FlightAware Discussions

Matching the right flight using API

After doing an in-depth investigation on the data, we have a few questions which we want to check with you:

A reminder, In our process, the user enters his flight number with the airline code and departure date as “DAL503 on 22.1” and we need to show him his flight -> only 1 option

  1. what is the meaning of ident and actual_ident fields on AirlineFlightScheduleStruct that returns from AirlineFlightSchedules API?
    for example, DAL503 on 22.1 returns Array size 6, which includes this flight number 5 time as actual_ident and the last one, uses for a different flight origin and destination

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we can show the user the first option, but how can we be sure this is the right one? Which “ident” number should we choose?

  1. What should be the right format of the airline and flightno inputs on AirlineFlightSchedules API ?

We take the flight number and airline code that the user enters as 1 string and split it into 2 strings: 1 as the airline and 1 as the flight number

What should be the logic?


  • W62846 - > airline = W6 and flightno= 2846

  • DAL503 -> airline = DL and flightno= 503

This is what we think:

  • If the string has more than 1 letters, take all the letters and the rest should be the flight number

  • If the string has 1 letter, take the first 2 characters, and the rest should be the flight number

  • If the string has 0 letters, ask the user to check it in google to know the airline

Is it current, or we must ask from the user to provide the airline and the flight number separately and validate first the airline?

  1. does the same flight number can be used on the same day on different hours? This is what we see in the first example (1 to KEWR and the second to KPDX)

In schedules if the actual_ident is populated it means the entry represents a codeshare where the carrier has a ticketing agreement with the carrier in in the actual_ident. In this case the ident represents the codeshare value that may appear in ticketing or booking systems and the actual_ident represents the operating carrier. If the actual_ident value is empty then the result is the operating carrier.

FlightAware will track the the flight as the operating carrier. In a case where the user has entered a codeshare ident you will likely want to display the same carrier they input, but internally track what the actual operating ident is for later queries.

Whenever possible three letter ICAO codes should be used to identify airlines in FlightXML. It is possible to use 2 character IATA codes; however, IATA codes are not globally unique and may generate unexpected results.

Yes, it is possible that the same flight number can be used for multiple operations in a 24 hour period. How flight numbers are used to identify routes and operations is up to the operator, there’s no industry rule.


thanks for your replay, I suggest to solve each issue separately.

in the first example, we got 6 results by using the flight departure date and flight number (this is the only information we ask our users to provide and after he fill it, we should him only 1 result). how can we know which one should we show the user?
You can see in the print screen that all the first 5 are for the same flight, but the last one, doesn’t