JAAlbert From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1749 posts, RR: 1 Posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 6688 times:
How do airlines chose flight numbers? Is there any method to the decision or do they just choose whatever number appears available and stick with it?
It would seem to me that the most prestigious or exotic destination would get the numero uno spot -- there is a certain cache hearing the announcement (with a slight accent that you cannot place) saying "Flight One now boarding for Istanbul with connecting service to Hong Kong" (okay fiction but you get the point). Number two would be the return flight, no?
It doesn't seem the airlines do this, however. For instance UAL flights 1 and 2 are flights between IAH to HNL. So far so good, though HNL is not Istanbul or Hong Kong (I guess it once might have been). Flight 3 is between HNL and LAX. Flights 4 and 5 are IAH to LHR with a connection to New Orleans. Then Flight 6 is a 737 that flies from Guam to NRT (!?) What? Flight 7 is a 772 flying from NRT to IAH.
AA's flight 1 through 4 are flights between LAX and JFK. Entirely sensible I suppose. Flights 5-8 are between DFW and either HNL or OGG. But flight 9 is ORD - DUB then flight 10 is another LAX to JFK. (?)
It doesn't seem to make much sense. More importantly, the airlines miss an opportunity of creating a bit of mystique and adventure by marketing their flights using a consistent numbering system, especially flights 1 and 2.
Those are traditionally the most prestigious routes.
There are sometimes a few "easter egg" flight numbers too. Like US and AA flights 1776 are flight to PHL. And Jetblue 777 is a BOS-LAS flight. United flights 88 and 888 both originate in Beijing based on the Chinese tradition with the number 8.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
CXfirst From Norway, joined Jan 2007, 3297 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 6597 times:
Most airlines start with a system, but as one gets flights, there might be a need for 4 digit flight numbers, and sometimes the initial system goes out the window, or they stay with a general system with exceptions.
SQ and EK have a very clear system.
Flights 1-199 are Europe bound and return (With Flight#1 being DXB-LHR)
Flights 200-299 are Americas bound and return
Flights 300-399 are East Asia/South East Asia bound and return
Flights 400-499 are Oceania bound and return
Flights 500-599 are India and Bangladesh bound and return
Flights 600-699 are Pakistan
Flights 700-799 are Africa bound and return
Flights 800-999 are Arabian Peninsula/Iran bound and return.
SQ have a similar system
Flights 1-99 are Americas Bound (With Flight#1 being SIN-HKG-SFO)
Flights 200-299 are Oceania Bound
Flights 300-399 are Europe Bound
B738FlyUIA From Kazakhstan, joined Dec 2009, 557 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 6430 times:
Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2): Those are traditionally the most prestigious routes.
Former Swissair (SR and not LX) had them starting at 100. Flight SR100 was the ZRH-JFK flight. And like CXfirst in Reply 3 they had them in same sections. Also BA at time of the Concorde had flight BA1 that was LHR-JFK. Today it's LCY-SNN-JFK with a A318CJ and eastbound JFK-LCY as BA2.
It very well can be that they change, for example SU (Aeroflot) has on the SVO-ZRH sector 2 daily flight. They where SU265/6 and SU 375/6. Since a couple of weeks it has changed to SU2390/1 (ex SU265/6) and SU 2392/3 (ex SU375/6). Why? I can only imagine reorganization!!
For Cargo OPS it's little different. Many have 4 digit flight numbers e.g. LH Cargo, SQ Cargo, EK Cargo.. But KE Cargo has 3 & 4 digits in there Flight Numbers. If they are logical like for Pax flights I can't say really!! But guess the Pax one's are more interesting. Maybe you have noticed if you listen to ATC that the Flight Nr. and Call Sign are not always identical!
1stfl94 From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 1455 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6276 times:
Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2): Quoting JAAlbert (Thread starter):
especially flights 1 and 2.
Those are traditionally the most prestigious routes
Precisely and the nature of that can vary greatly. BA1 & 2 were traditionally Concorde then the LCY service, but BMI 1 & 2 were for LHR-GLA as it was the first route they flew from LHR, not as glamorous but prestigious in those terms.
Most airlines are relatively logical when you look at the number, although BA seem to be reorganizing the Cityflyer numbers at the moment (traditionally they were BA8xxx where Cityflyer Express flights were, but the new ABZ and IOM flights have BA3xxx numbers)
danfearn77 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2008, 1840 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6184 times:
Thomson airways has a very clear way too. They have their base number first followed by the day number, then follwed by the flight number. So 24xx is a flight from MAN on Thursday for example. And 27xx would be a MAN flight on Sunday.
Eagles may soar high, but weasels dont get sucked into jet engines!
Tupolev160 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 5800 times:
JU assigns flight numbers according to magnetical directions, example a flight going somewhere straight South would be JU180, return flight JU181.
I thought all the airlines were doing the same. SU does it as well.
Tupolev160 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5686 times:
Well as in today's airlines, some flights using the same number mustn't have the same destination. If JU was to have 3 flights a day BEG-CDG then they would be numbered as:
General magnetic direction (24X - as for runways) being the basis.
For SU i know they would "double or triple the magnetic wheel". If the 24X numbers to a given direction are full, the flight will become SU480/481. However it is rare that 2 flights have exactly the same heading. Those are the examples. Charter and codeshare flights have a different system with 4-digits numbering.
bond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5646 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 5615 times:
Quoting Tupolev160 (Reply 9): Well as in today's airlines, some flights using the same number mustn't have the same destination. If JU was to have 3 flights a day BEG-CDG then they would be numbered as:
I guess you use a different compass than I do then!
As you can see, even with the best intentions, the 'logic' usually ends up being somewhat arbitrary. It sounds all good when you start it, but you soon need a gap that doesn't exist, and have to have a 'illogical' number anyway.
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!