There are countless reasons for flight delays, from bad weather to technical problems with an aircraft.
A former air traffic controller reveals that petty revenge could be added to the list.
Robin A. Smith, in his compelling book Life With A View – Memoir of an Air Traffic Controller, writes that pilots who do not obey or pay enough attention to air traffic controller instructions can be punished as being thrown off course. These price changes are called “lag vectors” in the industry, Smith explains.
He writes, “We tell pilots where to fly and what to do without the opportunity to cause consequences.” Amazingly, pilots comply. Unlike real law enforcement agencies, those responsible cannot impose a fine or impose a penalty and enforce it at will.
“With one exception – delay vectors.”
Robin A. Smith, in his compelling book Life With A View – Memoir of an Air Traffic Controller, writes that pilots who do not obey or pay enough attention to air traffic controller instructions can be punished as being thrown off course
“Non-compliant pilots are occasionally victims of delay vectoring.”
In other words, you will be thrown off course.
Smith, who served as a national and international air traffic controller at two Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) towers in the United States, continues, “Sometimes delay vectors are issued just to give the pilot time in the penalty box if they’re not careful.”
Life With A View – Memoir of an Air Traffic Controller is available on Amazon in the UK and US
He also revealed that sarcastic instructions are sometimes given, writing: “The controller might order: ‘Turn ten degrees left for noise protection.’
‘[And the aircraft might respond] “We are 30 miles south of the airport across the desert. What noise protection measures?”
To which the air traffic control operator would reply: ‘The collision of two airplanes makes a lot of noise.’ Traffic, 12 o’clock five miles across from you.’
Smith adds, “Generally, pilots follow directions without question because they believe the voice in their ear is omnipotent.”
An anonymous Boeing Dreamliner captain confirmed to MailOnline Travel that flight crews are sometimes penalized by air traffic controllers.
He said: “I was told to take the lewd move by Tokyo ATC a few months ago.” “We wanted a turn to avoid a storm – they didn’t like that and we got about 20 extra flight minutes for our trouble.”