Trying to understand WN flight # patterns

Old Jul 20, 11, 10:25 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: BOS .. but soon SFO
Programs: UA PLAT, TK GLD, Hilton Diamond, IC PLAT, SPG GLD, Marriott GLD
Posts: 1,528
Trying to understand WN flight # patterns

Most airlines are pretty consistent with their flight numbers, but LUV seems to be all over the place.

My team and I developed a flight metric system FLIGHT INFOGRAPHICS in the sidebar and we are trying to hash out some bugs with how we filter outliers in the database.

Is LUV really this inconsistent with flight numbers?
stupidzbu is offline  
Old Jul 20, 11, 3:37 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: ORD, MDW or MKE
Programs: No change fees keep me tied to WN. Choice and Marriott hotels primarily.
Posts: 6,000
Huh?

Perhaps you should expand on your complaint.
lougord99 is offline  
Old Jul 20, 11, 4:57 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Houston (HOU/IAH)
Programs: WN, UA, DL, AA, Chase UR, Amex MR
Posts: 2,210
Originally Posted by lougord99 View Post
Huh?

Perhaps you should expand on your complaint.
On many airlines flight numbers often follow a specific pattern and the number is determined through a couple of different factors. That said, on WN it appears that outsde of the flights between DAL and HOU they basically just use whatever number combinations are available. Keep in mind that I'm only considering the general revenue flight numbers and not the blocks reserved for charters, ferries, and other.
alggag is offline  
Old Jul 20, 11, 4:58 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Northern New Jersey
Programs: OnePass, AAdvantage, TrueBlue, HHonors
Posts: 2,709
I think what the OP is trying to say is that a legacy will number their flight something like 1-100 or so for internationals, upto 1500 for mainline, 3000-5000 for express service, 5001+ for code shares. Then, he's trying to do some kind of satistics with it.
Seat13c is offline  
Old Jul 20, 11, 5:15 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: ORD, MDW or MKE
Programs: No change fees keep me tied to WN. Choice and Marriott hotels primarily.
Posts: 6,000
Originally Posted by Seat13c View Post
I think what the OP is trying to say is that a legacy will number their flight something like 1-100 or so for internationals, upto 1500 for mainline, 3000-5000 for express service, 5001+ for code shares. Then, he's trying to do some kind of satistics with it.
And since WN has nothing but mainline in your above examples, what is the OP talking about.
lougord99 is offline  
Old Jul 20, 11, 9:14 pm
  #6  
Formerly known as stellertony
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: BCN
Programs: UA Gold, DL Silver, AS MVP, IHG Spire, NEXUS, APEC
Posts: 1,013
Originally Posted by lougord99 View Post
And since WN has nothing but mainline in your above examples, what is the OP talking about.
I know on AS, north and westbound flights have odd numbers, and south/eastbound flights have even numbers. They're also grouped pretty closely by route, e.g. single-digit flights (1-6) are to/from DCA, 10s and 20s are BOS, 30s are MSP, 60s are Southeast AK milk runs, 80-120 or so are ANC-SEA, 450-480s are LAX, 610s are LAS, 730s are IAH, 800s are Hawaii, etc.

I may be wrong, but I think the OP is looking for some sort of similar rhyme or reason for WN flight number assignments.
tonei is offline  
Old Jul 20, 11, 9:28 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 37
Originally Posted by stellertony View Post
I know on AS, north and westbound flights have odd numbers, and south/eastbound flights have even numbers. They're also grouped pretty closely by route, e.g. single-digit flights (1-6) are to/from DCA, 10s and 20s are BOS, 30s are MSP, 60s are Southeast AK milk runs, 80-120 or so are ANC-SEA, 450-480s are LAX, 610s are LAS, 730s are IAH, 800s are Hawaii, etc.

I may be wrong, but I think the OP is looking for some sort of similar rhyme or reason for WN flight number assignments.
I doubt there is anything quite that logical on WN, based on how many segments the same flight number uses. As an example, for a randomly selected flight, today flight 2644 was scheduled for MSP-PHX-ONT-SJC-DEN. Given that the same flight goes west, then north, then east, it would be very interesting to see if there was actually a pattern to the flight numbers.

There may be some meaningful numbers, but I have a hunch many of them they just pick a number that isn't currently being used.

