By Chris McGinnis
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?”
It 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 new flight #500 from Indianapolis to San Francisco pays homage to the Indy 500.
I spent a week on the horn with airlines trying to come up with the most clever or iconic flight numbers, and here’s what I was able to snag. I’m sure that there are others, so please share your finds in the comments!
British Airways’ Concorde Flight #2 used to take the supersonic jet from London to New York .(Photo: Chris McGinnis)
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 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 Vegas to JFK.
Flight #1: There are lots of Flight #1s out there, and they usually signify a key route for the airline that’s either historic or one it’s proud of. For example, British Airways flight #1 flies from London’s LCY Airport to New York-JFK, and BA #2 flies from New York to London. Those flight numbers used to apply to British Airways’ iconic Concorde flights between London Heathrow and New York Kennedy Airports, but they were reassigned when BA launched its classy all-business-class A318 flights between these financial capitals.
Singapore Air SQ1 flies San Francisco to Singapore via Hong Kong. (Photo: Chris McGinnis)
Delta #1: New York JFK-London Heathrow
American #1: New York JFK-Los Angeles LAX
Singapore Airlines #1: San Francisco > Hong Kong > Singapore
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.
Flights to Las Vegas frequently get lucky numbers (Photo: Chris McGinnis)
In a more James Bond-ish vein, Virgin Atlantic’s #007 flies from London to Los Angeles.
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.
What other unusual or iconic flight numbers did I miss? Please share your favorites below!
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