I have a trip booked for a few months from now on Delta for BNA->LAX->SEA. Both flights are booked on the same type of equipment (737-800, coded 73H) and the second flight is scheduled to leave 40 minutes after the first arrives, but I'm curious whether the flights will be on the same 737-800 or not.

Obviously, it would be more convenient if the flights used the same aircraft, as this would mean not needing to quickly get to another gate and not having to worry about delays in the first flight possibly causing a missed connection.

I'm aware of options like flightradar24 and flightaware for tracking an inbound flight after the flight plan has been filed with the relevant civil aviation authority (i.e. usually just on the day of the flight,) but I'm specifically curious if there's any way to find out what aircraft is scheduled to fly a particular route much further in the future (i.e. a few months in this case.) While, in the case of schedules that remain constant all year, one could just look to see whether the same equipment was being used to operate both flights now or not, in many cases (including the one that prompted this question,) one or both of the flights involved isn't being operated right now (e.g. seasonal flights or flights that haven't started operations, yet.)

Of course, there's no guarantee that the equipment scheduled now will actually end up flying the route months from now, but it would be interesting to know which aircraft is scheduled, anyway.

2 Answers 2


A few months out, any scheduling will be rough only, and thus even if you could get access to it, it would largely be meaningless.

However based on this being a 40 minute connection, you can pretty much guarantee that it will NOT be the same plane, simply because Delta (and most airlines) would not schedule such a short connection for the plane itself.

It takes time to get all of the passengers, baggage and cargo off the plane, and then to get all of the new passengers, baggage, cargo and food onto the new flight. This time is referred to as the "turnaround time" for the plane, and obviously varies based on the size of the aircraft involved, and the amount of baggage/cargo/etc.

Whilst airlines do try and keep "turn" times as low as possible, none of the major US carriers that do assigned seats will plan to schedule a 737-800 to turn in only 40 minutes - more normally it will be at least about 60 minutes.

(Note that's not to say that you won't find cases where it's 40 minutes or less, but these will almost always be due to rescheduling due to delayed flights, cancellations, etc).

So no, your 2 flights will not be on the same plane - however all of Delta's gates at LAX are in close proximity to each other, so the time to get between flights will be quick!

  • 2
    While I'd agree that around 60 minutes of turnaround time seems to be pretty normal for Delta for domestic operations, the schedules I was referring to were the schedules in the passenger booking system, which tend to inflate the actual expected gate-to-gate time to make the airlines look more 'on-time' (and help prevent missed connections.) Indeed, the 738 scheduled to fly BNA->LAX today is scheduled to depart BNA only 35 minutes after it's scheduled to arrive at BNA in the booking system. In that case, even the actual FAA flight plan has only 41 minutes scheduled for turnaround.
    – reirab
    Jan 14, 2016 at 8:09

Some long haul aircraft are assigned to specific routes, but domestic aircraft are usually assigned as needed. Likely the only future "assignment" a domestic aircraft will get is a date with maintenance for a check up. And an airline the size of Delta has many 737s at its beck and call, so the chances of you flying the same aircraft on two consecutive flights is slim.

I fly lots of long haul and sometimes am on a connecting flight that carries the same flight number and is serviced by the same aircraft model, but different airplanes fly each leg.

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