View Full Version : Scheduled Aircraft Type changes

21st Oct 2017, 18:48
How far in advance would an airline change the type of a/c used on a scheduled flight?

For example, according to FR24, for 8 out of 10 flights (on the same route) an airline has used the 777-200, but on 2 occasions, it has used the 777-300.

I have a fight in just over 2 weeks, and was wondering what the chances were of the a/c being changed from the advertised one on its website once I have chosen my seat.


21st Oct 2017, 20:28
An IROP (IRegular OPeration) situation is what forces an airline to swap tails or types, and this can happen at any time. I've seen some IROPs that are managed before the first passenger comes on, others that require a quick tail swap and result in a delay, yet others that affect the next months' plan resulting in a lot of airplanes and crews being out of position.

Irregular Operations are fairly self-explanatory - they are anything that stops an aircraft or its crew from completing the flight on time in the aircraft tail assigned to the flight. This could be non-scheduled maintenance, airspace, weather; really, anything that disrupts normal operations. I've never worked for an airline that publically published how often a flight was swapped because that's not what most people care about. They want to know how often the flight actually leaves on time and they couldn't care less about what type of airplane it is. I mean, we've all heard someone say something along the lines of "I'm flying on a BoBusardier E-Jet" or something similar.

With that said and thinking over my last year, I'd have to say I've swapped tails or types on maybe 5 to 10% of my flights. Sometimes it seems to happen all in a row while on the flip side I've gone months without an IROP.

22nd Oct 2017, 00:54
Sometimes a different type is used on a different day of the week (lighter loads). Could it be that the 8 out of 10 cats you saw on FR24 was always planned that way?

22nd Oct 2017, 08:36
Swiss (LX) uses the same row numbers on their A319/320/321 fleet. The A319s have rows 1-16; 29-36, the A320s have rows 1-17; 26-36 while the A321s has rows 1-39. (None have row 13, which is silly.)

This idea minimises reseating for aircraft upgrades, and makes it easier for equipment downgrades.

They haven’t continued this idea for the C100/C300 though. Maybe it doesn’t work as well as hoped.

22nd Oct 2017, 12:37
Thanks for the info everyone.

22nd Oct 2017, 19:32
I recall using same flight number LHR-MUC-LHR and having a 320 or 321 depending on day of the week. you also got 757 interchanged with 767 as they were operated by the same crew.

22nd Oct 2017, 22:15
I checked in online and, as booked, got a seat on a 747-400. On arrival at the airport my nicely home printed boarding pass was torn up and I got a new seat on the 777-300 that actually operated.

Same year, when we boarded the outbound A320 the flight deck advised us this wasn't the plane we should have used but one switched from another flight. In that case I'm pretty certain that by swapping the two A320s the airline had 2 slightly late departures rather than one on time and the other sufficiently delayed that EU compensation might have been due.

As others have said, quite apart from IROPS I've just described the same flight can be scheduled for significantly different planes on certain days because of planned loads. Bear in mind that it can be cargo capacity that drives some changes, not just passenger loads.