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trent1000
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More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 1:38 pm

What if there are more routes than three-digit flight numbers? What happens after Flight 999? The reason I ask is that four-digit flight numbers are associated with codeshare flights. I was also wondering how many carriers use up most of the three-digit flight numbers. Surely, major US carriers, EK and BA would use up a lot.
 
CHA5Departure
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 1:49 pm

I know in the US at least, airlines have mainline flights that are 1xxx and 2xxx flight numbers. Southwest even has flights that are 3xxx flight numbers. Also, I know with Delta, their Delta Connection flights are 4xxx and 5xxx flight numbers.

[Edited 2016-05-09 06:52:43]
 
PanHAM
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 1:52 pm

You said it, when 3 Digits are used up go to four Digits.

Many Airlines have structured their flight numbers so that you can see from the first Digit already which Destination continent/Country that is.

At LH starting with 4 means that flight gos to North America, with 7 to the Far East. Most European Services are 4 Digit, where by the first number gain indicates European Services, code Shares cargo and Special flights/charters, jst to mention some,
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Spiderguy252
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 2:04 pm

If the airline has a strict policy of having only 3-digit numbers (at least for mainline flights), perhaps they can re-use a few numbers across other sets of flights as long as both don't have anything to do with each other? ie: different departure and arrival airport, time of day, etc.
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a380787
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 2:11 pm

Post-merger UA used to cap mainline flight numbers under 2000, but I think it may have been recently relaxed to include low 2xxx range. Pre-merger UA pretty much only used 3-digit flight numbers for long-haul widebody, e.g. 8xx were TPAC and 9xx were TATL.

For US carriers, rule of thumb is low numbers for mainline and high numbers for regional and code-shares. And this rule can also generically be applied to many legacy carriers globally.

WN follows a pattern where a multi-segment flight number would equate to same-plane service.

JJ is a major exception to this rule by using 8xxx range for many/most of their long-haul operation.
 
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TK787
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 2:11 pm

This reminds me the time when one of my workers asked: "When we get to buying lot "Z", do we stop buying?".
We never stopped buying because we ran out of letters   Or another time there was filming with over 30 cameras, after Camera A through Z, there was camera AA... and so on.
For our purposes TK has been using 4 digit flight numbers for sometime now; like
TK 2331 ADB-IST, or TK 1976 DUB-IST
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 2:26 pm

Quoting CHA5Departure (Reply 1):
Also, I know with Delta, their Delta Connection flights are 4xxx and 5xxx flight numbers.

Delta Connection flights start in the 3xxx flight range and continue into the 6xxx range, sorted generally by DCI carrier, each having a different range of numbers.

-DiamondFlyer
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910A
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 2:29 pm

Delta had mainline four digit flight numbers back in the early seventies and the world continue to spin.
 
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euroflyer
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 2:30 pm

Would be glad to know how AF handles this. AFAIK, they use single, double, triple, quadruple -digit.
Moreover, when they use triple-digit, it can be simple or with 1 or 2 additional letter (1 letter for AFR callsign, and 2 letters for AF callsign)

single, double and triple digit seem to be used for international flights
triple + 1 letter seem to be used for EU medium haul
triple + 2 letters seem to be used for domestic
quadruple seem to be used for non EU medium haul

Can anyone confirm or give more details ?
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Spiderguy252
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 2:36 pm

Quoting TK787 (Reply 5):
We never stopped buying because we ran out of letters   Or another time there was filming with over 30 cameras, after Camera A through Z, there was camera AA... and so on.

But but but....777, 787, 797, then what for Boeing?   
Vahroone
 
ScottB
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 2:37 pm

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 6):
Delta Connection flights start in the 3xxx flight range and continue into the 6xxx range, sorted generally by DCI carrier, each having a different range of numbers.

Actually, there are quite a few DL Connection flights in the 27xx range operating as the DL Shuttle at LGA.

Quoting CHA5Departure (Reply 1):
Southwest even has flights that are 3xxx flight numbers.

They're using 4xxx numbers these days as well.
 
