Does each airplane repeat a flight?


I have been tracking some flights and it seems that an arplane repeats. For example an airplane is taking off of houston to Aruba, Then lands at Aruba and in a while takesoff for houston. Then next morning the same plane does those flights. So does ech airplane repeat their flight?


And what makes you think it’s the same aircraft?


Believe you asked this question a few months ago. The answer remains the same.

It may be the same aircraft *type *but not the same aircraft. For example, on Monday, it flight 1 from Houston to Aruba uses a 737-800. The registration is N7378. On Tuesday, flight 1 once again uses a 737-800. However, this time it is a 737-800 with the registration of N7979.

Remember that an aircraft on the ground makes a grand total of $0 for the airline. It would not make sense for the aircraft to fly, in this example, from Houston to Aruba and then go back to Houston and stay on the ground until the next day. (There is an exception to this: the aircraft may not start another flight if it is required to have maintenance on it.)

A single aircraft may have 8 or 10 different flight numbers assigned to it during the course of a day. Southwest, being different from other airlines, quite often assigns one flight number to an aircraft, regardless of how it is routed. This makes for an interesting study into how an aircraft routes during the day. Remember, if the following Southwest flights were operated by another airline, they more than likely would have different flight numbers for each segment or possibly each two segments.

All that said, here’s some actual data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ On Time database. It includes aircraft tail numbers but doesn’t include international data. However, you can still get an idea of how an aircraft is routed.

These examples are from January 2008
Delta MD88 N931DL
Date Airline/tail # Flight From To Depart Arrive
1 DL N931DL 1091 JAN ATL 705 922
1 DL N931DL 456 ATL DCA 1020 1205
1 DL N931DL 463 DCA ATL 1255 1449
1 DL N931DL 1865 ATL SRQ 1535 1707
1 DL N931DL 1047 SRQ ATL 1747 1925
1 DL N931DL 1446 ATL BNA 2012 2023
2 DL N931DL 575 BNA ATL 715 923
2 DL N931DL 1450 ATL RIC 1915 2047
3 DL N931DL 1679 RIC ATL 710 859
3 DL N931DL 1606 ATL MIA 945 1140
3 DL N931DL 80 MIA JFK 1220 1521
3 DL N931DL 149 JFK FLL 1610 1949
3 DL N931DL 1507 FLL BDL 2040 2339
4 DL N931DL 1653 BDL PBI 810 1118
4 DL N931DL 1777 PBI BOS 1220 1531
4 DL N931DL 1792 BOS TPA 1530 1906
4 DL N931DL 1792 TPA BOS 1954 2250
5 DL N931DL 1787 BOS PBI 745 1115
5 DL N931DL 1898 PBI LGA 1210 1515
5 DL N931DL 1853 LGA TPA 1559 1909
5 DL N931DL 481 TPA JFK 1959 2258

There are some exceptions, of course. An airline with few aircraft and few routes may assign the same aircraft to fly a given route each day. Also, an airline may have configured certain aircraft to fly prestigious routes like United has done with its PS service.

Here’s an example of a United 757, registration N560UA
Date Airline/tail # Flight From To Depart Arrive
1 UA N560UA 891 JFK LAX 650 1007
1 UA N560UA 840 LAX JFK 1115 1944
1 UA N560UA 33 JFK LAX 2040 26
2 UA N560UA 20 LAX JFK 615 1431
2 UA N560UA 25 JFK LAX 1125 1437
2 UA N560UA 28 LAX JFK 1600 12
3 UA N560UA 5 JFK SFO 600 932
3 UA N560UA 892 SFO JFK 1025 1900
3 UA N560UA 19 JFK SFO 1955 2342
4 UA N560UA 6 SFO JFK 800 1638
4 UA N560UA 839 JFK LAX 1730 2106
5 UA N560UA 22 LAX JFK 825 1648
5 UA N560UA 17 JFK SFO 1740 2115
5 UA N560UA 16 SFO JFK 2230 653

This aircraft, because it is specially configured, flies transcontinental routes between JFK and LAX or SFO


For it to be the same plane, it would have to have the same n-number. The same flight number doesn’t mean it is the same plane. I would bet it isn’t the same plane you are tracking.


Well, I was tracking some Continental flights on It said the airplane # was 208 and it does flights from ewr-kiah then from kiah-aruba afterwards from aruba -kiah. Then I was searching for its next flight which lead me to sunday’s flights. It turns out that the same aircraft #208 is doing the same flight again. :confused:



Exactly, that is the flight number. That doesn’t mean it is the same plane.



No it wasnt the flight #. The flight number was somthin close to 1887. The info said the AIRCRAFT # was 208


Continental does indicate which aircraft is on which flight for the past day, current day, and 2 days in the future. I couldn’t get any information on future flights. Go to the flight status to find this information.

The COA flight status page does show the same aircraft each day make a roundtrip (IAH to AUA to IAH). However, different aircraft flew this route on the 15th and the 16th.

While not changing what I said earlier, international flights can be different from domestic flights, especially in a case like IAH/AUA where an airline may only have one flight a day and/or have just one or two destinations flown from the international point.

I looked at flights from LHR to IAH. COA33, a 777-200ER with aircraft number 11, orginated in EWR. COA5, a 777-200ER with aircraft number 17, did make a roundtrip (i.e. IAH-LHR-IAH).

To sum it up, keep track of the aircraft numbers to see what happens. It could be that on international routes to airports where COA has a limited number of destinations that the aircraft does do a roundtrip while at other stations where there are more destinations then the aircraft may not necessarily do a roundtrip.


:smiling_imp: :stuck_out_tongue: :laughing: