SyrAlex
Topic Author
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:53 am

Why Do Airlines Change Flight Numbers?

Sun May 01, 2011 8:12 pm

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.
 
timf
Posts: 430
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2003 8:36 am

RE: Why Do Airlines Change Flight Numbers?

Sun May 01, 2011 8:38 pm

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.
 
isitsafenow
Posts: 3413
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 9:22 am

RE: Why Do Airlines Change Flight Numbers?

Sun May 01, 2011 8:50 pm

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.
 
josekmlb
Posts: 195
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 7:34 am

RE: Why Do Airlines Change Flight Numbers?

Sun May 08, 2011 9:59 pm

Delta almost always changes flight numbers every month on their mainline.
 
pilotpip
Posts: 2820
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:26 pm

RE: Why Do Airlines Change Flight Numbers?

Wed May 11, 2011 7:59 pm

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
 
CWAFlyer
Posts: 536
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 3:33 am

RE: Why Do Airlines Change Flight Numbers?

Fri May 13, 2011 2:06 am

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.
 
united319
Posts: 446
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 1:07 am

RE: Why Do Airlines Change Flight Numbers?

Sun May 15, 2011 4:11 am

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
 
XFSUgimpLB41X
Posts: 3960
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2000 1:18 am

RE: Why Do Airlines Change Flight Numbers?

Sun May 15, 2011 4:38 am

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.
 
goblin211
Posts: 267
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:30 pm

RE: Why Do Airlines Change Flight Numbers?

Sun May 15, 2011 5:58 pm

What about the regionals?
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