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How to know if connections involve plane changes?

New York City, New...
posts: 1
reviews: 6
How to know if connections involve plane changes?

I am trying to decide between different connecting flight pairs between NYC and Warsaw, and wonder if there's any way to easily determine if any of them involve the same physical plane for both flights. I'm not concerned with disembarking and re-embarking, as I know I'd have to do that anyway - I'm just trying to 1) minimize the possibility of my luggage getting misplaced due to a plane change, or 2) minimize the possibility of missing my connection to a completely different plane if the window between the two is tight. Thanks!

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 41,506
reviews: 57
1. Re: How to know if connections involve plane changes?

The airline web site should tell you what plane you are on.

Usually a connection requires a change of plane.

IF you tell us what exact flight you are considering folks on here can tell you about the connection and the time required to do it easily.

Maryland
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
posts: 33,658
reviews: 50
2. Re: How to know if connections involve plane changes?

Where is the connection? Somewhere in Europe I presume?

It would be very unusual to arrive at a European airport on a transatlantic flight and have the same aircraft continue on to another destination (Warsaw) in Europe.

If I've interpreted the question correctly...you should be able to look at the connecting flight information and find out what type of aircraft is being used, and the airline.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 15,219
reviews: 5
3. Re: How to know if connections involve plane changes?

If you're flying to a European gateway and connecting to WAW, it's an almost 100% certainty you'll have a plane change, from a international widebody to a short haul narrowbody.

Leicester, United...
posts: 1,275
reviews: 1
4. Re: How to know if connections involve plane changes?

Count on having to change planes.

With the advent of the hub and spoke system, the days when a flight would make one or more stops on its way to its final destination are pretty much gone. Southwest is one of the very few major airlines to eschew the hub and spoke system, offering flights with stops where passengers just stay on board to their final destination. But of course they are domestic only.

I can think of a few international routings where passengers remain on the plane during a stopover (Singapore Airlines has a weekly flight from Manchester with a stop in Zurich for example which does not involve deplaning) but they are very rare.

As others have said, the type of aircraft will be the clue.

Edited: 10:14 am, February 08, 2013
Fredericia, Denmark
Destination Expert
for Bentota, Beruwala, Sri Lanka
posts: 35,281
reviews: 7
5. Re: How to know if connections involve plane changes?

Singapore Airline's daily flight from MAN to SIN goes via MUC.

UK
posts: 39,750
reviews: 81
6. Re: How to know if connections involve plane changes?

and wonder if there's any way to easily determine if any of them involve the same physical plane for both flights

=====

Easy, because unless you fly direct it will require a plane change. It may also involve immigrations, customs, and a terminal change.

So the way to

"1) minimize the possibility of my luggage getting misplaced due to a plane change, or 2) minimize the possibility of missing my connection"

is to pick a direct flight.

London, United...
posts: 14,802
reviews: 22
7. Re: How to know if connections involve plane changes?

Check the flight numbers.

A flight that just stops,,ie to pick up or drop off pax or refuel, keeps the same flight number ( usually) and is usually classified as a direct flight. A non stop flight is a flight that, well, does not stop.

Two different flight numbers is ( again usually) a very strong indication of a change of plane.

However if its connecting flights, it's normally a plane change, which is very different to a direct flight ( as opposed to non stop flight) which simply stops for the reasons mentioned before.

It would appear you have two flights ie connections and as such, very, very likely, two different planes. Connecting flights are not direct flights and direct flights are not non stop flights.

Detroit, MI
Destination Expert
for Detroit, Travel Gadgets and Gear
posts: 5,005
8. Re: How to know if connections involve plane changes?

The only international route where I have ever seen this as a possibility is when Northwest operated from the US to Amsterdam with A330s and also offered flights to Mumbai from AMS. Delta may still do this. It was possible that you could end up on the same aircraft if you routed DTW-AMS-BOM for example, but there is no way to guarantee it. There will be a full crew change, cleaning, catering ,etc. so the plane is going to be on the ground for at least a couple hours. There were multiple A330s transiting AMS all the time, so it would be quite likely you would be on a different aircraft anyway.

It can happen domestically, but again you can't guarantee anything as airlines can always swap aircraft. Back when I chased miles I would often add extra segments on business trips. Instead of DTW-HSV-DTW, I once flew DTW-STL-MEM-HSV-MEM-TPA-DTW (it was actually much cheaper too). I knew I would have the same aircraft between the DTW-STL and STL-HSV legs because the arrival and departure gate were the same.

All that said, you can't control it, so don't worry about it.

Edited: 1:45 pm, February 08, 2013
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
posts: 45,675
reviews: 14
9. Re: How to know if connections involve plane changes?

There is a relatively easy thing you can do to minimise your concerns about misdirected bags or (potentially) missing a flight.

That thing is to allow more than the minimun connection time between the two flights. AIrlines may allow X minutes as the MCT but those times may not have been updated in recent memory to take into account the busyness of airports, the loads on arriving and departing flights (it's rare to find empty seats on some planes now), the potential for weather delays at origin or destination and more.

Depending on the airport at which you will connect, allow twice the MCT if not more, if it will give you a modicum of security about your baggage and about ensuring you make the connection. Better to have to spend a bit of extra time at the terminal building than to miss a flight by five minutes.

Whether you change planes in CDG, AMS, FRA or MUC keep in mind that you will go through immigration at that airport as France, the Netherlands and Germany are (along with Poland) part of Schengen.

Nashville, TN
posts: 4,272
reviews: 8
10. Re: How to know if connections involve plane changes?

There really is no way to guarantee there won't be a change of planes. Even on a direct International flight, you may run into a change of gauge (IE: 777-200 to 777-300). As others have noted, you can check the aircraft type. Be sure to check the subcategories of each aircraft. No guarantee, but it's as close as you'll get.