why does each plane have 1-3 assigned flights only?


I noticed when I do flight tracking the same airplanes repeat thier destinations. They dont do different destinations…never… Why is that?
I also noticed that they dont have returning trips. For example, it is the first flight of the day for flight 45 to denver. Then it is the second and last flight of the day to san francisco and now it arrives, it does not return to the city the first flight was but the following day it is there( the city of departure to denver) Id apreciate it if you would help me. I cant figure this out :slight_smile:


They deflate them upon arrival, pack them in a box and FEDEX them back to their point of origin! :laughing:

Seriously, how are you tracking these aircraft? By flight number? What makes you think the same aircraft is always used for a specific flight? The same plane might be flight 311 to ALB from PHL today and flight 209 from ALB to SYR tomorrow.


There’s less confusion if an airline uses a flight number in only one direction. Can you imagine the confusion if an airline had a flight 45 from DEN to SFO *and *SFO to DEN?

Additionally, it’s rare within the USA to have the same aircraft operate exclusively between two given cities every day. An aircraft may serve many different cities during the course of a week. The aircraft must also eventually be routed so that it goes to a maintenance station.

Here’s what a single aircraft may do during the week.

Day Routing

There are exceptions, of course. One that sticks out for me is when the original Braniff was operating. They had one 747 that flew the same route every day between DAL (later, DFW) and HNL.

If a flight operates more than once a week at the same time between the same two points, it’s more convenient to give it the same flight number rather than to have different flight numbers. This reduces the number of lines required for a flight in the timetable and in the reservations system. As an example, Southwest operates about 15 flights a day between OAK and LAX. Can you imagine how many lines would be required in the timetable or reservations system if each flight was given a different number? 15 flights a day times 7 days a week would mean having 105 lines. And that is just for one city pair!

One thing I’ve noticed is that quite often airlines operating overseas flights will have one flight number going one direction and the same flight number plus one going the other direction (for example: 1 from JFK to LHR and 2 from LHR to JFK).

Often times, low flight numbers (i.e. less than 10) will be assigned to prestigious routes such as JFK/SFO and JFK/LAX.

If you are interested in aircraft scheduling, please see the entries by Bill Owen on the Southwest Airlines Blog.


but every time I do flight tracking in flight aware the same aircraft fly the same route. :question:


but every time I do flight tracking in flight aware the same aircraft fly the same route. :question:


Please - only press “submit” once.

While it may be the same aircraft type, it’s not the same aircraft. On Monday, for example, it may be a 737 registered N221WN while on Tuesday it’s a 737 registered N456SW.


Thye’d run out of flight numbers, too…
I can hear it now.
“Southwest 1135638, cleared for takeoff…”


yeah but for example AA flights to cancun from miami I akways checked and it it always a 737 never a singla other aircraft not even American airline’s star plane the 757


So what? That’s the plane the airline has decided best serves the needs of that particular flight based on distance to be flown and passengers carried.

E.g., the airline prefers to send an 85% full 737 on the trip rather than a 50% full 767.