I'm looking at a potential flight with a short layover (1hr 10 min). How can I determine if I'll be staying on the same plane or switching planes during the layover? Is there something in the flight description that lets me know there's no switch? Or do I have to call the airline to learn this?

I prefer to avoid very short layovers, but a short layover on a flight I'm already on is fine.

  • This may depend on where you're booking through. I know I receive flight numbers and plane types, but I don't know if you'd be given a heads up on if it will be the exact same ;0.
    – Xrylite
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 19:13
  • 9
    If the flight number changes, you're almost certainly changing planes.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 19:33
  • 4
    And even if it happens to be flown with the same aircraft on the day you're traveling, you'll be expected to leave it and take the same walk through the terminal that any other connecting passenger does. Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 19:38
  • @HenningMakholm Huh? I suppose that may happen sometimes, but I've been on lots of flights (US domestic) where passengers continuing to a subsequent destination did not disembark during intermediate stops.
    – nobody
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 15:35
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    @AndrewMedico: Then it's one direct flight, not two different flights that just happen have the same aircraft assigned to them that day. Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


Short answer: if both flights have the same flight number, you are probably staying on the same plane. If the flight number changes, you are connecting to a different aircraft.

Alternate answer: if the airline told you what city you are changing in and told you what time you land and take off in that city, you are connecting to a different aircraft. In the circumstance where you are staying on the same aircraft, they usually just tell you that your plane will be making a stop, without telling you where or when.

This is true 97% of the time. Rarely, the airline messes around with flight numbers, sometimes to disguise a connection as a direct flight, and this rule doesn't hold.

See also: What's the difference between a direct and a non-stop flight?

  • 3
    Sorry, this is not true, at least with U.S. carriers, who are fond of scheduling direct flights that have a different aircraft types on different legs. E.g., AA has CDG-ORD-SAN where CDG-ORD is a widebody and ORD-SAN is a narrowbody. Do not assume that a flight number means anything at all.
    – jetset
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 5:31

One way you can check is to look at the airline's flight status for the flights on days before yours (e.g., check the flights now). If you see that the two legs are operated by different types of aircraft, then you know that you will have to change planes and likely change gates. If you see that the two legs are operated by the same aircraft, and the first leg flew in to the same gate as the second flight departed from, then that is a hint (but not a guarantee) that the airline operates it as the same plane. But even then, the airline could change it's mind in the future. You could then check again the morning of your flight to see if the inbound and outbound flights are scheduled for the same gate.

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