My instructor told me that courtesies are forbidden in radio communication, however, we usually start conversation as "Turany Ground, OK-ABC, good morning, (... request)".

I find it natural. Is that acceptable violation of the rules, or could it cause some troubles?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Listen to a few of the feeds on LiveATC.net - for example, KORL with Executive Tower and Orlando Approach - you'll hear all sorts of this, both controllers and pilots. I think it helps transitions work better. $\endgroup$
    – theMayer
    Aug 7, 2018 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ But also... you should wait for acknowledgement before rattling off a long request. $\endgroup$
    – theMayer
    Aug 7, 2018 at 14:09

3 Answers 3


It is not part of the standard phraseology by any means, but it is fairly common, as is a very quick pleasantry when changing frequency.

[station name], Good morning, G-ABCD, [request]


G-ABCD, changing to [other station] thanks for your service.

The thing to remember is to not choke up a busy station with overuse of non-standard comms, and therefore to remember when it might be inappropriate to stray from the standards.

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ It really depends on the location as well. In the UK I rarely greet ATC, but when I fly to France, or Belgium I always say Bonjour and Merci as that seems to be common practice. In Ireland they're pretty friendly as well, and rarely that busy, at least where I've flown to. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Aug 6, 2018 at 14:08
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It's fairly common in the UK. Was also common in SoCal when I flew there. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Aug 6, 2018 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ SOP I'm learning is simply state your callsign and wait for acknowledgment, but I'm sure if you talk to the controller a lot you become more friendly with them if it's quiet. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Aug 7, 2018 at 5:12
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    $\begingroup$ Listening in to ATC in Vegas, I heard a pilot sign off with "may the force be with you" - I suspect that definitely isn't standard terminology. $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2018 at 21:35
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    $\begingroup$ Is this why it's called civil aviation? :D $\endgroup$
    – Wossname
    Aug 8, 2018 at 6:47

Technically you are not suppose to and for the greatest safety, internationally recognized vocabulary should always be used.

However, I have noticed most heavy pilots and many controllers do a greeting. That is the difference between the ideal world and the real world. I doubt being the 65th pilot to say "good morning" improves your handling or makes the controllers day any brighter. With so many pilots and controllers doing it, it really has become a matter of personal preference.

One advantage to doing a greeting is it gives the controller a one second warning to prepare for a communication. Some aircraft are equipped with VOX (voice actuated transmission) circuity that tends to cutoff the first syllable of a transmission and a greeting gets the VOX turned on.

I believe disingenuous "thank you's" and "I love you's" dilute the meaning and sincerity of the words. If a controller really does something special (I have had two occasions my life was saved), then I use sincerity, "thanks that may have saved my life...", or "your professionalism is appreciated...".

I learned to fly from the US's second busiest airport so being brief and concise was a safety survival tactic on Saturday mornings - most pilots learn to fly from a much more relaxed environment.

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    $\begingroup$ In particular, a one second warning that primes the controller to expect a communication from a new aircraft that's not yet on their board. I would rather add one second to my initial transmission than spend ten going through the "Last aircraft to call, missed your numbers, say your callsign again" routine. $\endgroup$
    – Steve V.
    Aug 6, 2018 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ ATC usually remarks "g'day" when transferring someone (or apparently quite a range of local colloquialisms, depending on location). $\endgroup$
    – Roy Tinker
    Aug 6, 2018 at 20:30
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    $\begingroup$ I read "heavy pilots" and was thinking "why only obese pilots, are they friendlier than skinny ones"... $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Aug 7, 2018 at 5:10
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    $\begingroup$ Personally, I believe that your life being saved is a bit high a bar for doing something special that can warrant a thank you without diluting the meaning and sincerity. YMMV. $\endgroup$
    – Martijn
    Aug 7, 2018 at 9:18
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    $\begingroup$ While it is true they probably saved my life twice, it is also true that had I followed their instructions I might be dead 3 times more than that. I generally don't commend them and for the same reasons I don't curse or scold them when they make a mistake. For me it is "just business" with lives at stake and professionalism is the best way to handle everything - no matter what. $\endgroup$
    – jwzumwalt
    Aug 8, 2018 at 3:30

They are not “forbidden” but it’s not standard phraseology. Most times common pleasantries are inert and generally either go unnoticed or mutually exchanged by the aircrews and ATC. There are instances, particularly in high density airspace where it can impeded communications and it’s not appreciated. Flying an aircraft into Oshkosh, WI for the annual EAA Expo is an excellent example. Here you may not even be identified by your tail number and given very brusque instructions and expected to comply with a minimum of chatter. Eg “Blue and white Cessna, land on the thousand footers. Rock wings. Red Cherokee, follow the Cessna on final, land on the numbers. White experimental, turn base now....”


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