Several years ago, a large jet flown by a famous British airline was approaching New York for a landing at JFK. They were still at their cruising altitude of FL 350 and had been asking New York Center for a lower altitude continuously for several minutes. New York Center was very busy and obviously had neglected to clear them to a lower altitude because of their high work load, which was not unusual during the afternoon peak arrival times in New York.
Finally, NY Center replied to the crew and asked them if they could descend to 10,000 feet within the next 20 miles from their altitude of FL350.
The frustrated captain replied in his best and most proper English:
"That is affirmative, sir! However we cannot take the aeroplane with us!"
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