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Flight Numbering  
User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5099 posts, RR: 13
Posted (16 years 3 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1604 times:

The question is.....do all airlines use a different system of numbering their flights or are they all kind of on the same type of system. I have noticed on more than one airline that real low number flights are usually international or longer range - the higher the number the shorter???

Like NW has flights like 65, (or two digit #) which go from DTW to places in Japan or Amsterdam.....while 4-digit # are many times Dc9 flights of fairly short distance (MEM-ATL, MEM-GPT, etc), and 3-digit (like flights# 535, 995, etc) are medium-length like DTW-MIA

Didn't United have a flight #1 which was super long - like LAX to Australia or somewhere like that? And Delta uses # 3000 and up I think for their commuter flights which are usually short.

Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
6 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineRyaneverest From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (16 years 3 months 21 hours ago) and read 1510 times:

For your reference, UA1 is San Francisco-Hong Kong- somewhere in SE Asia. This somewhere has been Delhi, Bangkok, and now (I think) probably it's Singapore. (Or is it the other way round: somewhere-Hong Kong-San Francisco?)

I don't believe those airlines have the same system. Like Cathay Pacific, they haven't got CX1. Instead, any number lower than 100 are cargo flights. However, I think there's a trend that everybody's gonna follow: lower flight numbers, more popular routes.

For 4-digit flights, they're either charter, special, ferry, or non-scheduled additional flights, e.g. AF46xx for round-the-world Concorde flights by Air France, AN480x for Ansett's ferry flights of 747-400s when they were delivered some months ago, etc. etc. And cargo flights might take the 4-digit code as well, such as 5X699x for UPS flights, BA357x for its World Cargo flights and so on.

User currently offlineDLMD-11 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (16 years 3 months 21 hours ago) and read 1509 times:

For Delta, the following applies;

The lowest numbered flight is the Atlanta - London flight - the airline's flagship route. This is Delta 10. (DL10)

With the exception of DL16/17 ATL-DFW-HNL & return and DL53/54 ATL-HNL & return, flights from DL10 to DL149 are international flights. All the flights including HNL flights in this range are long-range, important routes.

Lower numbered DL150-DL2300 are the more important domestic routes.

Flights numbered DL2300-2600 are Delta Express.

Flights DL2600-3000 are Worldwide Partner flights operated by airlines such as Swissair, but not Air France.

Flights DL3600-4000 are SkyWest Airlines (Delta Connection) with 4000s being Atlantic Southeast, and the 5000s being Comair flights. DL6100 - DL6300 are TransStates and DL7600-DL8000 are BusinessExpress Airlines.

Right in the middle of those, DL7000-DL7100 are South African Airways operated flights, with DL7000 being the flight from ATL-JNB via CPT.

DL8000s are Worldwide Partner flights opearted specifically by Air France or one of their affiliated carriers.

DL9000s are ferry flights, crew training flights or other unscheduled flights.

Hope this helps!


User currently offlineHmmmm... From Canada, joined May 1999, 2114 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (16 years 3 months 19 hours ago) and read 1506 times:

Without researching this topic, recent disasters and their infamous flight numbers indicate that long-haul flights can be both lower and higher numbers. Some airlines have 100-series flights, or less, on intercontinental routes, witness Pan Am 103, Swissair 111, Air India 183, KAL 007. But Air Canada and TWA, for instance, have 800-series flights to Europe. Their not immune to disaster either, witness TWA 800 to Paris. As a rule, 4-digit flights are communter hops, or code-share flights. But, yes, I'd say that overall, low flight numbers like 001 are reserved for flagship routes, such as Air France flight 001 New York-Paris on Concorde.


An optimist robs himself of the joy of being pleasantly surprised
User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5099 posts, RR: 13
Reply 4, posted (16 years 3 months 14 hours ago) and read 1484 times:

So it seems they save the lower numbers for more popular and important routes......maybe because its easier for a customer to remember a lower number???

what kind of system does AirTran & SW use since they have no international routes?

Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 31
Reply 5, posted (16 years 3 months 14 hours ago) and read 1482 times:

A general rule of thumb in the US is that even numbered flights usually run eastbound or southbound, with odd numbers flying westbound or northbound.

This method is not as prevalent today as it was in years past, but there are some airlines that try and stick to it.

Tom in NO (at MSY)

"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
User currently offlineN949WP From Hong Kong, joined Feb 2000, 1437 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (16 years 3 months 7 hours ago) and read 1466 times:

Referring to an earlier reply, UA1 & 2 currently operates between JFK, LAX and HKG. The segment between HKG and BKK has been dropped since mid-February. On the other hand, HKG-SIN is once again being operated, as a continuation of UA 805 from SFO.

For Cathay, their flights numbers are sorted by geographic regions. The 100-series flights to Australia/NZ; the 200-series to Europe; the 300-series to Istanbul; 400-series to Taiwan/Korea; 500-series to Taiwan/Japan; 700-series to SE Asia, India, Middle East, and also Johannesburg; 800-series to N. America; 900-series to the Philippines. Charters, code-shares, maintainence, ferry and training flights have a variety of four-digit numbers.

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