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Why do airlines keep "direct" flights that require a plane change?

Why do airlines keep "direct" flights that require a plane change?

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Old Feb 17, 19, 1:28 am
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Why do airlines keep "direct" flights that require a plane change?

BITD there were direct flights that had intermediate stops and one was not require to deplane. They are still around like United's (formerly Continental's) Pacific island hopper. In the past year or so I have been on several international "direct" flights that obviously on the return require one to disembark for immigration and customs but then board a different plane. The same for the outbound.

In talking to GA they do not like such flights. I did not get a specific reason. As a medallion PAX they suck because one can not automatically be put on the UG list, get credit for a single flight (rather than two), and get less miles. Also when waiting for the continuing flight it appears that the flight is already closed when it plainly is still a the gate.

So why do airlines like Delta still have them. From many viewpoints it seems counter productive.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 2:47 am
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Because it allows airlines to pretend that they fly from (insert non-hub city) to (insert some foreign destination). The term "direct" is misleading as many people think it means "nonstop".
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Old Feb 17, 19, 2:48 am
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as has been cussed and discussed MANY times before, it’s an artifact of the early computerized reservation systems wherein “through” flights with a single flight number were displayed before connecting flights ... therefore travel agents would presumably be more likely to sell those flights

imo it’s apparently just too much of a pain for the airlines’ IT departments to muck with something that deep in the bowels of reservation system coding
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Old Feb 17, 19, 2:49 am
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Also curious for an answer to this. DL did this on the intra-Asia flights back in the day. IIRC DL275 was on a 744 DTW-NRT and 'continuing on' a completely unrelated 763 NRT-MNL.

Tangentially related, WN does this all the time so they can claim to serve more destinations from cities and it drives me nuts. It is a connection by any other name- deplane, walk, get on a different plane. Arbitrarily the number is the same, so what?

Edit: 2 answers came in while I was typing this post.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 4:22 am
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As mentioned above it’s essentially a restriction in the digits available for use as flight numbers as a relic from old IT systems

and whilst DL coukd in theory start using 5 digit flight numbers by changing its IT system it would also require airports and other airlines to change theirs to accommodate the longer numbers and very often these are old legacy systems that you don’t want to start mucking around with because you may cause them to fall over.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 7:04 am
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Yea, it sucks. Most people hate it.

One of the reasons I really, really, hate the term DIRECT FLIGHT. Too many people confuse it with NONSTOP. Often they are totally different things.

Smart folks usually are aware of it as they look at seat maps or flight times.

In defense of WN - on their web site they show if you are changing planes or not on their website when booking.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 8:59 am
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Originally Posted by NoStressHere View Post
In defense of WN - on their web site they show if you are changing planes or not on their website when booking.
Also in defense of WN, through passengers are able to remain onboard when it's the same flight number, or are the first to board in the case of a plane change. I'm not aware of any cases where DL lets people stay onboard when it's the same plane (but of course it matters less with assigned seating).
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Old Feb 17, 19, 10:38 am
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For 5th Freedom routes like NRT-MNL and NRT-SIN, don't you have to keep the same flight number of one flight from your "home" country in order to be eligible to run that 5th freedom leg?

Otherwise, it is probably also done to reduce the number of listings that have double connections vs a single connection. PWM-JFK-LAX-SYD becomes PWM-JFK-SYD because of flight 41 originating in JFK.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 11:44 am
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Originally Posted by FlyBitcoin View Post
... it is probably also done to reduce the number of listings that have double connections vs a single connection. PWM-JFK-LAX-SYD becomes PWM-JFK-SYD because of flight 41 originating in JFK.
that’s a very cogent observation — which is again a corollary to the initial res system display architecture ... nonstop flights first, followed by one-stop “thru” flights with no change of plane, then single connections, then multi-stop “thru” flights (think the UA island-hopper or the AS milk run along the Inside Passage), finally multi-connection options
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Old Feb 17, 19, 1:56 pm
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Ironically I have missed the second leg of an international "direct" flight because the first part was arriving late.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 2:18 pm
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Originally Posted by drminn View Post
Ironically I have missed the second leg of an international "direct" flight because the first part was arriving late.
I feel like that's not supposed to happen.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 4:02 pm
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Originally Posted by WWads View Post
I feel like that's not supposed to happen.
I actually imagine it's annoying to rebook--bc you'll only have one coupon on your ticket for both flights, and that coupon will end up showing used after the first leg maybe?
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Old Feb 17, 19, 4:08 pm
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Originally Posted by WWads View Post
I feel like that's not supposed to happen.
That is not guaranteed.

Trying to keep this DL-specific, it seems DL likes to use a single number for some domestic-international and international-domestic (but I'm challenged to find any flight numbers at the moment).

DL has done out-and-back flights with the same flight number. (I recall a ATL-PWM-ATL.) Does DL do many multi-stop domestic flights on a single number? WN has a TPA-DEN-LAS-LAX-ATL-DTW flight as #1397 , for example.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 4:14 pm
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3C - Was just on:

SLC HND - DL 7
HND SLC - DL 6

My main irritation is with the international version of these flights.
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Old Feb 17, 19, 4:16 pm
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
... Trying to keep this DL-specific, it seems DL likes to use a single number for some domestic-international and international-domestic (but I'm challenged to find any flight numbers at the moment)
right off the top of my head I can cite the aforementioned 41 (JFK-LAX-SYD) and 588/589 (PVG-SEA-MSP and reverse)


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