All airports have an airport
identifier. The identifier is actually four letters or a combination of letters
and numbers. Since the first letter of all continental United States airports is
"K", it is just omitted from the remaining identification letters. If you have
flown into any of the destination airports listed below you might recognize the
three-letter airport identifier that is also found on the luggage
Sample Luggage Tag
contain four characters signifying the final destination.
initials (Speedy Flight) and a six-character bag number are followed by a
three-character abbreviation for the final destination (FWA = Fort Wayne,
flight listed first, carrier initials, flight numbers, and date for all
parts of the journey show a mini-itinerary. Destinations for initial
flights are listed in smaller type (DTW =
SFO San Francisco International
MCI Kansas City International
CLE Cleveland-Hopkins International
Ronald Reagan Washington National
SJC San Jose International
JAN Jackson International Airport
Cars have license numbers and airplanes have
registrations commonly called "tail numbers." All aircraft registrations begin
with a letter followed by more letters, or a letter followed by a number.
Aircraft registered in Canada have a "C" followed by a hyphen with 3 additional
letters. So an aircraft registered in Britain could be "G-DOG." Aircraft
registered in Mexico have registrations that start with "XA," "XB," or "ZC"
followed by a hyphen then three additional letters.
"N" is the beginning letter for all aircraft registered in the United
States. During verbal radio communications the complete U.S. registration is
given on first contact with air traffic controllers. Usually in subsequent
communications only the last three numerals or numeral and letter combinations
Let's take, for example, a Grumman American TR-2, a small
aircraft, registered as N9919F. "N" indicates aircraft registration in the
United States. When it is verbally identified to air traffic control (ATC) it is
not identified as "N - 9 - 9 - 1 - 9 - F." The correct way to identify the
aircraft N9919F is "Grumman American, November niner - niner - one - niner -
Foxtrot." After the initial contact with air traffic control, it is then
shortened in verbal communication to "one - niner - Foxtrot". If a controller is
working two aircraft with the same last three tail numbers, the controller will
use the complete registration.
Commercial airliners usually use the
airline's name followed by the flight number. For example, "United Airlines
Flight 1291" would be listed as UAL 1291 on the routing strip used by
controllers while spoken as "United - one - two - niner - one".