According to the direction, there are correct FL to fly, but due to weather, or traffic, the pilot would request a different FL, from the chart (according to the direction). Is there any correct phraseology to request it?

  • $\begingroup$ If you are assigned an altitude to fly then you are being separated from other traffic. If you are not assigned an altitude you are not under ATC control and altitude is at your discretion, you would simply inform ATC of your level change. I'm not sure I understand what you are asking. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Sep 21, 2017 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ "XYZ Center, 123-Alpha-Beta With Request"... $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Sep 21, 2017 at 14:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer please excuse my lack of knowledge but in Aviation world isn't it Bravo instead of Beta? $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2017 at 6:46

1 Answer 1


Say you are flying on a route that requires an even level, but you would like an odd level such as FL350. The phraseology to use would be

Request FL350

The rest is up to ATC. Depending on local agreements and the current situation, we may be able to grant you the level right away, maybe we need to pick up the phone and talk to downstream sectors or maybe we can't offer the level at all. In any case, there is no harm in asking.

Regarding the part of your question that mentions weather, if you are requesting a level change because of extreme weather (such as moderate/severe turbulence or icing), state so in your request. We will then handle your request with higher priority, and you are more likely to get the different level.

Request FL350 due to moderate icing

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I often hear pilots say, "request wrong way FL350" as a way to convey, I know that I'm asking for the opposite direction, but that is what I actually want to request. It isn't in the book (AFAIK), but it's pretty common. And, more often, the transmission is more along the lines of, "We're right in the tops here at FL340, and we're too heavy for FL 360, but would wrong-way FL350 be available?" $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Sep 21, 2017 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ @RalphJ good point. Been there and done that. Usually I don't say "wrong way", usually I just say something to convey the operational consideration. Another approach is a short form PIREP, "moderate icing at FL280, requesting FL310." $\endgroup$
    – mongo
    Sep 21, 2017 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ @HankyPanky Because OP specifically asked about requesting a non standard level $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2017 at 7:46
  • $\begingroup$ @HankyPanky if Ralph J's comment isn't sufficient to answer your question, feel free to ask a whole new one! $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Sep 22, 2017 at 16:48

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