Short Final: Worth Asking


We had just received our handoff from SoCal Departure to LA Center after departing Palm Springs International in our Praetor 500. We hadn’t even had a chance to check in when we heard this exchange:

N1AB: “… requesting direct destination.”

LA Center: “Who … who was that?”

N1AB: “N1AB requesting direct to our final destination.”

LA Center: “No. (pause) There is no way to clear you direct from your present position to an airport in Canada!”

N1AB: “Oh well, it was worth asking.”

Unidentified voice, clearly annoyed: “No, it wasn’t!”

Daniel Sternbergh
Palo Alto, California

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  1. Probably a little early in the progress of the flight to be asking that, but, it doesn’t hurt to ask unless the freq is very busy. Had many unasked for clearances on holidays or at night when the “air was empty” that were most helpful. Been cleared completely from coast to coast without asking, once from PHL Departure before we were above 2000 feet. Another time, was actually cleared completely across the Atlantic by Gander Departure, told to monitor HF and call Shannon on VHF at 20W. That was a shocker and a very quiet night! That was long before the days of CPDLC, etc.