I was on a United flight yesterday from DCA to LAX via ORD. While we were at the gate at ORD I noticed that there was a marquee on the outside of the terminal at each gate flashing information on 2 lines like:
233 LAX D:1721
and some other stuff. Is anyone familiar with these? I'm guessing it is for ground crews to tell them which aircraft is going where and the distance (maybe for fuel purposes) and perhaps estimated weight? I asked to go up to the cockpit, but we were really full and already behind schedule because of the weather.
Nevertheless, I had a great flight to and from. On the flight to DCA, I went up and chatted with the pilots in the cockpit of the A320 for a little while. They were very accommodating. United also allows passengers to listen to all ATC traffic via the headsets. It is at the pilots discretion, and most of them don't allow it according to one flight attendent I spoke with. (Who can blame them? Who wants 180 backseat drivers listening in?) Had this both ways on the LAX-ORD leg and it was great!