If you look at the history of UAL898 over the last few days, the FA logs appear to suggest that UAL dispatchers are routinely subbing B733, B735, B757 and A320 aircraft for scheduled B772 equipment from Beijing to Dulles. Cool. Must be them super-duper-long rangers.
Basically, the eqpt. filed for the KIAD-KBOS “tag-on” “direct” flight is also being displayed as the eqpt. for ZBAA-KIAD flight.
It quacks like a bug.



Does anyone have an explanation? Why is the equipment for the ZBAA->KIAD leg of UAL898 consistently showing up as an obviously incorrect narrow body aircraft in the FA history? It should be a B772.

The anomaly seems to have begun on Nov 18th, it was OK before that.


The explanation is that it is a two segment flight. The domestic leg is a narrow body while the international leg is a 777. Whoever is entering the flight is entering one code for both legs rather than a separate code for each leg.

The flight to ZBAA (UAL897) shows the correct equipment from BOS to IAD and IAD to ZBAA.

Looking at the history of UAL898, my guess is that the wrong aircraft code is entered by UAL.


Thanks for the response. My thread starter post was perhaps not clear because of my lame attempt at humor. Yes, I know it is a two segment flight, and that the domestic leg is a narrow body.

I was hoping that FA staff would verify whether the wrong equipment type is actually in the incoming raw data from the FAA or whether there is some anomalous handling of the data within FA. On other flight trackers, I have seen the correct (B772) equipment displayed even on the days when FA shows A320.

I find it hard to believe that the UAL dispatcher filing the ZBAA to KIAD (B772) flight plan would be influenced by what a UA timetable says the equipment is (A320) on the continuing flight out of IAD. This is why I think that the ZBAA to KIAD flight plan generated by UAL probably does not have A320 as the filed equipment type.

The UA898 oddity suddenly began on Nov 20th and (with one exception) has been that way every day.

It should be noted that other flights from ZBAA (e.g. UAL888) that have a tag-on domestic flight leg do not exhibit the same behavior.


The good thing about FlightAware is that they don’t correct the flights. They give us the FAA feed in all of its gory. The other trackers may correct the aircraft but who’s to say they are 100% correct in fixing it?

This situation has also happened with some Continental flights. Search the forums and you should be able to find it. It was a flight from China to EWR to IAH, with a 738 shown as the equipment used.


There appear to be three possibilities.

a) The a/c type is incorrect in the flight plan that UAL submits to the FAA.
b) UAL actually the files correct a/c type in the flight plan with the FAA, but the FAA messes something up while processing it and the FAA output feed has the wrong a/c type.
c) FAA output has correct a/c type, but FlightAware displays it incorrectly.

If I understand you correctly, you are saying © is ruled out because FlightAware does not change what comes from the FAA, and that (a) is the most likely reason. Thanks.


I’d say B is the most correct with A being a possibility and C having little possibility.


This is actually a bug in our software related to international departures (which show up in our data feed from the FAA hours after departure). We’re aware of it, but haven’t isolated why it happens to some flights and not others.


I didn’t know that. Thanks for letting us know. It’s good to know that a company can actually admit to bugs in their software. (Other companies have bugs but calls them “features”."


Thank you for the clarification.

If it helps you track down the issue, note that a flight where this problem is NOT seen is UAL888, while the problem is regularly seen on UAL898. Maybe the issue has something to do with (A) the time you receive the flight plan of the domestic leg; compared to (B) the time at which the data for international leg shows up in the data feed. Perhaps the problem is seen only if (A) happens before (B).