Things To Know About Your Flight Number

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From arriving at the airport to getting down from the plane with the bag and baggage in your hand, your flight number guide you every step of the way.

Have you ever thought what these collections of letters and numbers indicate?

Your flight number holds information hidden starting from the direction your plane is heading to how important that route is to the airline you’re flying with.


  • First two letters at the start of the fight number indicates the airline, issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the trade association for international airlines. That means no two airlines can have the same code.
Flight numbers can reveal the plane’s flying direction, the prestige of the route, whether you will fly with a codeshare partner, and much more.

Why you don’t want ‘SSSS’ on your boarding pass?


  • The people who are newly boarding aeroplane should know that the lower the number, the more prestigious the route is.
  • Airlines often provide lower numbers to their more prestigious and long-distance routes. For example, If there’s a flight 001 in an airline’s timetables, it can be on the grade of London-Sydney or Paris-New York.
Qantas has a set of conventions for assigning flight numbers.

What didn’t you know about your boarding pass?

  • Have you ever checked whether your flight has odd or even number? There may be occasional exceptions, but flights heading towards east or north are often given even numbers and those heading west or south given odd numbers.
Boarding pass
A passenger shows his boarding pass of the last MH370 flight before Malaysia Airlines retired the number in respect to the passengers and crew of missing flight MH370.



  • Airlines enjoy a fair bit of freedom in choosing flight numbers and some found to be quite creative. For example, American Airlines flight AA1776 from Boston to Philadelphia, paying tribute to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, happened in Philadelphia in 1776.
  • Superstition sometimes does play its part in providing numbers. Many airlines have incorporated the number 8 into their Asian routes because that number is considered to be lucky in many Asian cultures. There are some unlucky numbers like 13, 666 and 911 who are rarely seen.
  • Airlines omit or retire numbers of crashed flights. For example, Flight MH370, Kuala Lumpur to Beijing route formerly flown by Malaysia Airlines has been changed to MH360.
  • Similarly, hijacked planes of United Airlines and American Airlines during 9/11 attacks have been renumbered.
  • But in the absence of superstition or tragedy, there examples of flight numbers which have been stayed with airlines for a very long time.
  • No matter how many times departure times and aircraft types may change, flight numbers stay for a long time.


After two of its planes were hijacked and crashed in the September 11 attacks — UA93 from Newark to San Francisco and UA175 from Boston to LA — United Airlines renumbered those routes



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