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redzeppelin
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 2:40 pm

My first commercial flight, nearly 20 years ago, had a four-digit number: DL1424 SLC-JFK, operated with L-1011. Today, DL1424 is flying ATL-IND with MD88.
 
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Polot
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 2:43 pm

DL/DL Connection also often uses the same flight number for out and back flights, especially within the Southeast.

DL 700, for example, is used for both ATL-BHM and the returning BHM-ATL flight.

AA does the same for some flights too, don't know about UA.
 
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TK787
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 2:48 pm

Quoting Spiderguy252 (Reply 9):
But but but....777, 787, 797, then what for Boeing?

I am sure there are very bright/creative folks at Boeing to figure that out.
For me, I would keep the 7's at the end and introduce something different;...... 7117 or 7Alpha7...
 
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flyingturtle
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 2:48 pm

I wondered why this is even a question. I fly mostly on U2, and I'm used to four-digit flight numbers that don't look sexy at all.  

But we could start a lottery, give the same flight number to several flights that depart at around the same time, and make flying a bit more exciting...


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CXfirst
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 3:05 pm

Plenty have 4 for mainline.

Airlines usually don't need the full range of 4-numbers for codeshares, and will often just have a part of that sequence for codeshares.

-CXfirst
 
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reffado
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 5:11 pm

As stated, some airlines use 4 digit codes as mainline. All Brazilian carriers use 4 digits as standard. In the past, 1 was GOL, 3 was TAM. Now, there's a mix with new flight codes. JJ for example uses 3xxx for domestic, 8xxx for international and 9xxx for non-scheduled service.
 
N1120A
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 5:13 pm

AA uses numbers in the 2000s, for mainline, all the time.
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QB737
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 5:18 pm

Air Canada mainline uses 4 digits flight numbers on certain domestic routes.
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eielef
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 5:27 pm

AR has a very good system
AR10XX is ferries
AR11XX is flights to Europe (and earlier it was also Australia)
AR12XX is regional flights (Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay)
AR13XX is flights to the rest of America (from JFK to VVI, all of them)
AR14XX is domestic Argentina's NorthWest: AFA, MDZ, LUQ, UAQ, IRJ, CTC, SDE, RHD, TUC, SLA, JUJ
AR15XX is flights to COR or originating in COR
AR16XX is flights to central Argentina and northern Patagonia (MDQ, BHI, VDM, BRC, NQN, CPC, EQS)
AR17XX is flights to eastern argentina: ROS, SFN, PRA, CNQ, RES, FMA, PSS, IGR
AR18XX is flights to southern argentina: USH, RGA, RGL, FTE, CRD, REL
AR19XX are charter flights

As well, the same system is used on AU flights. But they are AR22XX, AR24XX, AR25XX, AR26XX, AR27XX, AR28XX and (rarely) AR29XX

Its a very simple system, but works almost perfectly.
JUJ was given AR1496 and AR1498. But now they have three daily flights, and being almost all of the AR14X combinations over, the third is now AR1516. In a same day, its imposible to see AR1234 and AR2234. On flights operated, some days in B737NG and some other in ERJ190, the flight number will be changed from 1XXX (737) to 2XXX (ERJ).
Flights on the "Federal Corridors" mostly are named AR180X. For instance, IGR-SLA-MDZ used to be AR2802. I took it once... Flights originating from COR (e.g. COR-TUC) are AR15XX, and flights originating from MDQ (summer seasonal) are AR162X, so are flights from BRC (AR169X), and flights from USH (AR189X).
 
N1120A
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 5:42 pm

Smaller airlines obviously have more leeway to play around with numbering. I know AC does things like 4xx for Rapidair flights, 1xx or 11xx for Eastern-Western Canada trans and midcons, 2xx for mainline flights to Winnipeg, etc. That allows organization, but a little less flexibility.
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VS4ever
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 5:45 pm



Extract from the BOS departures board online for B6, you can see 2,3 and 4 digit codes, along with 1xxx and 2xxx for the 4 digit..

Apologies if this comes up small.
That feeling when you sit at the end of a runway, brakes are released and the raw power takes over. Now that is a thing of beauty and it never gets old.
 
rta
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 5:51 pm

The majority of flights I've taken in the past year, primarily on AA and DL, have had flight numbers over 999.

