Aeromexico Pilot Not Allowed To Wake Amsterdam With 4,000ft Flight

An Aeromexico 787 pilot is getting some special attention after having his request for a low-altitude flight over Amsterdam published online. The request to Schiphol air traffic control was to fly over the Dutch capital at 4,000 feet. With the request taking place sometime after 22:40 local time on January 17th, it would have woken up much of the city and was thus denied.

Aeromexico 787
The aircraft being flown was a Boeing 787. Photo: Vincenzo Pace |

A special request

The flight took place on the evening of January 17th, with the Dreamliner having taken off at 22:34, according to Luchvaart News notes that the pilot requested a deviation from the usual flight path to fly over Amsterdam at an altitude of 4,000 feet with the Boeing 787-9. Below is the recording, which actually begins about seven seconds into the file.

For those unable to listen to the recording, here are some of the highlights:

Pilot: Is there any chance that we can make a visual flight over Amsterdam at 4,000?

ATC: Flyover Amsterdam at 4,000 feet?! Confirm [this is what] you want?

After having the request denied, the pilot responds, “Okay, well, I was thinking because it was near the airport,” to which ATC responds, “yes, but then the whole of Amsterdam will wake up,” adding “next time you have to visit Amsterdam when everything is open.”

The aircraft was starting a nearly 12-hour flight to Mexico City. Photo:

Was the pilot out-of-line?

Internet reaction certainly seems split on this ‘incident.’ Some are appalled that the pilot would even ask, while others applaud him for the courage to make the request.

While it may seem to be an outrageous question considering it’s just one individual’s desire to move a 787 away from an established flight path for the purpose of getting a nice view, it’s certainly not unprecedented.

In fact, The Points Guy reported in April on a situation that saw FedEx pilots request a low-altitude pass over Manhattan with an MD-11 freighter. In that situation, air traffic control granted the request. In the audio clip included in the Twitter post below, the pilot can be heard commenting at 0:46, “wow, what a view!”

It’s because of situations like April’s FedEx flight over New York City that adds credibility to the saying “You won’t know if you don’t ask,” as well as the variation “If you don’t ask, the answer is always ‘no.'”

However, where the pilot can be criticized is the fact that the request was made at nearly 23:00 on a Sunday night. Whether it’s adults having work or children going to school the following day, it’s likely that a good portion of Amsterdam would have been sleeping by then, or at least getting ready to settle in for the night. Thankfully, the air traffic controller was aware of this and reminded the pilot of this fact.

What do you think about this request? Was it out of line? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Simple Flying reached out to both Aeromexico and LVNL, Netherlands’ air traffic control service, for comment. At the time of publication, no responses were received by either organization.