It is quite normal to experience a gamut of emotions, from excitement to anxiety, as the departure date of your flight inches closer.
There are certain things that you need to familiarize yourself with, to make your first flight as stress-free as possible. Getting to know your flight number is one of them. You need to know your flight number to navigate through check-in points and gates at the airport. Here is an essential guide on how to find flight number along with other information you might be interested to know before taking your first flight.
What is a Flight Number?
Every flight has a unique flight number, which is a combination of the airline’s IATA code and 1-4 digit number. The airline’s code, approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), consists of two characters, and is written in uppercase letters. For example, AA is the IATA code of American Airlines and UA stands for United Airlines.
The 1-4 digit number that follows the IATA code represents the flight route. AI 144 is the flight number of Air India’s flights from Newark to Mumbai.
A flight number is like the identification number of each flight and it aids Air Traffic Control in organizing and tracking flights in the air. A flight number facilitates in tracking the number of flights that run on a specific route on a specific day.
How to Find Flight Number?
You can find your flight number on your flight ticket and boarding pass. It is easy to spot your flight number now that you know of its structure. Moreover, whenever you book your flight tickets, you will also receive booking confirmation along with your flight number.
Some Examples of Flight Numbers
As stated, a flight number consists of two letters and 1-4 numbers. Some examples of flight numbers are:
AI 126: Air India’s flight from Chicago to Delhi
UA 867: United Airlines’ flight from San Francisco to Delhi
AI 108: Air India’s flight from Chicago to Hyderabad
AA 292: American Airlines’ flight from New York to New Delhi
SG 4001: SpiceJet’s flight from Hyderabad to Goa
How do airlines assign flight numbers?
In general, airlines depend on a complex algorithm to determine flight numbers. They take into account all the past and present flight numbers of every airline. However, there are a set of traditional rules as to how flight numbers are created. Conventionally, planes heading east and north have even numbers while the flights heading west and south end with odd numbers. These are not the hard and fast rules though. There are airlines that give even numbers for outbound flights and odd numbers for inbound flights. Each airline follows a different set of rules while determining flight numbers. Moreover, single or double-digit numbers may also mean that the route is prestigious to the airline. Nothing, it seems, is random in aviation.
Are Flight Numbers and PNR Numbers the Same?
No, flight numbers and PNR numbers are different. PNR (Passenger Name Record), also called PNR number or PNR Code or booking reference number, is made up of 6 alphanumeric characters, a mix of both letters and numbers in no specific order. PNR is generated for each booking, and this is sent to passengers in the form of a digital certificate, which also consists of your personal details as well as the details of your flight journey. PNR code is also printed on the top-left corner of your air ticket.
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What Information is Included Within a Flight Ticket?
Apart from your flight number, you can find the following information on your air ticket:
- Passenger name
- Details of the issuing agency
- Date of issuing the ticket
- Validity of the ticket
- Origin and destination details
- Date and time of departure
- Payment method
- Flight cancellation and refund policies
- Breakdown of costs
It may also contain additional information like baggage allowance and tax breakup among others.
People Also Ask
What are flight numbers used for?
Every flight operated in commercial airspace is assigned a unique number (based on the operating airline and the route), and this makes it possible for air traffic controllers to monitor the flights in airspace and manage air traffic on a specific route.
From travelers’ point of view, flight numbers help passengers get to their boarding gate at the airport.
Is a flight number the same as a call sign?
An aircraft’s call sign may or may not be the same as its flight number. Call signs are what pilots and air traffic controllers use to refer to an aircraft while communicating on the radio. The call sign is a combination of alphanumeric characters and usually consists of the ICAO airline designator and flight number. When air controllers and airline crew communicate, they use the airline name even though they see alphanumeric characters on the screen. Airlines may also have a different radio call sign (like in the case of United Airlines, whose radio call sign is Speedbird).
Do flight numbers stay with the plane? Does the same flight number mean the same plane?
No. Since the flight number denotes the route an airline serves; it has nothing to do with the aircraft. Airlines operate the same type of aircraft for flying on their different routes with different flight numbers. Flight number, thus, is not specific to a particular physical aircraft, but a particular flight route.
What is flight number 1 for all the major airlines?
In general, flight number 1 signifies an airline’s prestigious or historic route in its entire network. Several major airlines operate their 001 flights on their most important routes and an example of this includes American Airlines’ AA001 flight from New York to Los Angeles. Both United Airlines and Singapore Airlines fly their 001 numbered flights on the San Francisco-Singapore route.