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Percent full

Old 22nd Nov 2019, 18:30
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Percent full

Is there any way to find out how full certain flights usually are? Over the recent past, it seems that every flight I take (usually between 2 and 4 return flights [per year) from the UK to random places) is full, or almost full, whereas on the 1 or 2 occasions each year that my wife flies, she usually finds she gets a row of seats to herself.... so this got me thinking if there may be a website or another way of finding out how full flights are at different times of the year, between specified locations.
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 08:58
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Doubt it - that's VERY sensitive information - in fact some of the most commercially sensitive info an airline holds I 'd have thought
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 15:44
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Yup, that sort of data is highly highly commercially sensitive.
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 18:41
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Oh, so I am going to be saddled with always flying on flights that are crammed full, then? Ah well......
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 20:16
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Paul, even if there was such a site it still wouldn't guarantee anything. A flight can be showing a 75% load when a few hours prior to departure it fills up with pax either from the airline's own earlier cancelled flight or that from another carrier. At major hubs there are always pax that have missed their earlier connection and are now booked on your flight. It can of course happen the other way around in that a full flight can end up with empty seats due to missed connections. These are only just a few example of numerous permutations. Then there are seasonal and daily flows in one direction or the other. You can try and go for off peak flights but even that is no guarantee. A large group might be booked on what would normally be a lighter flight. It's a lottery!
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 04:01
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Nowadays, the computers are very good at filling aircraft. The other week, we were on a Friday mid-afternoon LHR ~ PRG and the A320 was remarkably full. The flights with a row of seats available are few and far between. If your wife can find them, Paul Lupp, then she is better than the computer!
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 08:57
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Mid Morning or mid afternoon is often best on where there is an early and a late flight as well

Sometimes the last flight is good when most of the traffic is heading in the opposite direction
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 01:03
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
Mid Morning or mid afternoon is often best on where there is an early and a late flight as well

Sometimes the last flight is good when most of the traffic is heading in the opposite direction
Yes but airlines alternate equipment on routes to accommodate demand, I used to travel regularly with Austrian LHR/VIE, some 4 services daily, 3 of them A320/1''s but the mid-afternoon service was a F70.

Closer to my current location Cathay operate a feeder route HKG/Cebu/HKG, it's only a 2.5 hour leg so no restriction on what equipment they utilise, my outward flight was supposed to be an A340 but was an A330, my return flight was supposed to be an A330 but was an A340 and thereafter I even saw them utilising a B747 on the route. The route has since gone from once to twice daily but one is never likely to know much in advance if they may be flying on an A330, an A350 or a B777.

And I recall that Lufthansa would do similar also, one day maybe an A319, next day an A320 or A321 etc. Ukraine International also, at the time they operated B737-300's, 400's and 500's, they would chop and change to accommodate passenger demand.

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Old 25th Nov 2019, 09:40
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Yes I've flown on regular routes where it's A319, A320 or A321 depending on timing through the day - guess that's the advantage of modern aircraft "families".
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 17:36
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.,,I even saw them utilising a B747 on the route.
The last time I flew Asiana, from Saigon to Seoul, I was expecting the usual 330 or 777, when their last 744 showed up. That was an unexpected bonus. Probably the last time Iíll ever fly on one.
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 07:11
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The usual aircraft on Manila to Davao are Airbus A320/1, my last two flights have been Airbus A340 and Boeing 747-400, maybe they needed the extra cargo capacity as the cabins were relatively empty.
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 10:48
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that's VERY sensitive information - in fact some of the most commercially sensitive info an airline holds I 'd have thought
Yes, I'm sure such information is not made available by the airlines. But now that I think about it, I'm kind of surprised that no enterprising person, or Tripadvisor-type entity, has made a crowdsourced app to collect and analyse such data. It would be pretty easy to make an app where pax can, during or after their flight, enter the flight number and date and click a button for "25% full", "50% full", "75% full", "sardine can", or whatever. The incentive to participate would be access to the consolidated data.
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 11:44
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In my opinion such an app would be a complete waste of time and serve no useful purpose at all for reasons already given above - and more.
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Old 26th Nov 2019, 12:27
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Originally Posted by BRUpax View Post
In my opinion such an app would be a complete waste of time and serve no useful purpose at all for reasons already given above - and more.
Quite possibly........ and when there is only one flight per day to the destination by a nominated airline, there is no need to work out which flight is the best to take on any day! - even if it is at a personally inconvenient time and also suffers from delays
It may however help one to decide to fly on a different day of the week, or at a different time of the year (eg for vacation).


My question was prompted by a recent experience of flying LHR-YVR (and the return journey a week later). BA only offer one flight per day, leaving LHR c5.30pm and arriving in Vancouver around 8pm in my case (just before the Canadians put their clocks back an hour for winter, but after we in the UK had done this). The flight was about an hour late leaving due to "weather", something that seems to catch out LHR and BA on a regular basis. I would have preferred a mid-morning to lunchtime flight so that arrival was also at a more reasonable hour, but no alternative times were available. Similarly I would have preferred an earlier departure time on my way back but there was no option.
It was also galling to find out that the A380 that was being used on this route earlier in the year (when I made my booking) had changed to a 747 a few weeks before I flew - the cabin of the 747 being somewhat noisier than the A380.

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Old 26th Nov 2019, 15:25
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I see the need Paul Lupp but no app would be up to date as the number of sources that can book a particular flight are myriad. It only needs one sports team to book in 30 seconds after you have looked at it ... bear in mind that, nowadays the carrier's computers aim for each and every flight to be 100% full. If there is only one rotation a day, that means the carrier cannot justify a second and might, as we read above, simply swap the equipment to cope with a strong demand. This could be for a festival, convention or sports event at destination, that might only happen once a year. There is no telling.
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Old 27th Nov 2019, 07:32
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Originally Posted by PAXboy View Post
The other week, we were on a Friday mid-afternoon LHR ~ PRG and the A320 was remarkably full.
As an aside I'd say as a frequent short haul traveller in/out of LHR I know to my cost (literally) that busy Friday PM flights are now pretty much a "given" on any short haul route ex LHR due to the UK based long weekenders, who actually start to travel outbound late Thursday. If you have an ability to look at prices vs. days you'll see there's a similar phenomenon inbound to LHR on Monday flights.....

As to the general point, yep, the airlines have got very good at matching prices to demand, and the internet has made it so easy for people to chase the cheap fares, so much so that there is rarely a "quiet" flight or a quiet period on a route.

As an example from a crew POV maybe 20 plus years ago we would expect to see plenty of empty seats on Christmas Day flights.. nowadays we expect them to be busy, even to/from the non exotic destinations, as the airlines proactively drop their fares and people get used to being more flexible with their travelling plans in order to take advantage of cheaper flights...
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