This summer in Mykonos our flight back to FCO was delayed and nobody at the airport could communicate reliable estimates on when it would be.

In that case I managed to find the FCO-JMK inbound flight on FR24 and saw it left FCO with 2 hours delay, so our own would have been at least that.

In bigger airports with more connections you might not be able to guess which airplane will become yours.

I guess the registration number of the plane assigned to my flight will be available some time (maybe a few hours?) before as per the flight plan.

Is there a reliable public accessible source for that?

When I have the assigned RegNum I can use plane finder, FR24 or whatever to see if it's on its way and have a rough estimate of when it will land and then be available for my flight.

Apologies for my English.

Thank you

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This should possibly be better on Travel.SE $\endgroup$
    – Notts90
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 10:15
  • $\begingroup$ If there is just one line by that airline, you can guess it easily. But if they have many flights there, the dispatcher can reassign the planes at any time as the dispatcher, and only the dispatcher, has the information needed to do the scheduling to minimise the disruption to the overall schedule. So until the dispatcher says something, even the other airline staff does not know. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you this makes a lot of sense and it might be a good reason for which sometimes nobody seems to know. But in my Mykonos example once I got the inbound flight number and THAT was delayed by 2.5 hours I had a good estimate :) $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ My understanding is that this depends on the airline, with some publishing which aircraft will be operating which flight in advance (though I don’t quite know through what means), while for others you will get the info only once the flight is ready to depart. IIRC FlightAware (or is it Flightradar24?) has a « track incoming flight » button for this purpose, not quite sure how reliable that is. Maybe it’s just heuristics... $\endgroup$
    – jcaron
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 22:09

3 Answers 3


It's difficult to find out what the inbound aircraft is, unless you are at a small airport and/or the airline you are flying on is only operating a few routes from the airport. When you are at a big airport and/or the airline is operating many routes there, you have no way of telling where your aircraft is. For smaller airports, you can effectively find the inbound aircraft by using the appropriate filters in FR24.

Note that in some cases the aircraft planned for a flight can be changed last minute. This typically happens when aircraft are significantly delayed inbound to their hub / main base and the airline decides to minimise the outbound delay costs by assiging a different aircraft.


Some tools provide this information. For example, I have found FlightAware to be generally accurate. Some airline's services (online or mobile) services also provide the information.

Information might well not be available to the public for some airlines.


Is there a reliable public accessible source for that?

No, there isn't. The registration is listed in the ATC flightplan, which is not publicly available.

Some airports do publish the registration of flights, enabling you to find the right aircraft using a bit of investigative skills. One such airport is Frankfurt, and I if I recall correctly, at least some other German airports do the same. If you download the mobile app for the particular airport, you will be able to find the registration. FlightRadar24 also sometimes have it available, and sometimes the airline might even show it somewhere (app, website, ...)

But a reliable public accessible source? No, unfortunately not.


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