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Flight number

In the aviation industry, a flight number or flight designator is a code for an


airline service consisting of two-character airline designator and a 1 to 4 digit
number.[1] For example, "KL 445" is a KLM service from Amsterdam to Kuwait. A
service is called "direct" if it is covered by a single flight number, regardless of the
number of stops or equipment changes. For example, "WN 417" flies from
Jacksonville to Baltimore to Oakland to Los Angeles. A given flight segment may
have multiple flight numbers on different airlines under a code-sharing
agreement. Strictly speaking, the flight number is just the numerical part, but it is
commonly used for the entire flight designator. Flight numbers on a split-flap
display (Frankfurt airport)
The flight designator of the operating carrier of a commercial flight is used as a
callsign.[2] This is distinct from the aircraft's registration number, which identifies
a specific airplane.

Contents
Conventions
Codeshare
List of flight number 1 by airlines
Flight number changes
Flight number conservation
Flight designator
Spacecraft
See also
References

Conventions
A number of conventions have been developed for defining flight numbers, although these vary widely from airline to
airline, and are increasingly being modified.[3] Eastbound and northbound flights are traditionally assigned even numbers,
while westbound and southbound flights have odd numbers. Other airlines will use an odd number for an outbound flight
and use the next even number for the reverse inbound flight. For destinations served by multiple flights per day, numbers
tend to increase during the day. Hence, a flight from point A to point B might be flight 101 and the return flight from B to
A would be 102, while the next pair of flights on the same route would usually be assigned codes 103 and 104.

Flight numbers of less than three digits are often assigned to long-haul or otherwise premium flights. Flight number 1 is
often used for an airline's "flagship" service. For example, British Airways flight 1 was the early morning supersonic
Concorde service from London to New York City and is now a premium business-class only flight between the same cities;
Air New Zealand flight 1 is the daily service from London to Auckland via Los Angeles; Qantas flight 1 is the daily
Kangaroo Route from Sydney via Singapore to London. American Airlines Flight 1 is the daily flight from New York to Los
Angeles; United Airlines Flight 1 is the daily flight from San Francisco to Singapore; and El Al flight 1 is the daily overnight
service from Tel Aviv to New York City.

Four-digit numbers in the range 3000 to 5999 typically represent regional affiliate flights, while numbers larger than
6000 are generally codeshare numbers for flights operated by different airlines or even railways.

Likewise, flight numbers larger than 9000 usually refer to ferry flights; these carry no passengers and are used to relocate
aircraft to or from a maintenance base, or from one air travel market to another in order to start new commercial flights.
Flight numbers starting with 8 are often used for charter flights, but it always depends on the commercial carrier's choice.

Codeshare
In a codeshare, airlines shares its aircraft with another airline, resulting in the flight having more than one flight number
on the same sector, and either the same or different flight numbers on joined sectors.

As a hypothetical example, flight QQ1234 may fly from airport AAA to BBB to CCC. The AAA-BBB segment may be
serviced by airline QQ, and the BBB-CCC segment by airline RR, on a different aircraft. The same flight may also be sold as
RR3210, and by a third airline SS as SS2345. Also, the individual flight legs may have multiple flight numbers: AAA-BBB
may be QQ12, RR23, and SS45.

For example, Alaska Airlines flight AS61 as of June 2018 flies from Juneau (JNU) to Yakutat (YAK) to Cordova (CDV) to
Anchorage (ANC). A ticket for the Yakutat to Anchorage segment is specified as AS61 YAK-ANC. It is even possible for a
given flight number to cover a sequence beginning and ending at the same airport.

List of flight number 1 by airlines


Most flights are non-stop from A to B, and few are from A to B then to C (both A-B and B-C have flight number 1). Aircraft
type may change due to operation need.
IATA
ICAO Then to (if
Airline Flight From To Aircraft Type
Flight No applicable)
No