Good luck!
rickscholz is offline  
Old Jul 21, 11, 12:57 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: ORD, MDW or MKE
Programs: No change fees keep me tied to WN. Choice and Marriott hotels primarily.
Posts: 6,000
Originally Posted by SWABrian View Post
There are quite a few things to consider when assigning flight numbers. For instance, another carrier might have a similar flight number at the same time period. A lot of airlines us "711" for LAS flights, and you can't have two airlines operating with the same flight number in the same airspace. Also, it messes things up if you try to have one flight number operate through the same city pairs during one routing. ATC computers don't know which flight is which, and it would also cause confusion when booking a reservation. Our Schedulers like Bill Owen look at the lines of flight which have the aircraft routings, the flight numbers are filled in later.
lougord99 is offline  
Old Jul 21, 11, 1:45 am
  #9  
Moderator, Southwest Airlines and Choice Privileges
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 2,914
Nice find, lougord99.

Now who can find the post, here or on blogsouthwest.com, I would guess, that talks about how the schedule optimization got to the point that WN flight numbers had to expand up into the 8000s, and how lots of system testing had to be done before they could proceed with that change? It seemed to me that post could also be instructive to the OP, but I've not been able to find it.

curb, where are you???
ftnoob is offline  
Old Jul 21, 11, 8:24 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Programs: WN CP
Posts: 6,360
I'm right here.

8000-series flights are ferries and charters. 5000-series flights appeared with the 2009 holiday schedule extension as described in the blog post you were looking for, ftnoob:

http://www.blogsouthwest.com/blog/ho...-open-for-sale
For example, up until now, the highest flight number we could use on a normal schedule was Flight Number 3999. By starting from scratch for these three days (in addition to the standard Monday *and* Saturday optimizations), we quickly ran out of flight numbers. So we upped the flight number limit to 5999--which sounds so innocuous, but you'd be amazed how much testing we had to do with dozens of other, internal computer systems to make sure they could handle flight numbers in that range!
4000-series flights were at one point reserved for the ATA codeshare, and I don't know if they've ever been restored for "normal" use.
curbcrusher is offline  
Old Jul 21, 11, 8:59 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Northern New Jersey
Programs: OnePass, AAdvantage, TrueBlue, HHonors
Posts: 2,709
Originally Posted by lougord99 View Post
And since WN has nothing but mainline in your above examples, what is the OP talking about.
Right... Since WN is solely main, unlike the legacies, he's trying to figure out how WN coming up with their own numbering system.
Seat13c is offline  
Old Jul 21, 11, 3:14 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Durham, NC (RDU/GSO/CLT)
Programs: AA EXP/1MM, DL PM, UA Plat, HH DIA, Hyatt Discoverist, IHG Spire/AMB, Marriott Titanium, Hertz PC
Posts: 29,647
I actually have an Excel spreadsheet where I record all my flight numbers and do see patterns. Part of the fun of flying Southwest is they end up all over the map. I have an upcoming trip this weekend and I have:

750: RDU-BWI
225: BWI-AUS
3009: AUS-BNA
345: BNA-RDU

It's fun seeing maineline aircraft end up in the 3xxx which are usually for regional flights and WN end up in the 2xx which legacy carriers often use for International flights/transcons.
CMK10 is offline  
Old Jul 21, 11, 3:27 pm
  #13  
bpe
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Japan
Programs: AS, UA
Posts: 811
A bit OT, but what's up with flight numbers for MSP-SEA on DL? They are, in order,
1653
1453
1753
2153
2253
41
1953

Except for 41 (which a 'continuation' of LHR-MSP), they are all XX53, not really in order and missing a few numbers. It's a rather interesting way of grouping them, and I also haven't noticed this on any other city pair that I've looked at.
bpe is offline  
Old Jul 21, 11, 7:11 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: ATL
Programs: Marriott Platinum, Delta Kryptonium Medallion, National Executive
Posts: 1,888
Originally Posted by bpe View Post
A bit OT, but what's up with flight numbers for MSP-SEA on DL? They are, in order,
1653
1453
1753
2153
2253
41
1953

Except for 41 (which a 'continuation' of LHR-MSP), they are all XX53, not really in order and missing a few numbers. It's a rather interesting way of grouping them, and I also haven't noticed this on any other city pair that I've looked at.
I've seen similar patterns on DL's flights between ATL-MCO and ATL-FLL.
plagwate is offline  
Old Jul 21, 11, 7:45 pm
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: BOS .. but soon SFO
Programs: UA PLAT, TK GLD, Hilton Diamond, IC PLAT, SPG GLD, Marriott GLD
Posts: 1,528
Originally Posted by lougord99 View Post
And since WN has nothing but mainline in your above examples, what is the OP talking about.
I am talking about inconsistencies with their flight numbers. As someone else mentioned, it seems that they use whatever flight number is available, which makes it hard to track performance on specific routes

EDIT:

So I take it there is no actual pattern. Still haven't read the link to the other blog, but I might have to rethink how to track performance on LUV flights.

Last edited by stupidzbu; Jul 21, 11 at 7:49 pm Reason: reading the rest of the thread
stupidzbu is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread