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Why Do Airlines Change Flight Numbers?  
User currently offlineSyrAlex From United States of America, joined Oct 2010, 32 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 9170 times:

Hey all,

I'm just curious as to why airlines change flight numbers. I know airlines change the flight number after a major incident, but that is all I know. My example involves the DL mainline flights here in SYR. When Delta started mainline back up here in Syracuse, the flight was an arrival at night around 10:30 as DAL1225 while the departure in the morning was DAL1226. When DL added a second mainline flight April 1, the night time arrival turned into DAL851 while the morning departure remained DAL1226. The new late afternoon arrival was DAL990 while the departure was the same number. Well, DL just changed the flight numbers again. Now, the late afternoon arrival is DAL2281 and the departure is DAL1249. The over night arrival has now been changed to DAL853 and the morning departure is DAL855. All flights remain MD88's as well. Does anyone know why they change the flight numbers so much? I'm just curious.

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinetimf From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 969 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 9096 times:
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I've noticed Delta has been changing around their flight numbers quite a bit lately. They appear to be preparing to reduce the range of mainline flight numbers from 1-2999 to 1-2499, giving them more numbers for Connection and codeshare flights. This has resulted in the shuffling of a lot of flight numbers, the reintroduction of 800 and 900 range numbers, and many instances of the same number being used on round-trips. Prior to this, the flight numbers had been pretty consistent for the past year.

User currently offlineisitsafenow From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4984 posts, RR: 23
Reply 2, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 9051 times:

Here's one reason carriers change numbers but not the only reason.
In the 90's the government requested that USA carriers post percentage of on time arrivals/departures in the travel agencys computers next to the flight number. We had Sabre at the time. If the carrier had a high number of delays on the flight, like 50% or 60% ontime, the next month they changed the number.....cities, times and equipment were usually not changed, just the number. When you would look up the 7am to ORD it would now say "New Flight...no info or no history".
When the almost savy pax asked the agency is that one usually on time, the reply was we don't know, its a new flight.

ddduuuhhhhh. What else could we say? You and I both know if we explained it, we would confuse the hell out the poor pax.
NW was heavy in Michigan as you knew, and a handful of their flights changed numbers every month. Same for UAEX into MBS or LAN.
safe



If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
User currently offlinejosekmlb From United States of America, joined May 2008, 493 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 8469 times:

Delta almost always changes flight numbers every month on their mainline.

User currently offlinepilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3150 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8196 times:

They also change with mergers/aquisitions mainly due to codeshare conflicts. In my tenure at my current airline we've seen the Delta Connection flights change from 64xx numbers to 59xx numbers and just recently UAX numbers changed from 75xx-78xx to 34xx-35xx. Pain in the butt when you, ATC and everybody else is used to the old numbers.


DMI
User currently offlineCWAFlyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 669 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 8119 times:

Quoting pilotpip (Reply 4):
They also change with mergers/aquisitions mainly due to codeshare conflicts. In my tenure at my current airline we've seen the Delta Connection flights change from 64xx numbers to 59xx numbers and just recently UAX numbers changed from 75xx-78xx to 34xx-35xx. Pain in the butt when you, ATC and everybody else is used to the old numbers.

A lot of that is the constant shell game that goes on with the Connection/Express carriers each time the schedule changes. Mesaba might run a flight from SLC to MCI for example and the next time the schedule changes, SkyWest does it.


User currently offlineunited319 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 523 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 8011 times:
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I heard somewhere that a large number of the flight number changes are due to ATC issues. I don't think you are allowed to have two of the same flight number in the same area at the same time to avoid miscommunications between ATC and the aircraft they are giving instructions to.


It's Time To Fly
User currently offlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4200 posts, RR: 37
Reply 7, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 8008 times:

Quoting timf (Reply 1):
I've noticed Delta has been changing around their flight numbers quite a bit lately. They appear to be preparing to reduce the range of mainline flight numbers from 1-2999 to 1-2499, giving them more numbers for Connection and codeshare flights. This has resulted in the shuffling of a lot of flight numbers, the reintroduction of 800 and 900 range numbers, and many instances of the same number being used on round-trips. Prior to this, the flight numbers had been pretty consistent for the past year.

Ah, more outsourcing. Why grow when you can outsource? I hope we aren't out of business before mgmt realizes that outsourcing to the extent we do it (50% of domestic departures) is a huge bleed of money. They have the MBA's though (yikes).


Anyways, the flight numbers have been in constant flux over here at jumbo Delta due to the merger. They are still figuring out what they want to do with the marketing stuff- no airline has had operations this big and they are continually tweaking the game plane.

Lately, instead of flight numbers carrying through hubs, they have had "out and backs" for airplanes keeping the same flight number. Not sure if I like it... but that's what they are doing. No one asked me.  



Chicks dig winglets.
User currently offlinegoblin211 From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 1209 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 7941 times:

What about the regionals?


From the airport with love
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