Delta Changes Every Northwest Flight Number

If you’re flying Northwest domestically beginning November 1 or internationally beginning October 24, you’re going to want to double-check your ticket. Delta is changing every Northwest flight number.

This is unfortunately a necessary part of every merger. As the airlines get closer to having everything operate under a single code, flight numbers have to shift. For example, Northwest flight 1 is a historical flight – it’s been the flight from LA to Tokyo for years – but Delta has decided to move that one and keep its relatively new flight 1 from New York to London in place. The LA to Tokyo flight will now be flight 301.

Northwest’s international flights will now be in the range of 250 to 349. Meanwhile, domestic flights will be split between two ranges. All DC-9 operated flights will fall in the 7000-7999 range while all other domestic flights will be between 2000 and 2009 2999.

Don’t think you’ve escaped if you’re booked on a Delta flight number for these Northwest-operated flights. Those may be shifting to some extent as well.

The changes are all loaded, so if you’re flying on Northwest airplanes you’ll want to double-check to make sure you know your flight number. It’s better to figure it out now than when you show up at the airport and don’t see yours anywhere on the board.

Updated 9/23 @ 9a to fix flight number range


29 Responses to Delta Changes Every Northwest Flight Number

  1. David SFeastbay says:

    People will see those 7000 series numbers for the DC9 aircraft and think they are commuter type aircraft instead of jets. Guess DL gave them a high number so when they get rid of them one day it will be easy to just chop off those higher numbers.

    Travelers are used to seeing those higher 4-digit numbers and knowing they are either small commuter planes or codeshare flights. Which reminds me that I’ve never understood why some airlines use 4-digits for all their flights like Iberia.

    Note: I tried to post this before but got an error message and can’t remember what exactly I wrote the first time. This will be the third attempt to post this comment.

  2. CF says:

    David SFeastbay wrote:

    People will see those 7000 series numbers for the DC9 aircraft and think they are commuter type aircraft instead of jets. Guess DL gave them a high number so when they get rid of them one day it will be easy to just chop off those higher numbers.

    I think the problem is that airlines really are doing so much codesharing now that they end up running out of flight numbers. So those DC9s get pushed up to never-never land.

    BTW, my host was having problems that made the site VERY slow. It appears to be fixed now.

  3. TM says:

    Please check your post. According to it, there will only be ten non-DC9 domestic flights in the 2000-2009 flight number range. Perhaps you meant 2000-2999?

  4. CF says:

    TM wrote:

    Please check your post. According to it, there will only be ten non-DC9 domestic flights in the 2000-2009 flight number range. Perhaps you meant 2000-2999?

    Oops. Thanks for the catch – it’s fixed.

  5. I wonder when they’re finally going to have to break out of the four digit flight numbers for all the code sharing, and either have two airline codes (clunky) or change the standard to allow six digits. (Might as well plan ahead and skip five digits.)

    I didn’t quite see it, but is Delta at least being smart and making the current DL codeshare numbers for the flights the same as the NW flight numbers to make this a little more seamless once they’re under one certificate?

  6. JayB says:

    It seems to me that DL was the first major, way back when, to come up with, domestically, 4-digit flight numbers. They had so many flights blanketing every litlle airport all over the South yet to me, seeing something designated as flight “1086,” whatever, marked entry into a whole new era.

    Knowing how the “geeks” like to get into this stuff, I’ll bet someone, maybe even Cranky, has a hand-written stack of papers, listing every flight number ever used by his favorite airline, and could tell you, by flight number, which city-pair had the distinction of having the longest continuous use of it. Like UA 51. Seem like UA used that number for its morning IAD to SFO non-stop forever.

  7. CF says:

    Nicholas Barnard wrote:

    I wonder when they’re finally going to have to break out of the four digit flight numbers for all the code sharing, and either have two airline codes (clunky) or change the standard to allow six digits. (Might as well plan ahead and skip five digits.)

    My guess is that like everything else in this industry, the technological changes to simply allow more digits will probably cost millions. Clearly it should be done, but I’m sure it’s gonna be ugly.

    I didn’t quite see it, but is Delta at least being smart and making the current DL codeshare numbers for the flights the same as the NW flight numbers to make this a little more seamless once they’re under one certificate?

    I thought they were doing that, but alas, no they aren’t.

    JayB wrote:

    Knowing how the “geeks” like to get into this stuff, I’ll bet someone, maybe even Cranky, has a hand-written stack of papers, listing every flight number ever used by his favorite airline, and could tell you, by flight number, which city-pair had the distinction of having the longest continuous use of it. Like UA 51. Seem like UA used that number for its morning IAD to SFO non-stop forever.

