What airlines have an audio channel where you can listen to Air Traffic Control communications during the flight? Do any airlines allow you to bring a scanner or aviation radio aboard to listen yourself?


The only one I'm aware of is United Airlines, on Channel 9; this appears to be disappearing rapidly as Continental did not have it.

Radios are never permitted in flight.

However, there are websites with live ATC feeds so if the flight had WiFi you might be able to listen through a computer. I have used the iOS app version of LiveATC to listen to traffic control using inflight wifi; this only works over 10,000 feet when the wifi is on and you have to know the frequency that your cockpit crew happens to be on.

  • 1
    Ah yes, I remember a United flight from LA to Denver in 2000 that I was on, storm approaching and the various convos they were having about avoiding it. Since working in Air Traffic Control software development, I no longer have a desire to do so - 99% of the talk is mundane and stuffed with acronyms and just messages and acknowledgements. Suppose it's that 1% that might be 'interesting' for want of a better word ;)
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 24 '11 at 1:06
  • @Mark: Well, one man's mundane is another man's interesting :) Off topic, but what language is ATC software written in?
    – jrdioko
    Sep 24 '11 at 23:50
  • True, and even this was interesting at first, but now it just sounds like work ;)
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 25 '11 at 16:52
  • The majority of the code I worked with was C++, and some proprietary scripting tools as well.
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 25 '11 at 16:53
  • Not all of them do. I once rode on a United Boeing 737-800 with the DIRECTV In-Flight system and it did not have it. (AFAIK, it's only because of its acquisition of Continental that it started having 737s in its fleet.)
    – gparyani
    Aug 14 '14 at 21:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.