Cheat code: Use Cargo schedules to find widebody international planes flying domestically in the USA

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Did you know that you can fly in lie flat business class ( or better premium economy, economy ) seats when flying domestically in the US? These planes are often on the transcontinental ( LA/SFO to New York, DC, Boston, or Miami ) routes, but you’ll regularly see them repositioning for long haul flights between hubs: think Dallas and Chicago for American. You can find them by looking at the Cargo schedules of the airline you’re going to fly since those airlines have sold cargo space on passenger planes as well. It’s kind of a little cheat code.

United has an entire section committed just to domestic US routes.

a screenshot of a computerAmerican has a domestic pdf that tell you the dates they fly

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Delta also has a PDF 

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Are the the flights operated by a widebody more expensive?

That’s a great question, and it all depends. Sometimes they are more expensive, but other times, they’re definitely not.

For instance on American’s flight from CLT to MIA it’s only $75 more to fly in lie-flat business class with a ton of space and the same price in Economy. I’d much rather be on the 777-200 than the A321neo, and the economy section will have much more comfortable seats and bathrooms.

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I love flying on these planes and when I first starting blogging I would hurt these bad boys out and even position to try and fly a cabin I hadn’t flown before just to nab a review. I realize I’m not in a normal group of people who would go out of their way, but you may not even realize that you could fly these between airports you may be visting in the future, and using cargo schedules has been a cool way to know when and where they are headed.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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  • Van April 30, 2024

    Make sure I understand what make these special.
    – For domestic, you might have a choice of choosing a widebody vs a narrowbody. Beside that, it is the same.
    – For International, they all are going to be widebody, so there is no really different.
    Am I missing something?

  • Kathy April 26, 2024

    This isn’t making sense to me. I just looked up a flight from Charlotte to Munich. The 777 that is listed on the link to the American cargo schedule. I found the approximate time. On the cargo schedule it is listed as 16:00-7:00+1. On Google flights there is a nonstop flight from Charlotte to Munich leaving at 16:25 arriving at 7:00+1. It is a 777. But this is the regular flight. It is no cheaper than any other flight. What am I missing? How do I find the specific cargo flights?

    • Miles April 26, 2024

      Hey Kathy – the cargo flights only tell you when the and where the widebodies are flying – this is advantageous on domestic flights since the international flights would nearly all be widebodies. It’s not that they are going to be cheaper, but rather, you could book one of the planes within the USA and have a much better experience and they often price the same domestically.

  • TQ April 23, 2024

    How do you go about booking these for personal flights?

    • Miles April 23, 2024

      The flights you see listed are all bookable on each airline’s respective site – so if you see a span of dates where AA is operating the 772 out of CLT to MIA you’d go to AA and see what dates are cheapest during the period it’s flying.

  • Chris April 23, 2024

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