Hah: Aeromexico Pilot’s Amsterdam Flyover Request Rejected

Filed Under: Aeromexico

It’s not unheard of for pilots to request permission for a “scenic” routing on arrival or departure, though this request no doubt caught an air traffic controller off guard…

There’s quite a bit of online attention being given to the request made by an Aeromexico Boeing 787 pilot. Late at night on Sunday, January 17, 2021, Aeromexico flight 26 was operating from Amsterdam to Mexico City.

While trying to get clearance at around 10:30PM, the conversation went something like this:

Pilot: “Is there any chance that we can make a visual flight over Amsterdam at 4,000?”
Controller: “Fly over Amsterdam at 4,000 feet? Confirm you want?”
Pilot: “Yeah, that’s what we are requesting.”
Controller: “No that is not possible sir.”
Pilot: “It’s not?”
Controller: “No, it’s not.”
Pilot: “Okay, well I was thinking because it was near here…”
Controller: “Yes but then the whole Amsterdam will wake up.”
Pilot: “Hah, well okay, thanks anyway.”
Controller: “Next time you have to visit Amsterdam when everything is open.”

You can hear the audio for yourself here:


There’s something about the interaction that’s kind of hilarious. A lot of pilots take the “it can’t hurt to ask” approach towards these requests, especially when there’s the potential for some great views.

However, making this request for 11PM on a Sunday is a bit unusual. That’s especially true in Europe, which is largely known for strict airport curfews and noise abatement policies.

Bottom line

It’s always nice when pilots do what they can to get passengers a special view. At some airports this is a common request, and often granted. However, I’m not sure 11PM on a Sunday night is the ideal time to be flying low over Amsterdam.

It’s a cute request from the pilot, and I find the controller’s shocked reaction to be kind of hilarious as well.

  1. Good on them. Meanwhile in Miami, you and I get aircraft overhead at 2,000 feet 24/7 (and the avgeek in me isn’t complaining)

  2. Same here in Tulsa, UPS, Fedex and every other airline flies right over our house at maybe just under 2000 feet lol! I love it.

  3. Is that one of the last Aero Mexico flights to AMS due to the new travel restriction?
    Lucky, do you know that Aero Mexico also offers
    a Visa Card (credit to ValuePinguin) with
    – up to 6% back for AeroMexico flights to Latin America
    – free tickets for passengers when traveling in groups and also upon renewal?
    All for the annual fee of just $45

  4. The fact that he insistently went on with his “I thought it was near…” at the end, shows he has absolutely no respect for common European appreciation of silence and not being bothered by airplanes in cities…
    I am happy the controller, despite being caught off guard, was clear about this…

  5. Depending on the winds, the arrival is directly over the core of the city – so had he arrived in the morning with the right winds, he might have got runway 22.

    It’s generally more rare for widebody aircraft to get that runway for arrivals on a daily basis, again, unless the winds are exceptionally strong – then it’s a parade in here (as an Amsterdam resident directly under the runway 22 flight path).

    That said, over the last 9 months, but especially last spring, it wasn’t at all uncommon to see small generation aviation private pilots (e.g. a Cessna) flying into Amsterdam just for fun. Heck, the airspace was so empty one day we watched a biplane get permission to do lazy loops over Vondelpark.

  6. Think on the cultural differences as well!

    In Mexiko people still sitting on the dinner table at 10:30 PM where in some parts of Europe people really are already in bed at the very same time!

  7. Not sure I understand this. It would just be a sea of lights, like any other city. It’s not like Amsterdam has an amazing skyline like NYC or San Francisco, etc. What am I missing about the appeal here?

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