Am I missing something?
 
eielef
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 5:58 pm

Plus, there are some questions I have
E.G. There is the flight BA001 on the route LCY-JFK. Also the AF001 (used to be the Concorde flight to JFK), but well, there is today the AF006.
Why is there BA001, and not just BA1? I mean, it could be as well BA0001, or BA01, why 001 if many BA flights have 4 digits (as e.g. most departing LGW are BA2XXX).
The few times I've flown in AA, it was once in AA956 (JFK-EZE), once in AA70 (DFW-FRA) and once in AA1555 (MCO-JFK).

I see AA9 (JFK-SFO right now). Why doesn't they call it flight 009, or 0009, or 09? Just flight 9? I think even American Airlines flight 9 sounds great, but if it was in the UK it would be BA 009, so in Air France.. Am I right?
 
kalvado
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 6:03 pm

OK, but what about going beyond 9999?
Not that unrealistic - Delta talks about 15000 daily flights (although I am not sure what they include in the number)
 
eielef
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 6:10 pm

Aeroflot, in the soviet times, had a fleet of 8000 active aircraft and helicopters, and about 10000 flights a day. I've seen on the complete time schedule of 1982 (a 900 pages long book, with the quality of a phone guide), that many flights were, e.g. SU-E829. They would use the GOST system (letters that are common in Latin and Cyrillic alphabet: A, B, C, E, H, K, M, O, P, T, X, Y).
So they kept the four digits, but one of them being a letter. That could be possible as well, don't you think?
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 6:17 pm

Quoting kalvado (Reply 24):
Not that unrealistic - Delta talks about 15000 daily flights (although I am not sure what they include in the number)

As was said, often Delta uses the same flight number to and from a city on a turn from a hub. So, you get 2 departures with the same number, which helps to eliminate that problem.

-DiamondFlyer
From my cold, dead hands
 
jeffh747
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 6:18 pm

I know that for codeshares, AA's flight numbers are in the 6xxx range for flights operated by BA, and other partners.
ATR-72-600, A318 A319 A320 A320neo A321 A321neo A332 A333 B717 B727 B734 B73G B738 B739 B752 B762 B763 B772 B788 CRJ2 DHC6 DHC8-300 E145 E190 MD82 MD83 MD90 SF340B
 
wrldtvlr
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 6:30 pm

Quoting kalvado (Reply 24):
Not that unrealistic - Delta talks about 15000 daily flights (although I am not sure what they include in the number)

DL is including their codeshare and SkyTeam partner flights in that number.
 
kalvado
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 6:34 pm

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 26):
As was said, often Delta uses the same flight number to and from a city on a turn from a hub. So, you get 2 departures with the same number, which helps to eliminate that problem.

-DiamondFlyer

Postpones, but not eliminates the problem - at 20k flights that will not work any longer. Through flights may help, say aircraft doing ORD-ATL-IND-ATL-ORD may carry the same flight number for the day. With a total of 800 aircraft they would be able to go back to 3 digits!
 
row44seatk
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 7:27 pm

AA uses the same flight numbers for different routes that have nothing to do with each other or using the same metal.
i.e #38 MCO-MIA, and MIA-LHR , then #39 is LHR-MIA and then MIA-MCO
As long as the galley has Woodford Reserve I'm a happy camper.
 
ACDC8
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 7:30 pm

WestJet uses 4 digits for lots of their sun destinations. 4 digits are used on AC Express flights as well as some of their mainline flights.
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RyanairGuru
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 8:38 pm

Quoting eielef (Reply 25):

In the early 2000s the British charter carriers went through a phase of putting a letter on the end of the flight number, so it was something like FCA 237K. I don't know why they did it but several airlines jumped on that bandwagon.
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flyingturtle
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 9:27 pm

Quoting eielef (Reply 25):
So they kept the four digits, but one of them being a letter. That could be possible as well, don't you think?

