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How can I tell if the aircraft (a.k.a. "equipment") that I will be flying on is at the departure airport? For that matter, is there a general way to tell where it is (e.g. in flight from another destination)?

marked as duplicate by Gayot Fow, chx, reirab, Giorgio, mts Apr 1 '17 at 6:50

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  • You could try checking the airline's app. I believe, for example, United provides a "where's my plane feature". This allowed me to know my flight would be delayed before it was even announced since it was delayed at its departure airport hours before my flight. – Sandy Chapman Mar 31 '17 at 21:57

I use Flight aware for this. Here's an image of a flight that leaves in an hour or so:

enter image description here

Both Where is my plane now? and Track inbound plane (which I've circled) lead to a page just like this, but for the incoming flight. It's a great way to know how true Air Canada's favourite excuse, "late arrival of the inbound flight", really is.

  • 1
    That's what I expected, but I'm not seeing it. – orome Mar 31 '17 at 18:14
  • 2
    Then I would guess that the airline hasn't provided that information to whatever source FA pulls it from. It's possible your metal is already at the airport so there is no "inbound aircraft." It's also possible something is preventing what would have been your inbound aircraft from coming to you, and people are scrambling trying to find you some metal. – Kate Gregory Mar 31 '17 at 18:24
  • Yeah, Kate is right. Some airlines don't provide this information to FA at all. – reirab Mar 31 '17 at 23:06

Unaware of the quicker approach in Flightaware, I had used a workaround making use of Flightradar24 previously:

  1. Search for your flight or use the direct link https://www.flightradar24.com/flight/ba202 where BA202 is your flight number. You get a results page with the flights of the last and next week.

enter image description here

  1. Click the aircraft registration code (the second item, in brackets, in the aircraft column) and you will see the previous and current flight of your plane. Since your plane in this case has not been specified yet, I am providing the previous' days aircraft for illustration: G-VIIN, i.e. https://www.flightradar24.com/reg/g-viin is your link.

enter image description here

  1. By clicking the aircraft symbol to the right of the most recent flight, you can figure out where your equipment is currently located.
  • 1
    Even though Flightradar doesn't yet know today's aircraft, the history of yesterday's one does show that the outbound flight corresponding to BA202 is BA203. That seems to be a quicker procedure than manually analyzing airline schedules like I did, +1. – Henning Makholm Mar 31 '17 at 19:17
  • Interesting! They've assigned tomorrow's but not yet today's. – orome Mar 31 '17 at 20:56

There's yet 7 hours until the departure of that flight. Presumably the airlines's operations department has not yet filed a flight plan, which tracking websites would be using to match a particular aircraft to the future flight.

However, I note that the flight you linked to (in a comment on Kate's answer) is BA 202, which goes from an overseas airport to the operator's hub in London. Thus there's a really good chance that it will be operated by an aircraft that has just completed an outbound flight in the other direction.

Searching on BA's website (for flights a week from now such as not to confuse it) we see that flights from London arrive in Boston on Fridays at 13:30, 19:35, 20:50, and 22:20, and leave at 07:50, 19:20, 21:35, and 22:40.

Evidently one aircraft stays in Boston overnight, so assuming they depart in the same order they arrive in, you want the one arriving at 19:35, which is BA 203. (As a check on this conclusion, the flight numbers are next to each other, which is usually the case for outbound/inbound flight pairs).

Flightradar24 shows BA 203 as a Boeing 777-200, registration G-VIIC, which is currently almost halfway between Ireland and Newfoundland (and expected to arrive about 20 minutes early).

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