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There's a daily flight, let's call it AB 1234 which leaves at 11am with a flight duration of more than 13 hours. I noticed that every day, the same flight AB 1234 leaves at 11am. It seems physically impossible for the same plane to travel 13 hours and return in about a similar amount of time to still make the next day flight.

Is it possible for two or more different planes to share the same flight number?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 17 down vote accepted

A flight number is simply that: a number for a flight, not a number for a plane.

The planes are just an implementation detail to make flights happen.

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Some flights don't even use the same plane type every day. Sometimes flight numbers are used for different destinations on different days. Here's a current example on Flightaware.com: United 831. For four recent days, the flight operated from Washington Dulles to Cancun. Then for the following three days, the flight operated from New Orleans to Denver. That pattern repeats. On most days, the flight is on an Airbus A320 (for both of the unique itineraries), but on January 19, the equipment is listed as a Boeing 757-200.

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I think you are confusing aircraft tail number with flight number - the former is a unique registration number for each plane, while the latter simply describes a unique route operated. When airlines operate flights on a codeshare basis, one physical aircraft could be flying the same physical route sold under different flight numbers too!

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