Aeroméxico AM1 AMX1[4] Mexico City Madrid Boeing 787-9

Boeing 777-
Air Canada AC1 ACA1[5] Toronto Pearson Tokyo Haneda
300ER
Air New Boeing 777-
NZ1 ANZ1[6] London Heathrow Los Angeles Auckland
Zealand 300ER
Airbus A340-
Air Tahiti Nui TN1 THT1[7] Los Angeles Tahiti Faa'a
300
Airbus A320-
AirAsia Japan DJ1 WAJ1 Nagoya Airport Chitose Airport
200
Airbus A330-
AirAsia X D71 XAX1[8] Kuala Lumpur Osaka Honolulu
300
Alaska Washington D.C. Boeing 737-
AS1 ASA1[9] Seattle
Airlines Reagan 800
All Nippon Washington D.C. Boeing 777-
NH1 ANA1[10] Tokyo Narita
Airways Dulles 300ER
American
AA1 AAL1[11] New York JFK Los Angeles Airbus A321
Airlines
San Francisco Los Angeles
American
CP1 CPZ1 International International Embraer 175
Eagle
Airport Airport
Biman
London Boeing 777-
Bangladesh BG1 BBC1[12] Dhaka
Heathrow 300ER
Airlines
British
BA1 BAW1[13] London City New York JFK Stop at Shannon* Airbus A318
Airways
Airbus A350-
China Airlines CI1 CAL1[14] Honolulu Taipei Taoyuan
900
Delta Air Boeing 767-
DL1 DAL1[15] London Heathrow New York JFK
Lines 300
Panama City Boeing 757-
DHL D51 DAE0001 Miami Airport
Airport 200PCF
Boeing 747-
El Al LY1 ELY1[16] Tel Aviv New York JFK
400
London Airbus A380-
Emirates EK1 UAE1[17] Dubai
Heathrow 800
Etihad Boeing 777-
EY1 ETD1[18] Abu Dhabi Frankfurt
Airways 300ER
Boeing 777-
EVA Air BR1 EVA1[19] Los Angeles Taipei Taoyuan
300ER
Helsinki Los Angeles
Finnair AY1 FIN1 International International A350-900
Airport Airport
Hawaiian Airbus A330-
HA1 HAL1[20] Los Angeles Honolulu
Airlines 200
Japan Airlines JL1 San Francisco Tokyo Haneda Boeing 777-
JAL1[21] 300ER

Japan
Transocean NU1 JTA1 Osaka (KIX) Naha B737-800
Air
JetBlue
B61 JBU1[22] New York JFK Fort Lauderdale Airbus A321
Airways
Korean Air Airbus A330-
KE1 KAL1[23] Seoul Tokyo Narita Honolulu
Lines 300

LAN Airlines LA1 LAN1[24] Santiago Puerto Bories Airbus A320

Various
Lufthansa LH1 DLH1[25] Hamburg Frankfurt
(319/320/321)
Malaysia Airbus A380-
MH1 MAS1[26] London Heathrow Kuala Lumpur
Airlines 800/A350-900

Polish Airlines LO1 LOT1[27] Warsaw Chicago O'Hare Boeing 787-8

Airbus A380-
Qantas QF1 QFA1[28] Sydney Singapore London Heathrow
800
London Boeing 777-
Qatar Airways QR1 QTR1[29] Doha
Heathrow 300ER
Scandinavian
SK1 SAS1[30] Lulea Stockholm Boeing 737
Airlines
Singapore Boeing 777-
SQ1 SIA1 [31] San Francisco Hong Kong Singapore
Airlines 300ER
Skymark Boeing 737-
BC1 SKY1 Tokyo (HND) Naha
Airlines 800
Various
Southwest Boeing 737-
Airlines
WN1 SWA1[32] Dallas Love Field El Paso Intl destinations after
800
DAL-HOU
Turkish Boeing 777-
TK1 THY1[33] Istanbul New York JFK
Airlines 300ER
United
UA1 UAL1[34] San Francisco Singapore Boeing 787-9
Airlines
Various
Virgin Atlantic VS1 VIR1[35] London Heathrow Newark
(789/346/333)
Virgin Boeing 777-
VA1 VOZ1[36] Sydney Los Angeles
Australia 300ER
Boeing 767-
WestJet WS1 WJA1[37] Calgary London Gatwick
300

Note*: BA1 stops at Shannon, Ireland only for refuelling and for passengers go through U.S. Immigration and Customs'
preclearance.

Flight number changes


Flight numbers are often taken out of use after a crash or a serious incident. For example, following the crash of Alaska
Airlines Flight 261, the airline changed the flight number for subsequent flights following the same route to 229. Also,
American Airlines Flight 77, which regularly flew from Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, to Los Angeles
International Airport, was changed to Flight 149 after the September 11 attacks. On the other hand, other considerations
may lead an airline not to change a flight number; for instance, the aforementioned "flagship" American Airlines Flight 1
retains its designation despite a major accident in 1962. There are at least four instances of flight numbers that have
suffered two serious accidents: Flight 253 of Linea Aeropostal Venezolana (both in 1956, the first in June, and the second
in November), Flight 869 of United Arab Airlines (the first in 1962 and the second in 1963), Flight 800 of TWA (the first in
1964 and the second in 1996), and Flight 383 of American Airlines (the first in 1965 and the second in 2016). Another
example of this is the retirement of both MH370 and MH371 after an aircraft disappeared in 2014.

