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Flight booking reference
23 Sep 2017 (47 views)

When you book an flight, the airline provides you with a 6 character booking reference, such as MJXS7F. When you quote your booking reference to the airline staff, you have to say M for Malaysia, J for Japan, X for X-ray, S for Singapore, number 7 and F for France. Often, you have to repeat the number because the staff might not understand some of the names that you used. 

If the passenger or the airline staff is not familair with English, it would be more difficult.

Would it be easier if your booking reference contains 8 digits such as 3424 6578? 

The airlines used the 6 character booking reference in the old days when computer data storage was expensive. Some mathematical expect said that it was possible to store up to 2 billion numbers using 6 characters - with each character being one of the 24 letters or 10 digits.

It is not really necessary to keep records of 2 billion bookings. The biggest airline handles 200 million passengers a year. Most flights are booked less than one month in advance. At any point in time, the biggest airline probably has less than 20 million active bookings, i.e. bookings that not become flights. The smaller airlines will have much less bookings.

It is possible to use a 8 digit booking reference that can accommodate 100 million active bookings. A booking number can be recycled for use say 30 days after the flight has taken off.

There may be the odd occasion where the airline needs to check a booking that was made over the past one or two decades. I cannot imagine a situation where this might be necessary.  If the booking numbers are recycled, the same number may be used for a few bookings. This should not cause any problem, as the airline can easiy identify the booking by the name of the passenger.

It is time to change from the 6 character booking reference to a 8 digit booking number. I wonder why nobody bothers to consider this change?

FOLLOW UP NOTE

My friend suggested that I should use the NATO phonetic alphabet. I Googled and found the following:

The 26 code words in the NATO phonetic alphabet are assigned to the 26 letters of the English alphabet in alphabetical order as follows: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

I will try to use it in the future. Maybe, if this is commonly used, the character based booking reference becomes quite workable.

Source:
https://www.visualthesaurus.com/…/do-you-know-your-alfa-br…/



Flight booking reference
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When you book an flight, the airline provides you with a 6 character booking reference, such as MJXS7F. When you quote your booking reference to the airline staff, you have to say M for Malaysia, J for Japan, X for X-ray, S for Singapore, number 7 and F for France. Often, you have to repeat the number because the staff might not understand some of the names that you used. 

If the passenger or the airline staff is not familair with English, it would be more difficult.

Would it be easier if your booking reference contains 8 digits such as 3424 6578? 

The airlines used the 6 character booking reference in the old days when computer data storage was expensive. Some mathematical expect said that it was possible to store up to 2 billion numbers using 6 characters - with each character being one of the 24 letters or 10 digits.

It is not really necessary to keep records of 2 billion bookings. The biggest airline handles 200 million passengers a year. Most flights are booked less than one month in advance. At any point in time, the biggest airline probably has less than 20 million active bookings, i.e. bookings that not become flights. The smaller airlines will have much less bookings.

It is possible to use a 8 digit booking reference that can accommodate 100 million active bookings. A booking number can be recycled for use say 30 days after the flight has taken off.

There may be the odd occasion where the airline needs to check a booking that was made over the past one or two decades. I cannot imagine a situation where this might be necessary.  If the booking numbers are recycled, the same number may be used for a few bookings. This should not cause any problem, as the airline can easiy identify the booking by the name of the passenger.

It is time to change from the 6 character booking reference to a 8 digit booking number. I wonder why nobody bothers to consider this change?

FOLLOW UP NOTE

My friend suggested that I should use the NATO phonetic alphabet. I Googled and found the following:

The 26 code words in the NATO phonetic alphabet are assigned to the 26 letters of the English alphabet in alphabetical order as follows: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

I will try to use it in the future. Maybe, if this is commonly used, the character based booking reference becomes quite workable.

Source:
https://www.visualthesaurus.com/…/do-you-know-your-alfa-br…/