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United's "From The Cockpit"  
User currently offlineOnthefly From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 51 posts, RR: 0
Posted (16 years 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4717 times:

As I'm sure many of you know, United allows passengers on its flights (per pilots discretion of course) to listen in on communications with air traffic controllers. Living in San Francisco, most of my flying is with United and I've come to really enjoy it. Returning home the other day (CDG-SFO), on a beautiful, roomy 777, I listened almost the entire way. Being handed off to "Arctic control" was especially cool. Why don't the other airlines do this and how many people actually take advantage of it?
Happy (con)Trails


17 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineAC_A340 From Canada, joined Sep 1999, 2251 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (16 years 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 4495 times:

I wasn't aware that any airlines did this. Someone tell me more.

User currently offlinePilot1113 From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2333 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (16 years 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 4471 times:

UAL puts ATC on Channel 9. It's on the channel selector like any of those elevator music channels.

I don't know how they do it.

- Neil Harrison

User currently offlineBryanG From United States of America, joined May 1999, 446 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (16 years 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4458 times:

United has been doing this for a couple years now. United used to advertise in their in-flight magazine that they were the only airline that offered ATC chat to passengers - they stopped advertising it like that in the magazine so someone else might be doing it now.

In the early days it was just offered on the widebodies, but now I beleive it's on all their planes (with music). It's been on all the 737s that I've flown in the last year, of which all had in-flight music.

Some of the pilots really make a point to try to get the passengers to listen. The last one I had mentioned Channel 9, the flight's callsign, and the different ATC layers that we'd be going through during the flight.

User currently offlineSpaceman Spiff From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (16 years 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 4452 times:

They do that so that if the pilots miss a clearance odds are one of the passengers caught it and can relay it to the pilots.

User currently offlineAa737 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 849 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (16 years 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 4453 times:

I love United's channel 9. I mainly fly british airways and american airlines and I really wish the did this also. On the few united flights I take a year, I listen to channel 9 from when I get on the plane till I get off.

User currently offlineACA330 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 146 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (16 years 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4445 times:

I was on a UA flight last summer from EWR-SFO, and of course I was listening to channel 9. (The aircraft used was a 757).

We were level at FL350 and I heard our captain request FL390. ATC told him that he would have to wait a few moments for traffic. A short time later, up above, I saw what appeared to be a NWA A320 zoom by.

5 seconds later, ATC told our captain to climb and maintain FL390. The aircraft immediately increased power and rose.

It seemed so incredibly interactive !

User currently offlineLomcovak From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (16 years 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 4427 times:

United has actually had this feature for quite some time now. I took a United Airlines B-727 from Los Angeles to Chicago way, way back in 1983 and one could already listen in on the transmissions. I don't remember the exact channel. It was a lot of fun and I stayed on that channel throughout the flight. It kinda ticked me off though when the flight attendants collected the headsets just as we started our descent. Listening to ORD controllers would have been the real highlight there! I was disappointed when our return flight to the West Coast was booked on TWA. It would have been really educational because the weather was bad and planes were stacked in holding patterns--in between breaks in the clouds, I saw planes flying above and below us.

User currently offlineL1011 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1721 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (16 years 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4421 times:
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I first experienced this channel on 1/31/87 on a B727-222 flight from IAD to TPA. I wish all airlines had this feature on their entertainment systems.

Bob Bradley
Richmond, VA

Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
User currently offlineBicoastal From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (16 years 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4415 times:

I fly United almost exclusively and love Channel 9. If it's not on I ask a flight attendant if the captain has "forgotton" to turn it on. Often that's the case. But occasionally a captain doesn't want the passengers to listen.  

Chicago is great listening....very busy traffic. You appreciate the job of the ATC staff when you hear them in action. You not only hear your flight but many others on the same frequencies. I enjoy the accents of the many foreign airline pilots flying in, out and across the USA.

It's also the best place to find out the scores of key games when you're flying. ATC always responds to a captain's request for a game update.

User currently offlineHZ-AKF From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (16 years 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4419 times:

I was once on a Delta 732 in which the ATC communication betweeen the pilot and control tower actually came over the cabin intercom. How's that for "interactive"!?

User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5089 posts, RR: 13
Reply 11, posted (16 years 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4416 times:

I've never had the pleasure of experiencing channel 9

Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
User currently offlineCricri From France, joined Oct 1999, 581 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (16 years 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4391 times:

I never experienced this in a plane as a passenger. It would be great if european airlines could do the same...

User currently offlinePresRDC From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 671 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (16 years 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4376 times:

Some of you mentioned that you listened to channel 9 on a UAL 727. i just flew on one the other day and it did not have that feature. I know the 737s and A320s do. If look in the channel guide in the magazine, the 727 is the only a/c that does not have this feature.

Although United is the only US airline doing this now, I know that American used to offer this, but has since stopped. In 1987 I listend on a 767 from JFK to SFO and DC10s from SFO-HNL, HNL-LAX and LAX-JFK. Four years ago on a AA 757 from RDU to LGA, I asked the FA if the service was available and he said it was stopped for security reasons. AA also had a camera in the cockpit of the DC10s which they turned on for takeoff and landing.

User currently offlinePanaman From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 439 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (16 years 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 4372 times:

Well this feature is available on "selected" 727/737 flights only. Alot of the times the captain simply chooses not to turn it on......regular music instead. Every time i take a 727-200 on the ORD-MSY/MSY-ORD route it is working.......and i agree that it is very interesting and a very good way to pass the time, for us airline buffs anyway.


Sorry I moved from SXM, looking for a new house on Anguilla now!
User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5089 posts, RR: 13
Reply 15, posted (16 years 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4373 times:

AA stopped having cockpit audio for security reasons??? What harm could it possibly do for someone to listen to the ATC? A person who is determined to hijack will do so anyway regardless of the audio.

Sounds like another stupid rule by the FAA in this country to "protect" us. For more on this see the thread on "cockpit visits".

Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
User currently offlineRpwgw From Australia, joined Jun 1999, 209 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (16 years 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 4369 times:

I used to use United frquently between AKL and MEL (sadly they cease this service this week due to nonstop LAX-MEL).

They never had from the cockpit running ever. I must have done 40 sectors in the last two years too!!!

User currently offlineConvair880 From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 8 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (16 years 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4357 times:

I appreciate being able to listen to the cockpit communications on some of the United flights. Always liked having it available when going into or out of ORD since there is so much going on in the area and it gives you some sense of what's going on around you as far as other traffic is concerned. As an aviation buff and a private pilot I find it interesting, informative, and fun and I enjoy seeing how the pros do it.

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