Yes, that can be readily used. Base-10 (i.e. only digits are allowed) offer 10^n different flight numbers when n digits are used. (10^4 = 10'000)

Base-16, using 0 to 9 and A to F, offers 16^2 flight numbers, giving you 65'536 four-digit numbers.

It can be even improved with Base-36 (0 to 9 and A to Z), with 36^4 = 1.68 million four-digit numbers.

Base-58 (all digits and all lower- and uppercase letters, without letters that are prone to confusion, like lowercase l, uppercase I, or O) should be enough for any airline (58^4 = 11.32 million numbers).


David
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JakeNorton
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 11:07 pm

QF use 4 digits on domestic/regional flights and have quite some time now.
 
Freshside3
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Mon May 09, 2016 11:26 pm

Also, at UA, there are "thru" numbers on unrelated flights.......UA1929, for example is SEA-EWR....but also uses the same number on EWR-PHX, even though nobody in their right mind would go SEA-PHX via EWR.
 
briguychau
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Tue May 10, 2016 12:34 am

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 31):
4 digits are used on AC Express flights as well as some of their mainline flights.

For AC, mainline uses numbers 1 to 1749, where numbers in the 11XX range are generally domestic flights that don't fit in the main numbering scheme, 13XX are usually seasonal additions, and other 1XXX numbers are mostly mainline sun destination routes. 1750 to 1999 are used for Rouge flights. 2000-2199 are used for certain delayed/substituted/equipment swapped flights.

AC Express uses 7200 to 8999 depending on operating carrier.
 
flylonghaul
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Tue May 10, 2016 12:48 am

SK uses 4 digits for normal flights
Add them to the list.
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Viscount724
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Tue May 10, 2016 1:35 am

Quoting trent1000 (Thread starter):
The reason I ask is that four-digit flight numbers are associated with codeshare flights.

That's no longer the case. Almost every airline I've flown on over the past few years has used 4-digit flight numbers for many of their own flights, not just codeshares. For example, all or almost all KLM flights within Europe use 4-digit numbers.
 
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antoniemey
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Tue May 10, 2016 3:24 am

Quoting Freshside3 (Reply 35):
even though nobody in their right mind would go SEA-PHX via EWR.

They do that on purpose... but there are also many "thru" flights on the same number (that may or may not be the same aircraft) that people WOULD fly. UA262 BNA-ORD-SEA, for example.
Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
 
eielef
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Tue May 10, 2016 3:50 am

Aeroflot has the following:
SU00X flights SVO-LED (including SU001)
SU0XX flights SVO-LED (mostly ranged SU010 to SU030)
SU1xx flights to America and Caribbean (e.g. SU100 SVO-JFK; SU110 SVO-MIA, SU150 SVO-HAV)
SU2xx flight to Asia (e.g. SU200 SVO-PEK, SU220 SVO-CAN, SU250 SVO-ICN, SU260 SVO-NRT, SU270 SVO-BKK)
SU5xx flight to the Middle East (e.g. SU500 SVO-TLV, SU510 SVO-BEY, SU520 SVO-DXB)
SU10xx (e.g. SU1000 SVO-KGD), SU11xx (e.g. SU1100 SVO-KRR), SU12xx (e.g. SU1200 SVO-PEE), SU13xx (e.g. SU1300 SVO-MRV), SU14xx (e.g. SU1400 SVO-SVX), SU15xx (e.g. SU1500 SVO-TJM), SU16xx (e.g. SU1620 SVO-SIP), SU17xx (e.g. SU1700 SVO-VVO) domestic Russia
SU18xx flights to former USSR countries (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, previously Ukraine)
SU19xx flights to Kazakhstan (NEW!)
SU2xxx flights to Europe
SU5xxx and SU6xxx flights operated by aeroflot partners, as Rossiya (FV), Aurora (HZ), Donavia (D9) and Nordavia (5N)

SU3xxx, SU4xxx, SU7xxx, SU8xxx, SU9xxx: unused.
 
N1120A
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Tue May 10, 2016 6:50 am

Quoting eielef (Reply 23):
Why is there BA001, and not just BA1? I mean, it could be as well BA0001, or BA01, why 001 if many BA flights have 4 digits

I think it dates back to tradition and potentially RTZ issues.

