Stupid flight number question


#1

I was listening to ORD ATC tonight and I heard “Speed Bird 24 Romeo” departing.

It’s not a usual flight number as best I can tell. I’m especially curious about the “R” suffix. I assume this is a repositioning flight or something like that? I have heard a similar alpha suffix on some other flights. Is this something used for maintenance or other repositioning flights? I know some airlines use 9### and for things like that. But the alpha suffix is new to me.

I’m sorry if this has been answered before. I guess I don’t know the proper term to search for to find the answer.

Thanks.

[edit]
I did find this flight leaving about the same time:
flightaware.com/live/flight/BAW2 … /KORD/EGLL

It’s a regular flight. Any insight to the 24 Romeo callsign though?


#2

I believe that speed-bird is an alternate call sign for british airways.


#3

Agreed. It’s the “R” suffix that has me confused.


#4

Speedbird quite often adds a letter to its flight numbers.

United does it quite often, also.

In both cases, they often have the same or similar sounding flight numbers in the air at the same time. Adding a suffix makes it easier for the airline.

The tickets for the passengers still show the flight number as indicated in the timetable.


#5

That would explain it. Listening to ORD there’s a darn good chance I have heard it before from UA. I know I have heard it before but tonight was the first time I made a note of the number.

Thanks for the help.


#6

BA does this all the time. BA 195 operates at BAW26E. BA 289 is BAW28A IIRC. We’ve mapped most of them to figure out what they should be so users can track them under the flight number on their ticket.


#7

That would also explain why I found the 24R flight number in FA history a couple of times. A couple that fell through the cracks. Not a knock on FA, you guys are great. It can’t be easy to keep tabs when airlines do stuff like that!

flightaware.com/live/flight/BAW24R