Flight number conservation


Airline mega mergers, in markets such as the United States, have made it necessary to break conventional flight
numbering schemes. Organizations such as IATA, ICAO, ARC, as well as CRS systems and the FAA's ATC systems limit
flight numbers to four digits (0001 to 9999). The pool of available flight numbers has been outstripped by demand for
them by emergent mega-carriers. As such, some carriers use the same flight number for back-and-forth flights (e.g. DCA-
PBI-DCA), or in other cases carriers have assigned a single flight number to an multi-leg flight (e.g. ICT-DAL-HOU-MDW-
OMA-DEN-ABQ-LAS-BDL).[38]

Flight designator
Note that, although 'flight number' is the term used colloquially, the official term as defined in the Standard Schedules
Information Manual (SSIM) published annually by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Schedules
Information Standards Committee (SISC), is flight designator. Officially the term 'flight number' refers to the numeric
part (up to four digits) of a flight code. For example, in the flight codes BA2490 and BA2491A, "2490" and "2491" are
flight numbers. Even within the airline and airport industry, it is common to use the colloquial term rather than the
official term.

Spacecraft
Flight numbers are also sometimes used for spacecraft, though a flight number for an expendable rocket (say, Ariane 5
Flight 501) might more reasonably be called the serial number of the vehicle used, since an expendable rocket can only be
launched once. Space Shuttle missions used numbers with the STS prefix, for example, STS-93.

See also
Airline call sign
Codeshare agreement
Change of gauge (aviation)

References
1. IATA Passenger Glossary of Terms (15 June 2018) [www.iata.org/whatwedo/passenger/.../IATA-Passenger-Glossary-
of-Terms.xlsx]
2. ICAO, "Glossary" [1] (https://www.icao.int/dataplus_archive/Documents/GLOSSARY.docx)
3. Peter Newell, "Flight Numbering Alternatives", Ascend: A Magazine for Airline Executives, issue 2, 2014 [2] (http://ww
w.ascendforairlines.com/2014-issue-no-2/flight-numbering-alternatives)
4. "AeroMéxico (AM) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/AMX1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
5. "Air Canada (AC) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/ACA1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
6. "Air New Zealand (NZ) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/ANZ1). FlightAware. Retrieved
2018-01-12.
7. "Air Tahiti Nui (TN) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/THT1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
8. "AirAsia X (D7) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/XAX1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
9. "Alaska Airlines (AS) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/ASA1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
10. "All Nippon (NH) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/ANA1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
11. "American Airlines (AA) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/AAL1). FlightAware. Retrieved
2018-01-12.
12. "Bangladesh Biman (BG) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/BBC1). FlightAware. Retrieved
2018-01-12.
13. "British Airways (BA) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/BAW1). FlightAware. Retrieved
2018-01-12.
14. "China Airlines (CI) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/CAL1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
15. "Delta (DL) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/DAL1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
16. "El Al (LY) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/ELY1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
17. "Emirates (EK) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/UAE1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
18. "Etihad Airways (EY) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/ETD1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
19. "EVA Air (BR) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/EVA1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
20. "Hawaiian Airlines (HA) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/HAL1). FlightAware. Retrieved
2018-01-12.
21. "Japan Airlines (JL) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/JAL1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
22. "JetBlue (B6) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/JBU1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
23. "Korean Air Lines Co. (KE) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/KAL1). FlightAware. Retrieved
2018-01-12.
24. "LAN Airlines (LA) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/LAN1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
25. "Lufthansa (LH) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/DLH1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
26. "Malaysia Airlines (MH) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/MAS1). FlightAware. Retrieved
2018-01-12.
27. "Lot - Polskie Linie Lotnicze (LO) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/LOT1). FlightAware. Retrieved
2018-01-12.
28. "Qantas (QF) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/QFA1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
29. "Qatar Airways (QR) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/QTR1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
30. "SAS (SK) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/SAS1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
31. "Singapore Airlines (SQ) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/SIA1). FlightAware. Retrieved
2018-01-12.
32. "Southwest (WN) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/SWA1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
33. "Turkish Airlines (TK) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/THY1). FlightAware. Retrieved
2018-01-12.
34. "United (UA) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
35. "Virgin Atlantic (VS) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/VIR1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
36. "Virgin Australia (VA) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/VOZ1). FlightAware. Retrieved
2018-01-12.
37. "WestJet (WS) #1 ✈ FlightAware" (https://flightaware.com/live/flight/WJA1). FlightAware. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
38. https://community.southwest.com/t5/Southwest-Stories/The-Science-behind-Flight-Numbers/ba-p/42760

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