Here are some conversations that airline
passengers normally don't hear
following are actual exchanges between airline pilots and
control towers from around the world:
A DC-10 had an exceedingly long roll out after landing with
his approach speed a little high. San Jose Tower:
"American 751 heavy, turn right at the end of the runway,
If not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make
a right at the lights and return to the
While taxiing at London Gatwick, the crew of a US Air
flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came
nose to nose with a United 727. An irate female ground
controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming, "US Air
2771, where the hell are you going? I told you to turn right
onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right
there. I know it's difficult for you to tell the difference
between C's, and D's, but get it right!"
Continuing her tirade to the embarrassed crew, she was now
shouting hysterically, "God, you've screwed up everything!
It'll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and
don't move 'til I tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi
instructions in about half an hour and I want you to go
exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you!
You got that, US Air 2771?"
"Yes ma'am," the humbled crew responded. Naturally the
ground control frequency went terribly silent after the verbal
bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to engage the irate
ground controller in her current state. Tension in every
cockpit at LGA was running high.
Then an unknown pilot broke the silence and asked, "Wasn't
I married to you once?"
Unknown aircraft: "I'm f*cking bored!" Air Traffic Control:
"Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself
Unknown aircraft: "I said I was f*cking bored, not f*cking
"Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on
124.7." Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to
By the way, after we lifted off, we saw some kind of dead
animal on the far end of the runway." Tower: "Continental 635,
cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124.7. Did you copy
that report from Eastern 702?" Continental 635:
"Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we
copied Eastern and we've already notified our caterers......"
German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a
short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's
gate parking location, but how to get there without any
assistance from them.
So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747)
listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground
control and a British Airways 747, call sign "Speedbird
Speedbird 206: "Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of active
runway." Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha
The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a
stop. Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are
Speedbird 206 "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate
location now." Ground: (with arrogant impatience) "Speedbird
206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?"
Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944 but I didn't
O'Hare Approach Control: "United 329 heavy, your traffic is
a Fokker, one o'clock, three miles, eastbound."
United 239: "Approach, I've always wanted to say this...
I've got the little Fokker in sight."
A Pan Am 727 flight engineer waiting for start
clearance in Munich overheard the following Lufthansa (in
"Ground, what is our start clearance time?" Ground (in
English): "If you want an answer, you must speak English."
Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German
airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?"
Unknown voice (in a beautiful British accent): "Because you
lost the bloody war!"