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British Airways

Snarky Exhange Between BA Pilot and Air Traffic Controller Goes Viral

Snarky Exhange Between BA Pilot and Air Traffic Controller Goes Viral
Jackie Reddy

The strained conversation between the frustrated pilot of a London-bound plane stuck on the tarmac at Dublin Airport and an air traffic controller has gone public.

A snide exchange between a British Airways pilot and an air traffic controller at Dublin Airport (DUB) has been shared on social media after having been overheard on the airport’s radio frequency. The spat took place on Sunday, as grounded aircraft were delayed by an incoming transatlantic flight that needed to make an emergency landing.

While most of the pilots were happy to wait until directed by DUB’s air traffic control, the pilot of British Airways Flight BAW-837 was less than accommodating.

The plane had initially received clearance to push back from its stand, but it appears that ground crew had been advised by DUB’s air traffic control to halt this process. When the pilot questioned air traffic control over the decision, the controller explained that she had attempted to contact him regarding the situation but that he had not responded.

According to Dublin Live, the controller told the pilot, “I was trying to call you sir.”

Further explaining the reason behind the delay, she told the pilot that there was an Aer Lingus flight pushing back ahead of him. His flight, she said, would receive clearance after the first plane was clear.

In the recording, the annoyed pilot can be heard to say, “You should have told us that before really.”

Undeterred, the controller replied, “I was trying to call you sir, you weren’t listening out but they [Aer Lingus] were also cautioned reference you, they were supposed to give way.”

The pilot hit back, adding, “I wasn’t listening out because we were talking to the ground crew and they’re telling us the same thing, so you’re a bit late.”

The controller then attempted to bring the matter to a close, saying, “I’m just too busy to continue any further conversation about this on frequency.”

The strained conversation was overheard by other pilots tuned into the frequency, many of whom were quick to show support for the controller. One pilot can be heard to say, “You’re doing a great job, thanks very much.”

The London-bound BA flight eventually took off after a delay of approximately 40 minutes.

[Photo: British Airways]

View Comments (9)


  1. grbauctions


    June 22, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Its a stressful Job On both ends. Headbutting was not helping the situation. I for one would not want a pilot that is so jumpy to be in charge of my flight.

  2. daberlin

    June 22, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    To quote an expression used regularly when stationed in England. ‘You Sir are a WANKER’.

  3. Flyer1M

    June 22, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Typical cocky pilot

  4. PVDtoDEL

    June 23, 2016 at 12:38 am

    The pilot was not wrong to be upset. He was given clearance to push and then the other aircraft was given clearance to push before his clearance was revised.

    Perhaps he could’ve used a bit more tact, but a safety report was probably in order for this situation. Seems like the controller lost situational awareness.

  5. HarryHolden68

    June 23, 2016 at 12:41 am

    I do not hear the controller trying to contact the BA pilots so the recording is edited… again. Without the full context, it is impossible to make a true assertion as to what really happened. There is history in Dublin between ATC and BA and this is creating operational problems for the airline with needless delays created by ATC.

    From the recording as played, ATC approved pushback to BA and only the alertness of the ground crew prevented conflict with the Aer Lingus which was alerted to the BA plane pushing back and should have been the one to give way.

    ATC placed two aircraft in the same space and then became defensive when the pilot who cannot see behind him asks why? This does not fill you with confidence with ATC abilities to keep you safe in Dublin.

    As for the behaviour of the other pilots. Childish is the word that springs to mind and they should be more professional than to get involved, clogging up the frequency with pathetic comments.

  6. RedwoodA320

    June 23, 2016 at 1:38 am


  7. FlyingWithers

    June 23, 2016 at 3:23 am

    Seems this BA pilot needs some retraining. I don’t want to be on a flight piloted by a dunderhead BA pilot like this one.

  8. Allan38103

    June 23, 2016 at 6:01 am

    THIS deserves reporting?????

  9. jonsg

    June 23, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    I was waiting for “Speedbird eight one delta, clear taxi, turn left onto delta, join peri track, at gate niner depart right onto romeo one three two, at which point you’re on the public road system and no longer my problem. Contact Dublin City FM on one oh three decimal two, g’day.”

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