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Hello! So i’ve been doing some long haul flights lately and i noticed one thing, the alltitude other pilots are flying for long haul flights is very different. Some are doing fl 400 and some fl 300 even tho they are doing the same long haul flight. can someone explain why? or is this just some personal thing why some people is going way lower than others.


Unless instructed by Air Traffic Control, altitude is pilots discretion. There are many reasons why pilots fly at different altitudes compared to others, but the main one would be wind related.

If you are using a flight planning tool such as, you will be provided with altitudes for your flight and altitudes to step climb to at certain waypoints along your route. These are usually recommend by as they are the most efficient altitudes to cruise at based on weather and aircraft configuration/weight.

As mentioned, altitude is always pilot discretion unless instructed otherwise by Air Traffic Control.

Take care!


Well explained! Thank you

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Just some useful information as well; when flying IFR, you must maintain an EVEN Flight Level (FL320, FL340, FL360 etc) when flying Westward. (Heading 180-359)

You must maintain an ODD flight level (FL319, FL330, FL350 etc) when flying Eastward. (Heading 0-179)


Very well explained from Declan and tunamkol. This is always a great way to plan. I’ll just add a little here. One thing I do often is if I am replicating a flight, I will head over to FR24 and take a look at what altitudes were flown during that flight and use those as well.


Thank you tunam!

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