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"dead-head" Flights

Sun Feb 15, 2004 2:40 pm

Does anybody know if there is a way to check and see if airlines list these flights......To get an aircraft from 1 city to another with just the crew? I live near PHL and it seems to me that there are quite a few take-off's from about 4-5:30am, and they aren't cargo flights, most of PHL's freight arrival/departures start about 2:30-4am. I would imagine it could only be USAirways as most of the other PHL carriers have a limited number of aircraft on the ground at any given time.
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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Sun Feb 15, 2004 2:47 pm

The reposition (repo) flights are listed within the airline, Usually the only people who know about these flights are the crews, dispatchers, and the operations agents at the stations involved. I do not know of anywhere you can access the information if you do not work for the airline.
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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Sun Feb 15, 2004 2:50 pm

Deadheading is when a pilot or stew flies in the back to get to where they work. I'm assuming you're talking about reposition flights which are to get a plane where it needs to be for the flying day.
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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Sun Feb 15, 2004 2:52 pm

Some might be repo flights due to them doing MTC on the aircraft. I do not believe that there is a scheduled time for a MTC flight, most of the repo-ferry flight numbers are 9200-9800, When they are done fixing it, it goes to wherever its needed.
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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Sun Feb 15, 2004 2:55 pm

Dead-head refers to a crew traveling, not working, from one city to another. When an aircraft goes from one city to another with just crew, it's called a ferry flight. Most ferry flights are unplanned, and as a result, aren't listed in any schedule. Typically a ferry flight will take on the aircrafts' tail number as a flight number unless the aircraft is ferrying on a flight that was otherwise cancelled.

For example, I worked a flight from ORD to BOS where we were delayed over four hours due to weather. When we arrived in BOS, we were to work a return flight to ORD. But all the pax on our flight were accommodated on other flights so we simply ferried an empty aircraft back to ORD. In that case, we used the normal flight number assigned to that flight. Another time I ferried an aircraft from COS to RNO. That flight was not scheduled, and we took on our tail number as our flight number.

Ferries don't happen often since it costs a lot of money to fly an airplane empty. Usually if an airline needs to move an aircraft from one city to another, they simply sell it as a flight. For years Delta did that from OAK to RNO. The flight only operated once a day and late at night. It was simply to get the aircraft to RNO for a flight in the morning. I doubt the loads were ever anything to write home about. Likewise, I worked a flight on an AA 737 from JFK-BDL, which was normally operated by Eagle. The last flight out was a 737 as it was a "placement" flight to get the aircraft to BDA for the morning bank.
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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Sun Feb 15, 2004 2:56 pm

PHXMKE is correct, if you do not have the comapny's computer system you prob will not be able to find out what the flight number is and where its going. I know in our system if you pull the flight number for that day it will show you the upline (previous) flight number that that plane had. Ex flight 415 may have been 9204 (repo-ferry) on its previous flight, and that is what would show on our screen.
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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Sun Feb 15, 2004 3:01 pm

Just curious: does anyone have data about how many ferries are commonly operated by the majors?

Flown: A319/320/321,A332/3,A343/346, A380,AT4,AT7,B732/3/4/5/7/8/9,B742/4,B762/763,B772/77W,CR2/7/9/K,ER3/4,E70/75/90/95, F50/70/100,M11,L15,SF3,S20, AR8/1, 142/143,...
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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Sun Feb 15, 2004 3:02 pm

It all depends on MTC issues and where the planes are needed. It changes daily
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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Sun Feb 15, 2004 7:48 pm

Ferry Flights are SO GREAT!

It's like having your own personal aircraft! My favorite time was when I was trying to go MCO-ORD and all the revenue flights were oversold and there were lots of standby's with better seniority ahead of me. I was really starting to worry about not getting home to ORD in time for work the next day. Then, as if an answer to a prayer, a pilot in uniform came up to me and a few other standby's and asked if we had our badges. He said they were ferrying an empty 752 to Chicago and said we can catch a lift if we liked. It was hilarious! It felt like he was just asking if we needed a ride to the mall or something... totally matter of fact!

Great flight, there were 7 FA's that hopped on and a couple of pilots that hitched a ride. The cockpit door was open the whole flight (this was pre 9/11, though I bet they wouldn't care with just crew anyway) and a few of us FA's made the First Officer prove that he could make a pot of coffee without our help! It was so funny!

I've had many LHR friends take empty 744's from PRG to KWI for Military Charters over the past year. They all say it's the greatest to have 17 flight attendants and a couple of standby mechanics on an empty 744! One friend was telling me how they would race down the aisles on take-off in empty plastic bins (like surfing). Sounds like a blast! (you didn't hear this story from me though! ha!)  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Mon Feb 16, 2004 1:34 am

Ferry flights ARE great! Not that I'd know (I've never been in one), but a friend of mine's friend flies ERJ's and they had to ferry the plane one night.

