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NearMiss
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Flight Numbers with letters

Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:35 pm

Hey guys

Last night, while checking on Flightradar24, I noticed LA532 with an added Z, making it LA532 Zulu. In the past, while hearing ATC Comms, I've heard X-ray and others added to flight numbers. Why is it? Additional flights?
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chunhimlai
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:46 pm

flight delayed for more than 1day
 
jetmatt777
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:47 pm

Usually another flight is planned to be operating at the same time with the same flight number. This is often the case with a “thru” flight that has separate airplanes operate it. For example UAL123 ORD-DEN-SFO might be operated by a 737 from ORD and an A320 from DEN, this the possibility of both flights being in DEN at the same time. One leg may be UAL12X while the other is UAL123.
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OB1504
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:57 pm

Alitalia and British Airways are two airlines I’ve seen operating with alphanumeric callsigns on a regular basis, but for most other carriers a letter in the flight number typically indicates a one-off situation.
 
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AirKevin
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:03 pm

OB1504 wrote:
Alitalia and British Airways are two airlines I’ve seen operating with alphanumeric callsigns on a regular basis, but for most other carriers a letter in the flight number typically indicates a one-off situation.

Add Virgin Atlantic to the list, though from what I have noticed from listening to LiveATC, it seems they just add a letter after the flight number itself.
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BasilFawlty
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:06 pm

There's a difference between flight numbers with an added letter and (standard) alphanumeric call signs.
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Pontius
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:22 pm

It's also a fix for challenging/confusing flight numbers. The mainline marketing department hands down batches of flight numbers to regional carriers and it can get ridiculous. At the hubs there ends up being Skywest 5559, Skywest 5859, Skywest 5959 all in the same vicinity and its a mess between pilots and controllers. Skywest will file as SKW55G, SKW58R, SKW59C to keep things straight on the frequency. I wish more regionals did this.
 
dcajet
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:25 pm

LH and BA, off the top of my head, use the D after a flight to signify a considerable delay; e.g. LH511D, BA245D
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Eikie
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:46 pm

KLM does it too. The flight to Washington, kl651 has the callsign klm17k.
This is done to prevent confusion with other callsigns, not necessarily within the same company.

The K was added after it was found out there were misser or mistakenly answered calls due too another flight along the route with 17 in it's callsign.
 
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vhqpa
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:59 pm

As far as I remember most European airlines use alphanumeric flight numbers in everyday ops. Emirates is another airline that uses alphanumeric flight numbers in everyday ops.

Qantaslink use "D" for Q400 flights. Ie. A BNE-ROK flight might be known to passengers as QF2352, but the ATC callsign is QLK352D. Spoken as "Q Link 352 Delta". If happens to be a Q300 operating that flight then the "D" gets dropped and it's QLK352.
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OA940
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:15 am

Pretty sure easyjet does it too regularly, though don't quote me on that.
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Gulfstream500
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:17 am

In an SNL skit mocking WN, they used a flight number with letters in it. I wondered why it was they were using it, as I have never seen WN with a letter in the flight number.
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GE90man
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:24 am

Norwegian does it too. Their flight from Oslo to JFK is often NAX1G
 
Shrewfly
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:33 am

Years ago, Britannia used to use BY123A for a UK outbound charter, and BY123B for the return.

Wondered at the time what the reasoning was, every other airline seemed to use only numeric callsigns with an an even number outbound and an odd on the return

That would appear on boarding passes and airport screens, not just on ATC comms
 
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zeke
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:33 am

A number of airlines are doing this now to avoid call sign confusion over the radio.
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RyanairGuru
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:03 am

Shrewfly wrote:
Years ago, Britannia used to use BY123A for a UK outbound charter, and BY123B for the return.

Wondered at the time what the reasoning was, every other airline seemed to use only numeric callsigns with an an even number outbound and an odd on the return

That would appear on boarding passes and airport screens, not just on ATC comms


JMC/TCX went through a phase of J/K for passenger facing flight numbers as well. It always seemed odd.
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BAeRJ100
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:50 am

Gulfstream500 wrote:
In an SNL skit mocking WN, they used a flight number with letters in it. I wondered why it was they were using it, as I have never seen WN with a letter in the flight number.


Because the vast majority of people aren't enthusiasts like us, and think "sounds about right" without putting any logical thought into it. There's an innumerable amount of "mainstream" shows that get aviation so very wrong, because they try and make it sound right without actually fact-checking. My biggest pet peeve are ones that crap all over the phonetic alphabet (and make it seem like we talk using it constantly).
B737/738/739/744ER/752/753/763/77L/77W/788/789
A223/320/321/332/333/346/359/388
MD82/MD88/717/F100/RJ85/RJ100/146-100/200/300
E175/190/CRJ700/900
 
ahj2000
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Re: Flight Numbers with letters

Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:57 am

Could we see this in the future when airlines have more than 9999 flights operating (ncluding codeshares) per day? Airlines, especially the US 3 seem to be covering more and more og the world with codeshares. Say AA keeps that 6700 flgihts per day mark, and keeps adding so its around 7000. It isn't insane to think that with the whole JV rage going on, the BA/AY/IB/JL/QF joint venture networks and potentials for LA/EI and maybe even CZ to be included, that large portions of their networks become codeshared by AA. THis would mean that the number of flights operated by codeshare partners may pass 3000 a day, especially including charters and repositioning flights. Could we eventually see something like SYD-PER operating as flight AA 135Quebec or something along those lines?
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