(This is a repost of this question on Movies SE. I hope to get better answers here.)

Irene Adler shows the following text to Sherlock:

007 Confirmed allocation

He immediately guesses that "these are seat allocations on a passenger jet", claims it must be a Boeing 747 and then recalls a specific flight which takes off at 6:30 PM the next day. Note that only 14 seats are listed. A Boeing 747 can carry about four hundred passengers. The flight takes off tomorrow evening.

Do airlines really document or communicate seating allocations in this way? Shouldn't there be more seats "confirmed" (whatever that means)?

  • $\begingroup$ there's a seat J which means that the row contains at least 10 seats and a row 60 (making for a 60*10 possible seats), though how they are setup is specific tot he airliner $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2014 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ @ratchetfreak: Yes, that was in the movie. But what is that string typically used for and why are so few seats confirmed? $\endgroup$
    – sharptooth
    Dec 2, 2014 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ maybe other seats were confirmed before and these were late buyers $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2014 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ @ratchetfreak: Well, perhaps. That's why I ask here and hope that someone who knows airline operations in great details can explain it. $\endgroup$
    – sharptooth
    Dec 2, 2014 at 14:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @ratchetfreak - that doesn't necessarily mean 600 seats: some aircraft may use ABC DEFG HIJ, others may use AC DG HJ (in order to preserve the A/J window seats, CD GH aisle seats). There are often a large number of missing rows, and First/Business class will have much fewer seats per row $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Dec 2, 2014 at 21:56

1 Answer 1



Based on my research for string confirmed allocation, there were no references found related to airlines or their practice.

However, the background scenario about the conversation Sherlock was having, something like the following had happened (references: this and this and this and this and this):

(my paraphrasing, not actually a quote)

Sherlock knows that 007 is a flight of Bond Air which is leaving for Baltimore tomorrow at 6:30pm. He is aware of a terrorist plot of having dead bodies on an airplane (14 seats allocations) so that no one actually dies. The first 0 in flight number indicates that zero causalities will happen.

P.S.: This question is not about aviation but movies.


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