Story goes, there was no one in the plane, and not a whole lot of fuel, so they blasted the plane off, put the nose up to I forget how many degrees (but it was HIGH), and had a ton of fun with it. At one point, the FO couldn't find his bag, but when they landed, they found it in the lav Big grin

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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Mon Feb 16, 2004 4:53 am

I lucked out one time and caught a ferry flight from MSO to PDX on a QX fokker f-28. The flight was orig sked to SEA, but it had a small maint isuue that prohibited it from accepting paying pax, however as an emp I got on. It was fun walking across the ramp with the flight crew in uniform and myself.
Once we got on the plane the f/as told me to ask the pilots if I could ride jumpseat. The crew said yes and I spent a blissful 2hrs enroute to PDX
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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:23 am

Ferry flights are great unless you are the airline operating them!!!! From my experience, ferry flights would be used for one of two reasons:

1) Positioning an aircraft for a charter service - in this case you would charge the ferry cost as part of the charter. This would be a scheduled service, but would be numbered or designated as not to show up on availability displays.

2) Something went wrong. Either an aircraft needs to be moved for maintenance reasons, or there were operational disruptions during the day that caused aircraft types to not be in the right airports for the next days first service.

On the maintenance side, I have only seen one such occasion in 13 years in the business, and that was a three-engine ferry of a B743 because the aircraft was in a port that did not have the right facilities for an engine change.

For operational reasons, I'd personally prefer to cut the shreds out of the schedule to make it work without ferrying an aircraft. Sometimes this can be harder than it sounds, and the positioing ferry becomes unavoidable.

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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:31 am

Ferry or Repositioning flights are quite rare too. Anytime a commercial aircraft takes off empty, the airline is loosing BIG money. Most schedules are set up to put the correct aircraft in the correct airport when it needs to be there.

But to answer your question, you can find them on most any flight tracker, the hard part comes when picking the correct flight number or destination airport.
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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:51 am

I have been onone repositioning flight. It was in late 1968! on Ansett Mandated Airlines in Papua New Guniea.

It came about that a new timetable was to come into effect on the Monday, but this new timetable had an aircraft overnighting at our airfield (Momote) Sunday/Monday, but the old timetable did not, so an empty DC-3 was flown Madang - Momote on the Sunday evening.

I do not know how I ended up on this particular flight but there were three pax onboard all Navy personal or family travling on warrents, I presume somebody in the RTO was tipped off by the airline.

It was a great flight in a grand old aircraft! It was bloody cold too, six bodies on an unpressised aircraft, even within 100nm of the equator!

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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Mon Feb 16, 2004 6:43 pm

Reading about ferry flights and the fun you can have reminded me of the fun I had on the BOS-ORD ferry flight I mentioned above. I sat in the cockpit during takeoff, while the other FAs lounged in F-class. We were obviously light, and it was late at night, so ATC cleared us straight form takeoff to our cruising altitude. As someone else mentioned above, our captain pointed the nose to the stars and away we went. We just rocketed up there, and we were unusually high...FL400 or 410, can't remember, but it was a blast climbing up there. Our captain hand flew the bird to our cruising altitude, and was like a little kid the entire time.

Not long after we reached our cruising altitude, one of the other FAs joined us in the cockpit and were all chatting. We were just shootin' the bull when all of a sudden the entire cockpit lit up green from a bright flash to the south of us. We all turned our heads fast to see a fading green light on the horizon. We waited to hear if anyone was going to mention it on the radio, and finally someone did. Our FO decided to chime in, giving ATC a position report and what we saw. ATC was checking into it, but we soon got instructions to change frequencies and never heard anything more about it. It was really eerie, though, kind of spooky. Every so often when I run into the crew I still mention that mysterious green light. We all decided it was probably a meteor or something which was burning up in the upper levels of the atmosphere, but it was still really weird, especially when you're up there so high, so late at night, and seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Sounds like the makings of a great Twilight Zone.
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RE: "dead-head" Flights

Mon Feb 16, 2004 7:15 pm

You can understand a ferry flight in you know the call-sing of the flight. Normally it's something as BAW9910 or something similar. With BA we make lots of ferry flight, the most popular are the LGW-LHR because the maintenance need the aircraft in LHR.
The last ferry flight that I did was a IAH-DFW.
DFW was closed due to a very hard thunderstorm and our flight aircraft diverted to IAH. After 1h DFW reopened but the incoming crew can't ferry the aircraft to DFW due to hours limits. So the decision was made: the captain left the senior FO in DFW with the FA and me and the captain we took a CO flight to IAH. We traveled on J because there aren't Y seat. Once in IAH we take our aircraft to DFW with the diverted crew O/B. I remember this flight as the most fast flight, everything was made fast, from the check-list to the taxi.

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