4190 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4562 times:
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Outside the US, charter airlines will sometimes use a letter to differentiate the inbound and outbound legs of a trip that has the same flight number to and fro or to differentiate distinct legs of a multi-stop flight.

Also, and again, outside the US, P and F are sometimes used to designate positioning/ferry flights.



I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineUnited_Fan From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 7545 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4544 times:

We seem to get Wisonson 910Alpha alot,here in ROC...


'Empathy was yesterday...Today, you're wasting my Mother-F'ing time' - Heat.
User currently offlineTyphaerion From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 619 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 4487 times:
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We do the same thing here at TZ. If a flight is broken and there is and equipment swap we will append and A to the flight number You will often see this with the Hawaii runs as there is little room to reprotect passengers so a flight will be delayed as long as necessary. Sometimes this causes it to be concurrent with later flight of the same number.


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User currently offlineTheginge From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 1136 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 4464 times:

When BA get the overflight clearences I am sure that they file for them with the Alpha Numerics. Not too much of a problem for flights to the states but it is not so easy when dealing with Africa or Russia as they will often start bleating if the aircraft comes across with a different callsign to the one on the overflight permit!!

User currently offlineEXTspotter From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 992 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 4421 times:

FR does it all the time. There is a list of all the flightnumbers and callsign numbers on the internet somewhere. Because they use pretty much all their 9999 flight numbers, letters are swapped in on some of them to stop any radio problems from happening.


AF BE BY FR MV PD SZ U2 VZ DHC6, 8-3/4Q, 732/8, 763ER, A319, A380
User currently offlineAJO From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 577 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 4402 times:



Quoting BlueFlyer (Reply 16):
Outside the US, charter airlines will sometimes use a letter to differentiate the inbound and outbound legs of a trip that has the same flight number to and fro or to differentiate distinct legs of a multi-stop flight.

Yep, I see this a lot in the UK. For example, MYT200K outbound, and MYT200L inbound.

Also, some airlines use flight numbers ending on "P" to designate positioning flights (e.g. UAL100P; not sure if UA is one of those airlines though).



bla
User currently offlineStar_world From Ireland, joined Jun 2001, 1234 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 4291 times:



Quoting HangarRat (Reply 11):
The only other BA flights in from PHL are BA67 (LHR-bound 777), BA68 (LHR-bound 767), BA68 (inbound 777) and 69 (the inbound 767). I know JFK, BOS and IAD have BA flights. Why add a letter to just one of those flight numbers.

I think you'll find that at the other end of all those flights BA have a few more aircraft that they could get mixed up with  Smile


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23308 posts, RR: 20
Reply 23, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 4285 times:

The flip-side here is that some carriers will file multiple flight plans under the same flight number. So, for example, MQ files flights 3459 (DFW-VPS) and 4459 (ORD-JAX) as EGF459. The two are even sometimes in the air simultaneously (nowhere near each other, of course).


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User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 26021 posts, RR: 22
Reply 24, posted (6 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 4254 times:



Quoting B777ER (Reply 5):
I researched this one day and from what I could find, there was a study done in either the UK or via the EU that stated many missed radio calls or the wrong aircraft answering would be alleiviated by adding a letter into the radio callsign. I may be wrong but I think this is why you see many EU flights with a letter mixed in with the number.



Quoting Cloudyapple (Reply 12):
The ICAO callsign of a flight does not necessarily need to bear any relation to the IATA flight number.

As far as I know IATA has no involvement with airline flight numbers used for reservations/ticketing purposes. That's strictly up to the airline. IATA is only involved in assigning the 2-letter (or alpha-numberic) airline code.


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