    I do not, but I had this conversation with someone recently who knows all about this. AA1 is probably the most stable. It has apparently been the 9a NYC-LA flight since 1953 when nonstop service began. Before that it was NYC-LA with a bunch of stops in between going back to 1935 in a DC3. Obviously the airports in NYC and LA have changed but that’s it.

  8. Jeff says:

    i won’t fly this guys unless absolutely necessary… I am a “flying col” with delta.. it used to have clout and if I am on a Delta flight then they honor the baggage allowance, etc… but if I fly NWA ( the only choice out of TPA.. I am just another customer and have to pay all of the excess fee’s… I don’t like their aircraft ( no leather seats)…
    So they have lost a customer until they get their act together.. I discovered Jet Blue on our monthly NYC flights and love them..

  9. CF wrote:

    I thought they were doing that, but alas, no they aren’t.

    **Facepalm** I want to know the reason for this stupidity. Why change them now if they’ll have to change them once more?!?

  10. CF says:

    Nicholas Barnard wrote:

    **Facepalm** I want to know the reason for this stupidity. Why change them now if they’ll have to change them once more?!?

    Beats me, but it doesn’t make much sense. For example, the LAX to Indy flight becomes Northwest 2502 but inexplicably it’s Delta 2998. Go figure.

  11. Jason says:

    I love it that they’ve painted some of the Northwest DC-9’s to the Delta colors!

    I boarded a DC9 MEM-TPA last week. It had a NW flight number, Delta-branded ticket counter in MEM, Delta livery, NW interior, Delta emergency placard, but was referred to as Northwest by flight attendants and gate agent.

  12. MathFox says:

    @ Jason:
    I had a similar experience on one of my AMS-DTW flights last month… OK, Check in was with KLM (as usual), but the A330 was in Delta colours, with Delta safety cards and NW and KL flight numbers (a DL number was suspiciously absent). NW flight crew…

    (Merger in progress, you’ll see these inconsistencies.)

  13. ttjoseph says:

    CF wrote:

    Nicholas Barnard wrote:

    **Facepalm** I want to know the reason for this stupidity. Why change them now if they’ll have to change them once more?!?

    Beats me, but it doesn’t make much sense. For example, the LAX to Indy flight becomes Northwest 2502 but inexplicably it’s Delta 2998. Go figure.

    It was probably just easier to do this change for the time being, to tide them over until they get the merged IT systems in a reasonable state. I fully expect another massive change in flight numbers, to a much more sane layout, once that happens.

  14. ttjoseph wrote:

    It was probably just easier to do this change for the time being, to tide them over until they get the merged IT systems in a reasonable state. I fully expect another massive change in flight numbers, to a much more sane layout, once that happens.

    Hmm.. but why change them at all if the IT systems aren’t merged? What is the advantage of doing this change now? I’m sure it caused a raft of emails to passengers, and a bunch of them who called as well. Its also bound to cause come panic at the checkin desk for some people as well…

  15. Andrew says:

    LOL @ Jason’s comment.

    And when you checked your bags, did they tell you to use the Northwest counter, or the Delta counter, or the counter that says Northwest but in blue instead of red, or the counter that says Northwest but but has a giant sheet of paper with “DELTA” spray-painted across it taped over the Northwest logo?

  16. This is a Delta Classic. Wow. You got on board a full flight

  17. SEAN says:

    Same thing happend with US Airways when they took over America West.@ ttjoseph:

  18. Simon Blackburn says:

    DL10 and DL11 have been ATL-LON since the service started – may have been DL’s first transatlantic? For a long long time DL11 left LGW at 1100 (and arrived at 1500 in ATL – here’s a great example of a flight that’s scheduled for longer now than it was 25 years ago) but in recent years it has moved around a bit.

  19. Seth says:

    @ MathFox:
    I just love getting on-board a DC-9 (the norm these days), A319/320 (occasionally), or 757 (not since the winter) on BOSDTW with a shiny new Delta livery, but on the inside you find a horrendous old NWA interior (*sarcasm*).

    It seems DL cares an awful lot about getting people to buy tickets on these nice-looking planes, but once on them could care less what their experience is like. Similar to their loyalty strategy where they get you hooked and flying and then give you very little in the way of awards/rewards. Starting Oct 1, the “perks” part of WorldPerks will surely be going away in more than just name.

  20. David SFeastbay says:

    Simon Blackburn wrote:

    DL10 and DL11 have been ATL-LON since the service started – may have been DL’s first transatlantic? For a long long time DL11 left LGW at 1100 (and arrived at 1500 in ATL – here’s a great example of a flight that’s scheduled for longer now than it was 25 years ago) but in recent years it has moved around a bit.

