Have you ever boarded a plane with a flight number that made you pause and think, “Hmm, I wonder if they planned it that way?”
Turns out that there are many iconic or unusual flight numbers based on airline history, superstition, luck– or plain old cleverness. For example, United’s flight #500 from Indianapolis to San Francisco pays homage to the Indy 500.
When this post first appeared on TravelSkills, readers sent us some interesting additions.
One reader suggested a flight 420 should originate in Denver, due to Colorado’s recent foray into recreational marijuana. When we checked, there is was! United flight 420 DEN-LAX. And if you don’t know what the 420 connotation is, see this.
Another reader wrote: “Ryanair’s (FR) flight 666 operates daily DUB (Dublin) – BHX (Birmingham)…known locally as the devil’s flight. Think twice before boarding!!!”
And then there’s this: “We flew back from London to Los Angeles on Virgin Atlantic 007. The whole way back, while awake, we kept quoting Bond movies.”
There are plenty more if you poke around. Here’s what I was able to snag… I’m sure that there are others, so please share your finds in the comments!
First off, let’s look at JetBlue, which seems to be the most creative when it comes to flight numbers. JetBlue #1600 flies from Washington National to Boston Logan (1600 Pennsylvania Ave being the President’s address). The very patriotic JetBlue #1776 flies from Philadelphia PHL to Boston Logan. (US Airways assigns #1776 to its flight from Boston to Philly). JetBlue #66 flies Albuquerque to New York JFK honoring the famous roadway Route 66 below. Jetblue flight #212 (also the area code for New York City) flies LAS-JFK.
Flight #1 – There are lots of Flight #1s out there, and they usually signify a key route of the airline…usually historic, or a flight the airline is particularly proud of. For example, British Airways flight #1 flies from London’s close in City (LCY) Airport to New York-JFK and BA #2 flies from New York to London. Those flight numbers used to apply to British Airway’s iconic Concorde flights between London Heathrow and New York Kennedy Airports, but were reassigned when BA launched its classy all-business class A318 flights between these financial capitals. (See our British Airways Concorde Trip Report!)
- Delta #1: New York JFK – London Heathrow
- American #1: New York JFK – Los Angeles LAX
- Singapore Airlines #1: San Francisco > Hong Kong > Singapore (I thought SIA would assign flights #1 & #2 to its new nonstop, but alas, those will be flights 31 & 32)
- Air France #1: New York JFK – Paris Charles de Gaulle
- Air New Zealand #1: London Heathrow > Los Angeles > Auckland
- JetBlue #1: New York JFK – Ft Lauderdale (Its first ever route)
- Japan Air Lines #1: San Francisco SFO – Tokyo Haneda HND
- Hawaiian Air #1: Los Angeles LAX – Honolulu HNL
- Emirates #1: Dubai DXB – London Heathrow LHR
- Virgin America #1: San Francisco SFO – Washington National DCA
- Virgin Atlantic #001: London Heathrow – Newark
Lucky flight numbers – Both 7 and 8 are considered lucky numbers… 7 is usually associated with flights to Las Vegas, while 8 is applied to many Asia-bound flights.
Appealing to those betting on the lucky 7s are Virgin America’s inaugural flight #777 which flew from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and JetBlue #777 which is flying from Boston to Las Vegas. Spirit Airways flight 777 flies from Ft Lauderdale to Vegas. AirTran #777 flights from Baltimore to Las Vegas.
The number 8 is considered lucky in many Asian cultures, so it’s frequently applied to key flights to that region. For example, United’s flight #888 flies from San Francisco to Beijing. British Airways flight #8 is on London-Chengdu. KLM’s flight #888 is on Amsterdam-Hong Kong. Hawaiian’s #8 flies from Honolulu to Las Vegas. Cathay Pacific’s #888 flies Hong Kong > Vancouver > New York JFK.
On the flip side of lucky, there are not a lot of Flight #13s out there… but I did find XL Airways #13 on SFO-Paris and American #13 from Chicago ORD to Orange County. How would you feel about boarding a flight #13?
What other unusual or iconic flight numbers did I miss? Please share your favorites below!
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