In this question, a comment says that the phraseology of IFR clearances is very different between Europe and the US:

especially the VFR phraseology (but not only) is really different in europe and the US. If we just take the IFR clearance into consideration the differences are huge

What are those differences, at least the main ones?

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    $\begingroup$ In the US we say "point", like "one two zero point two five". They say "decimal". So weird. $\endgroup$
    – bartonjs
    Mar 23, 2017 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ My guess is that's because in several European countries, point is the thousands separator, and comma is the decimal separator. So, for example, in the US, "one point zero zero one" is a little over one, whereas in Germany, it would be a little over one thousand. Thus, it's probably a good idea to just not use any of those two words. $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2017 at 15:02

1 Answer 1


It's not only the IFR clearance, in Europe (where ICAO regulations are used everywhere) the phraseology is very different to the one in the US. In Europe the phraseology is clearer and easier to understand, in the US it's shorter, less formal but easy to misunderstand.

Some examples are:

FAA: one one eight point three five
ICAO: one one eight decimal three five zero

Holding over DKB:
FAA: Hold over DKB to the west.
ICAO: hold over DKB as published, FL90

To answer your specific question about the IFR clearance: In America an IFR clearance would sound like this:

American 590, Ft. Lauderdale clearance delivery, cleared to Atlanta Intl' Airport, ARKES1 departure, then as filed, climb via the SID, expect FL320 one­zero minutes after departure. Departure frequency 126.05, squawk 5523.

According to ICAO (specifically german phraseology):

American 590, Frankfurt Delivery, startup approved, cleared to Atlanta aerodrome via DKB8S departure route, flightplanned route, climb altitude 4000ft, squawk 1000

So to sum it up, what's different are the parts "flightplanned route", "climb via the SID", and the departure frequency. If it comes to vectored departures it gets even more different, as in the US the clearance just states "via radar vectors" whereas in Europe the whole vectored departure procedure is inside the clearance ("... via vectored departure, after departure runway 18 climb altitude 4000ft on runway track, passing 3300ft proceed direct DKB, flightplanned route, ...").

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    $\begingroup$ I almost always hear "as filed" or "then as filed" in a US clearance delivery. But I don't see this compared to "flightplanned route" here. $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2017 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHampton I don't understand what you are trying to say. $\endgroup$
    – pcfreakxx
    Mar 24, 2017 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ Here are several sample clearance deliveries from KJFK. Note that in many of them, the phrase "as filed" is used, instead of "flightplanned route". $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2017 at 22:35
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for answering, especially since it was your comment! But I have to say, these differences don't seem "huge" to me: the European clearance is close enough to the CRAFT format that a US pilot shouldn't have any difficulty with it (that's a good thing, obviously). Also, I fly in the US and I've noticed that I sometimes say "decimal" when I'm task-loaded because I learned to fly outside the US (primacy in action!) but no controller has ever commented or misunderstood. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Mar 27, 2017 at 18:57
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah I understand what you are trying to say. You would understand it better if you would fly in Germany and are used to use the german phraseology. For me as a german pilot the phraseology as a whole is a REALLY big difference, even the startup clearance. Maybe for you it's not such a big difference as the US phraseology is way more relaxed and maybe differs from airport to airport, but here it's ALWAYS the same, as only clear. limit and dep. route change (in the US it would be also dep. freq. and the altitude to expect). We didn't even talk about VFR yet which is an own world over here in DE $\endgroup$
    – pcfreakxx
    Mar 27, 2017 at 19:02

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