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How to Find Your Flight Number

How to Find Your Flight Number: A Comprehensive Guide for Travelers

Joanna Teljeur
Written By Joanna Teljeur
7 minutes read
Last Updated: June 17, 2024

Have you ever wondered what all those numbers on your airline ticket mean? While they might seem completely random, there are some interesting and important facts about fight numbers and how they can help shape your entire airline experience.

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Our experts here at AirAdvisor have compiled everything you need to know about flight numbers, what they mean, how to find them, and why you should keep track of them during your travels.

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What is a flight number and why is it important?

In the airline industry, the flight number is a series of letters and numbers that contain important information about your upcoming flight. This code is important because it distinguishes your flight from all the others.

Your flight number will have 2 letters followed by up to 4 numbers that can help you determine:

  • Your airline
  • Your departure gate
  • Your flight route
  • Your flight status

Passengers traveling at airport

Understanding the components of a flight number

Identifying the airline code in your flight number

The first two digits of your flight number contain two letters (or a letter and a number) assigned by the IATA that identify the airline operating your flight.

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For example, if UA1234 is your flight number, then UA represents your carrier. In this case, your airline is United.

If your flight number begins with AA, it means you are flying American Airlines.

Here are some other codes for well-known airlines:

CODE

AIRLINE

DL

Delta

BA

British Airways

WN

Southwest

B6

JetBlue

AC

Air Canada

AF

Air France

Decoding the digits in a flight number

The numbers that follow the airline code will tell you some interesting information about your upcoming flight!

Each airline has its own way of assigning numbers, but there are some things that all flight numbers have in common. Many times, you can figure out the direction, time, and route of your flight all by the digits that follow the airline code.

Airline boarding pass map airplane

What is the significance of even and odd flight numbers?

Generally speaking, flights that travel north and east will have an even flight number, while odd numbers indicate flights traveling south and west.

UA1234 - United Airlines flight traveling north or east

UA1231 - United Airlines flight traveling south or west

How to find the flight route using the flight number

Most of the time, airlines will use numbers to indicate in and outbound flights.

Outbound flights tend to be a digit lower than the return flight.

Here’s an example:

If UA1234 is the number used for an outbound flight, then UA1235 will be used for the return trip. Your individual flight numbers might not reflect this because these are used by the airline to determine which route their planes are traveling.

So, if UA1723 is flying from SFO to KOA, then UA1724 will be assigned to the flight that travels from KOA to SFO.

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TIP: Lower flight numbers tend to be assigned flights that are considered more important or heavily traveled while high numbers like 8888 are usually assigned to “ferry” or chartered flights.

How to find your flight number?

Your flight number will usually be very easy to find on your ticket and flight confirmation receipt whether you’ve been given this info on paper, in an email, or via an airline or travel app.

While the exact placement of your flight number can differ among airlines, you can usually find it near other important information like your name and the name of the airline.

Checking your e-ticket or boarding pass

If you’ve already been issued a boarding pass, you’ll find your flight number in large type somewhere near the middle or the top of your paper or e-boarding pass.

Airlines try to make it easy for you to locate this code because you will need it to find your gate and departure time, your baggage carousel when you land, and to allow airline staff to assist you if you need additional help.

Flight ticket and eticket boarding pass

Looking for the flight number on monitors at the airport

Even though you will have your flight number on your ticket and boarding pass, you can also find information about your flight in the airport on the large arrival and departure boards.

These boards display important and timely information including:

  • Arrival and departure times
  • Flight numbers
  • Destination
  • Gate info, especially gate changes
  • Flight status
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TIP: Enter your flight number into a Google search to find all the relevant info about your flight

Flight numbers on airport monitor

Checking the status of a flight using the flight number

In addition to using your flight number to find the departure time and gate, you can also use it to check the status of your flight. You can do this on the airline’s website or on any number of flight tracker apps.

FlightAware is a free option that you can use to find a variety of data about your flight including any cancellations, delays, or even weather updates all in real time.

Finding a flight number if you have lost your boarding pass or ticket

First, don’t panic! If you can’t find your flight number on any documentation or if you’ve lost it, you’ll be able to get help at the airline’s check-in counter, customer service desk, or customer service hotline. Airline staff can typically locate your flight information by searching your name and birthday.

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Flight cancellations are never fun, especially when flying with a baby. If your flight gets canceled, you might be entitled to compensation. We can help!

Airport tips for first time fliers

If this is your first time flying or if you haven’t flown in a while, you’re probably filled with excitement but at the same time feeling a little overwhelmed.

Well, here are a few airport pointers to help make your journey smooth and easy,

  1. Confirm the weight specifications for your baggage

    Go to your airline’s website and double check the size and weight limitations for carry-on and checked baggage. Fees for baggage or overweight luggage can depend on your ticket and whether you’re flying economy, business, or first class. Bottom line, avoid unnecessary cost and surprises by packing according to your airline’s specific requirements.
  2. Arrive at the airport early

    You’ll want to show up to the airport about 2 hours before your flight is scheduled to leave. If you’re flying internationally or if you’ll be departing from one of the busier airports, then you might want to arrive 3 hours before your flight.

    Arriving early will give you plenty of time to find your way through the airport, get through security, and find your gate. You can also download the My TSA app that lets you check wait times and other information about the security screening process.
  3. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes

    In addition to feeling more relaxed, it’s a good idea to dress comfortably so that you can get through security as quickly as possible.

    Choose shoes that you can remove easily and wear socks so that you don’t have to walk barefooted through the security clearance area. Also, comfortable shoes come in handy for tight connections and last minute gate changes!
  4. Pack important items in your carry-on bag

    If you plan to check your luggage, be sure NOT to pack cash, medications, keys, valuables, and any other essential item. Instead, keep these with you at all times by packing them in a carry-on bag. If your baggage is lost or delayed, you’ll be glad you did.
  5. Make sure that items in your carry-on is TSA compliant

    Along with removing your shoes, belt, and coat/jacket, you’ll also have to remove certain items from your bag. Check the TSA site for detailed info on what you can and can’t carry with you on your flight. This can be a harrowing process, especially during busy travel times, so it’s best if you make sure that you get through the check without any issues.

People Also Ask

Is a PNR code the same as a flight number?

No, a PNR number or code is completely different from your flight number. Your PNR number or booking number is a code that refers to all the information about your flight reservation and can be used to access your flight itinerary and manage your booking.

What flight numbers are no longer used?

Sometimes certain flight numbers will be retired because of past events or they might not be used for superstitious reasons. The flight numbers that were used on the flights that crashed during the September 11th attacks have been retired, and many airlines won’t use the number 13 in a flight number because it is associated with bad luck.

Do airlines use special numbers for certain flights?

Yes! American Airlines has a flight number AA1776 that flies from Boston to Philadelphia. This number was chosen to pay homage to US Independence Day in 1776. Also, most flight numbers with the number 1, as in AA1 will only be given to prestigious flights or flagship routes.

 

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