How to line up

Expert server ATC, I want to ask how tower/approach makes planes arriving line up? Sometimes I think they make planes “line up” following the line in order who is first even if a plane is closer and more convenient.

Example: a plane just arrived and did not line up for a long time but he is already ready to land near the runway. Another plane waited 10 minutes but he is 30 NM away. The ATC makes the line go in order, so they tell the plane which waited 10 minutes to go first and make the nearer plane fly far away to the back to line up even if it is more convenient to just let him go first.

This happens to me a lot it is very annoying. Please tell me, how the planes are supposed to line up. Just now the ATC made me do left 360 2 times, and 1 time it was behind the plane I was first in front of him!


If you are having issues or have questions about the current situation, your best bet is to contact your controller and they will give you the best explanation.

Otherwise, especially at Hubs traffic can get very high so ATC usually tries to keep it as controlled and as tidy as possible by putting the planes in a line.

Also, at busy airports cutting in a line is also difficult as planes are already pretty close to each other already and creating a gap may be difficult.

Controllers in these situations need to prioritize their plan even if that means adding flight time to an aircrafts session even if they are close. Trying to fit in an aircraft closer to be more “convenient” is risky because if it doesn’t work the controller now has to worry about a missed approach and reevaluate their plan to accommodate the missed approach aircraft. It’s must more simplified and easier if everyone was on the plan the controller originally had to avoid the extra hassle of keeping an eye on the aircraft cutting the line because it can or is possible. Everyone regardless has to wait in the line. If you were waiting for a long line for a ride at an amusement park you wouldn’t want someone cutting the line because there is an open gap to take in the middle of the line.

This could of been for multiple reasons. You could of been high so the controller did that so you can lose altitude or you were very close to traffic ahead. They also may of done this to fit you into a gap and have you buy time for that gap to open. There are many outcomes in the airspace when controlling that can make this happen. If you really want to know though the specific reason, drop the controllers name below and we’ll get you in contact with them.


thank you, I understand this, just sometimes I think it is strange

Not really because if they don’t get us all in to a neat line, someone or multiple people might end up on a missed approach, causing even more delays where the process just restarts.

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