Checking in ATC

A few questions regarding ATC

Q1: When I depart I contact Departure/Approach. Do I check in and request for a flight following? Or just Flight following

Q2: Departure/Approach hands me off to Center; Do I check in and request a flight following? Or just Flight Following?

Q3: Do I check in and request flight following on every Center Airspace that I pass?

Q4: When contacting center of my destination do I check in and request descent via STAR or just the descent request?

Q5: When handed off to Departure/Approach, Do I check in and request ILS/VISUAL/GPS/… approach or just request approach without checking in.

I’m so sorry for this but it’s just because I don’t understand the guide… 🙏

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Check In

Check In

Just Check In

heck In and before TOD u can request Decent

When u are handed to Approach you request the type of approach you would want


Alr thanks!

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This topic by @J-F_V shall help you @Lucas_Issufo


Yes I read it now. Thanks for helping!

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To add on to what Rohann already mentioned above…

When you’re contacting Departure while flying under IFR (Instrument Flight Rules), you ONLY need to “Check In”. Flight Following requests are ONLY for when flying under VFR (Visual Flight Rules). An example of when not to request flight following is if you’re flying from LAX to JFK… it’s simply not viable.

Like I mentioned above, a Check In is all that’s required as Flight Following is ONLY for when you’re flying under VFR.

If you’re passing through Center Airspace, you simply need to check in. In the event that you’re not actively monitoring your flight and a Center controller opens the airspace you’re in, don’t sweat it… Center controllers won’t disconnect you. They often will check your status and will be able to see that you’re not actively monitoring your flight. For example, if you’re asleep while flying over the Atlantic Ocean, the Center controller can see that you’ve been away for X amount of minutes.

Rohann answered this one… Just Check In near the Airspace and then Request Descent via STAR when you’re about to reach TOD.

There is no need to Check In when you’re handed off to Approach. Even if it’s only Approach and no Center, there’s no need to Check In to Approach. Check In is only necessary for Departure and Center frequencies. When contacting Approach, simply request your preferred Approach.

I also understand that the Guide can be sometimes difficult to navigate. As a result, I’ve linked some more specific parts of the Guide that I think should be relatively simple to use. If you have any further questions, feel free to let me know!


Alright. Thank you!

Happy to help! If you ever have any questions regarding the resources that are out there, feel free to reach out to me directly!

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I wish more pilots on ES would read this…


What if you can connect to the Approach frequency before hitting FL180 or before, should we still request approach or check in with approach and then closer to FL180 request approach, if that made any sense, thanks!

Made perfect sense! If you’re already on the Approach Frequency, I personally would say just request your approach. You’ll likely receive the “expect vectors for…” command and they’ll give you vectors when you’re close/closer to the airport.

Cool thanks a lot!!

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Always happy to help. I think I speak for many of us controllers when we say we appreciate you guys taking the time to ask these questions first rather than make assumptions, which often leads to us having to use the “Check User Guide” command. xD


What do you mean by “Check-in”? That could mean a lot of things.

Oh… By check in I mean the communication between Pilot and Controller.

What would that communication look like for you?

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