Quoting Freshside3 (Reply 35):
even though nobody in their right mind would go SEA-PHX via EWR.

You don't spend much time on Flyertalk, do you? :-P
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
planewasted
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Tue May 10, 2016 8:03 am

I once took Air China flight CA1313 on Friday the 13th.  
 
kdhurst380
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Tue May 10, 2016 8:49 am

Quoting trent1000 (Thread starter):
Surely, major US carriers, EK and BA would use up a lot

All of BA's Gatwick flights follow the format of BA2XXX. easyJet from the same airport have EZY8XXX & EZY5XXX. Ryanair also have many four digit flight numbers.

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 32):
In the early 2000s the British charter carriers went through a phase of putting a letter on the end of the flight number, so it was something like FCA 237K. I don't know why they did it but several airlines jumped on that bandwagon.

Britannia (now Thomson) used to do this all throughout the 90s. Used to be BY000A for the outbound and BY000B on the inbound. TCX and it's multitude of predecessors did the K/L thing.
 
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Ty134A
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Tue May 10, 2016 9:03 am

Quoting kalvado (Reply 24):
OK, but what about going beyond 9999?
Not that unrealistic - Delta talks about 15000 daily flights (although I am not sure what they include in the number)

i remember back in the good old days small russian carriers with one aircraft operating 5 digit flight numbers... but that was rare and structures messed up after the collapse of the soviet union... but fun it was.
TU3/5,T20,IL8/6/W/9,I14,YK4/2,AN2/4,A26,A28,A38,A40,A81,SU9,L4T,L11,D1C,M11,M80/2/7,
AB4/6,318-321,313,332/3,342/3/5/6,712,703,722,732/3/4/5/G/8,741/L/2/3/4,752/3,763,
77E/W,J31,F50,F70,100,ATP,142/3,AR8/1,SF3,S20,D38,MIH,EM4,E75/90/95,AT7,DHT/3/4,CRJ/7/9
 
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flyingturtle
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Tue May 10, 2016 9:21 am

Quoting Ty134A (Reply 44):
i remember back in the good old days small russian carriers with one aircraft operating 5 digit flight numbers... but that was rare and structures messed up after the collapse of the soviet union... but fun it was.

The glory of the SU00010 and the SU00100 flights? 

Well... are measures taken that passengers cannot confuse flight numbers, as in the line above? Like pruning the list of possible flight numbers so that everything is easily distinguishable?

US118, and then US881...


David
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
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AMIKI
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Tue May 10, 2016 9:27 am

There comes my favourite 4-digit flight number in my mind: LH2222 to Toulouse (funny flight numbers are discussed in another thread)
 
swacle
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Tue May 10, 2016 12:14 pm

WN is up to 6xxx numbers now.
Aircraft Flown: SF3 DH8 DH4 328 ERJ CRJ CR7 CR9 E70 E75 D9S M80 712 72S 732 733 734 735 73G 738 739 739ER 752 318 319 32
 
Ferroviarius
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Tue May 10, 2016 12:19 pm

Quoting Spiderguy252 (Reply 9):
But but but....777, 787, 797, then what for Boeing?

How about a B-13-13-13? Air We-can-never-completely-exclude-a-crash as launch customer. "We completely ignore all your superstition!" as slogan!

Best,
Ferroviarius

Btw: Are there any airlines, which use row number 13 on their planes?
 
JohnGalt
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RE: More Than 999 Flight Numbers. What Then?

Tue May 10, 2016 12:42 pm

I have a friend who is a Dispatcher for United. He was telling me that one time in the last few years when there were a lot of delays (winter season) they had to be really careful with flight numbers because some were rolling over into the following day and they had trouble with duplicate flight numbers. With over 5,000 flights a day, having to double up can get close to over 9,999.

Quoting Ferroviarius (Reply 48):
Are there any airlines, which use row number 13 on their planes?

Most carriers in the U.S. do. The only one that really seems to shy away from it is UA, but they do have it on a few of their aircraft. You can check out seatguru.com to check out different airlines' seat maps and row numbers.

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Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

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Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos