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Why are assigned flight numbers different?

Why are assigned flight numbers different?

Old Jan 3, 20, 8:12 am
  #1  
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Why are assigned flight numbers different?

I am flying on Feb 11, 2020 and the flight numbers assigned on my documents are different than those same flights with the same times that I see online for today.flights.

For example: I have been assigned flight 2911 for Feb 11 but today that same flight is flight 2561. Just wondering the reason.
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Old Jan 3, 20, 8:24 am
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DL (and all airlines) will change flight numbers for all kinds of reasons. Usually it's just the result of loading a new schedule where they wanted to realign all flight numbers for a certain route or something; and perhaps your flights were one of those realigned or previously held the flight number that is now assigned to a different flight.

At the end of the day, it shouldn't have any impact on you. I would strongly advise you check your itinerary on the DL website or app to confirm that your booking has properly updated to the new flight numbers and you've retained any seat assignments (if that's important to you). The new flight numbers are what will matter on the day of travel.
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Old Jan 3, 20, 8:29 am
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Originally Posted by rjack22 View Post
I am flying on Feb 11, 2020 and the flight numbers assigned on my documents are different than those same flights with the same times that I see online for today.flights.

For example: I have been assigned flight 2911 for Feb 11 but today that same flight is flight 2561. Just wondering the reason.
Each airline has its own philosophy and method when it comes to flight number choices. Airlines change the flight numbers on some routes from time to time. It's mainly due to operational reasons and the fact that flight numbers are limited to four digits and once you include codeshares, given how many flights an airline operates, there's not a lot of wiggle room in available flight numbers:
During mergers, things get even more compressed as airlines end up having to codeshare with each other. During Unitedís merger with Continental, the numbers were carved up. Most of pre-merger Continentalís long haul flights used numbers between 1 and 199. Pre-merger United used 200-999 (with most Asian flights using the historic 800 series and European flights using the historic 900 series). Pre-merger Continental shorter haul flying fell into the 1000-1764 range (with a few cutouts in the middle). Above that? Express carriers (with each carrier having its own dedicated range) and then codeshare partners beyond that. You can follow it all the way up to United flight 9998, a flight from Brussels to Vienna operated by Brussels Airlines.

Thatís a lot to pack into 9,999 flight numbers, and United decided to get creative. So it was back in late 2012 when United introduced a new system that would optimize flight numbers. It would randomly look at the schedule every day and, using some parameters, would spit out a list of flight numbers to be used. What were those parameters?

There were the usual things, like trying to keep prominent flight numbers on regular routes (mostly long haul). But it was more than that. Even though the need for segregating United and Continental operations by flight number range had passed, United opted to continue to do things along those lines for operational reasons. Itís not actually a strict Continental/United breakdown anymore. Itís more about fleet type. For example, there are some 737-900s that were technically delivered to the United side and those operate under the same flight number ranges as the other 737-900s on the Continental side.

The airline apparently liked this internally because it could know a lot about a flight just by looking at the flight number. But this didnít consider that from a customer perspective, it was really confusing.

For example, letís stick with Ft Lauderdale to Denver. Today, United has a 320p flight on an A320. Thatís flight 780. But tomorrow, itís a 630p flight on a 737-900. Thatís flight 1571. On Saturday, itís back to a 325p flight on an A320 but the flight number is 764.

But thatís not all. The morning flight leaves at 744a today as flight 1452 on a 737-900. Tomorrow itís a 737-800 and moves to flight 1758. Sunday, itís back to a 737-900 but it now leaves at 736a. Itís flight 1736. Monday itís still a 737-900 but it leaves at 746a and itís flight 1660. What gives?

Some of the problem lies in shifting daily schedules. These days, airlines optimize their schedules by day, so itís easy to just re-optimize every day and not really worry about consistency during the week. Thatís how United has run things for the past couple years.
https://crankyflier.com/2015/03/24/w...en-ask-cranky/
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Old Jan 3, 20, 8:51 am
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Some airlines will also redo flight numbers if a specific flight is delay prone so that in the BTS system a specific flight number won't show as a chronically delayed flight.
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Old Jan 3, 20, 9:22 am
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I miss the flight numbers that NW used --- 1776 was something like DTW - PHL and 500 went to Ind etc.

Bob H
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Old Jan 3, 20, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by BobH View Post
I miss the flight numbers that NW used --- 1776 was something like DTW - PHL and 500 went to Ind etc.

Bob H
DL500 is IND-CDG now.

Flights to LAS really ought to be 777, 711, and so on
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Old Jan 3, 20, 11:20 am
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flew DL1492 LAX-CMH ~2006
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Old Jan 3, 20, 12:04 pm
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Originally Posted by BobH View Post
I miss the flight numbers that NW used --- 1776 was something like DTW - PHL and 500 went to Ind etc.

Bob H
There are still some of those. For years there has been a DL 1776 from MSP to DCA almost everyday (today it's the 8:19p departure).

Also a DL 1492 XXX-BOS (today its DTW-BOS at 9:56am). BOS is the nearest DL destination to Plymouth, MA
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Old Jan 3, 20, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by kenn0223 View Post
There are still some of those. For years there has been a DL 1776 from MSP to DCA almost everyday (today it's the 8:19p departure).

Also a DL 1492 XXX-BOS (today its DTW-BOS at 9:56am). BOS is the nearest DL destination to Plymouth, MA
um, someone needs an American history refresh ó 1776 (as mentioned upthread) would be more appropriate for a BOS flight, and the relevant date for Plymouth Rock is 1620
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Old Jan 3, 20, 12:44 pm
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Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
um, someone needs an American history refresh ó 1776 (as mentioned upthread) would be more appropriate for a BOS flight, and the relevant date for Plymouth Rock is 1620
BOS is near the North End, where there are many members of the Sons of Italy, for whom Columbus is fairly important.
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Old Jan 3, 20, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by kenn0223 View Post
There are still some of those. For years there has been a DL 1776 from MSP to DCA almost everyday (today it's the 8:19p departure).

Also a DL 1492 XXX-BOS (today its DTW-BOS at 9:56am). BOS is the nearest DL destination to Plymouth, MA
That one should go to the home of the football team that lost to Clemson !!!!

Bob H
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Old Jan 3, 20, 1:55 pm
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If it wouldn't piss off the hometown fan base, DL should put Flight 283 on a BOS-ATL/ATL-BOS flight.

(I'm not even a Pats fan - hate the Pats in fact, but those jokes about the Falcons blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl never get old).

Can DL send flight 016 to DTW or CLE? (And 214 to CVG?)
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