    Simon I have a DL timetable dated July 1, 1978 – September 14, 1978 and there is DL10/DL11

    DL10 ATL-LGW lv 630pm ar 720am the next day
    DL 11 LGW-ATL lv 1210pm ar 425pm

    First class was USD675.00 one way plus taxes. And yes that is 675.00, unlike today where DL’s J fare is USD6032.00 one way plus tax. Just think 31 years ago 675.00 was a lot of money.

    Today DL10 operates ATL-LHR and DL12 ATL-LGW and DL09 LHR-ATL and DL11 LGW-ATL. I wonder why they changed DL10 to LHR, but kept DL11 from LGW. That must have messed people up who knew those LGW flights all these years.

  21. Ben says:

    SEAN wrote:

    Same thing happend with US Airways when they took over America West.@ ttjoseph:

    HP bought US, not the other way around…

  22. Jason says:

    @ Andrew:

    Andrew, boarded in IND , which jumped the gun and eliminated all traces of NW logos or references.. just for extra confusion.

    I should have snapped a picture of it, but at LGA, another classic sight.

    The DL flights are listed on new plasma monitors. The NW flights are listed on the adjacent monitor.. a 1974 Zenith TV, with Atari-style fonts!

  23. oldiesfan6479 says:

    CF wrote: AA1 is probably the most stable. It has apparently been the 9a NYC-LA flight since 1953 when nonstop service began.

    More so AA 2 LAX-IDL (now JFK), than AA 1 IDL-LAX, although flight 2 even had a short period of non-existence.

    Sometime in late ’58 or very early ’59, AA shifted their DC-7 transcon numbers up to 7XX, joining other DC-7 flights which had already been moved (probably when they locked down a firm date for the start of 707 ops and began selling them). So both 1 and 2 were temporarily “on hiatus” at that point.

    Come 01/25/59–the first day of the one initial 707 roundrip–the eastbound was again AA 2 LAX-IDL 0845-1615, but the westbound was AA 7 IDL-LAX 1815-2045.

    Even when a second 707 transcon RT was added on 02/15/59, the mid-morning westbound was initially AA 3 (not 1), with AA 10 as the eastbound red-eye (as it still is).

    That is what is shown in the AA timetables.

    At some point later on, AA shifted 3 to the noon timeframe (where it also remains to this day) and reinstated 1 as its mid-morning westbound number.

  24. DRG says:

    I hate this stage in a U.S. carrier merger. Things seem to be much smoother elsewhere. When I covered the America West-US Airways merger a while back, at this point at which they had for all intents and purposes had merged but the flights were still operating under two codes, I stopped referring to America West altogether. They were US Airways-US and US Airways-HP.

  25. Christopher Davis says:

    DRG: it’s not just airlines. For a while, Cingular Wireless had “Orange” and “Blue” customers after their merger with AT&T Wireless. (Later, of course, SBC bought AT&T and picked up the name in a move very similar to the HP/US or Valujet/Airtran transitions.)

  26. Hey – does anyone know the number series for the NWA commuters, i.e. Mesaba?

    It’s crazy seeing even the turboprops painted in Mesaba/NWA turn DL blue and whites flying over my house near MSP. I was wondering what was up in the interiors, if they were even bothering to update them… Based off the info re: the DC-9s (and who really could blame them for not caring enough to update them), I have a sneaky suspicion it’s the same for the commuters.

  27. bill says:

    @ Jason: Actually, Delta has had plasma monitors for some time around its system. Northwest equipment was more than a bit dated in many many areas, and Delta is in the process of trying to update and upgrade these to its current standards. Aircraft interiors are a prime example. Delta is currently re-doing the NW interiors to its leather seats, upgraded blue carpets, new laminate flooring in lavatories, galley improvements, entertainment systems, and brighter cabin lighting. Next year they plan to install WI-FI on former NW planes
    after the completing the ongoing instrallations underway on DL planes now.

  28. bill says:

    @ Seth:

    Actually Delta seems to care about all of that, and service is a hallmark goal. NW interiors are being upgraded to DL standards quickly. There’s a good chance the next NW plane you board will have the standard DL interior with it’s leatrher seats, clean cabins, new blue carpets, brighter cabin lighting, and other amenities found on Delta’s own aircraft. All of thios erquires a significant outlay of monies, and man hours.

  29. David SFeastbay says:

    DL will be doing a big schedule change tomorrow (Jan 9) for travel from September 5 and beyond. After that date the NW code will no longer exist. All NW flight segments will be replaced by DL flight segments. Times and aircraft stay the same, but no more NW coded flights.

    So if anyone wants to purchase space and travel on a ‘NW’ segment to have one last printed document for your collection, you better do it before September.

    It’s sad to see NW vanish, as was some of the other old carriers of yester year.

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