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...definition between 3 and 4 digit flight...

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Question by drv58
Submitted on 2/27/2004
Related FAQ: Airline information on-line on the Internet FAQ
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what is the definition between 3 and 4 digit flight numbers?

Answer by greatmagdu
Submitted on 4/20/2004
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four-digit flight number means a "codeshare" flight - when the flight is promoted by one airline, however the aircraft is owned and operated by another airline.

for example if you are flying on a United Airines flight UA8840 from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA), it is actually operated by Lufthansa (the German airline) - so the aircraft, and crew on that flight will be Lufthansa's (and the quality of service too!), but the tickets will be sold & promoted by United as if it is their own flight.

Basically this is a marketing gimmick, very widely used in the airline world


Answer by jl9
Submitted on 11/16/2005
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While greatmagdu's answer often applies, this is not necessarily true.  A four digit number may be operated by the airline offering the ticket.  UA1210 may very well be operated by United Airlines.  Higher numbers are generally reserved however for codeshare flights.  Often numbers  in the 2000, 3000, and 4000 ranges are reserved for "regional carriers" which operate for the Airline (e.g. SkyWest for United) under the airline's regional branding and according to their schedules.  Sometimes these carriers are subsidiaries of the airline offering the tickets and in other times they are contractors. Numbers further up are then reserved for codeshare flights where two independent airlines have entered into a marketing agreement by which baggage is transferred automatically and seats can be assigned by another airline.


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