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.
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.