Turn left contact ground, but you need to turn right or vice versa

Okay so just curious about what to do here. For example, if you’re flying a cargo flight into Klax and land on Rwy 25L, and the controller requests you turn right, can you ‘ignore’ that instruction and turn left because the cargo terminals are on the left. Or do I need to follow the turn right instruction.




If a controller tells you taxi instructions then you have to follow them.

If a controller tells you to exit the runway, turn right/left and contact ground then again you have to follow that.


Usually, I “ignore” it. I find that most controllers assume that most people are going to the passenger terminals. Or are so used to giving the instruction/are using the quick command for it. I’m sure as long as you are vacating the runway in a timely manner, and being courteous/watching for others around you, they do not care which direction you are going.

If you are concerned about possibly receiving a violation, you can always follow instruction and then request to cross back across the runway after vacating


You shouldn’t “ignore it”

Controllers, especially when it’s busy tell you to exit a runway either left/right sometimes for specific reasons.

Therefore, you should follow the controllers instructions.


Controllers are never 100% accurate. People make mistakes. At the end of the day, as long as you are not outwardly causing issues, I don’t see an issue with exiting left if you need to go left if the controller said right.

If any ATC staff would like to weight in, please correct me.

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Hey mate, when there is an option for you to either turn left or right the controller will provide a command saying “exit runway when able, contact ground on the taxiway” giving you the option to take what ever direction you wish.
If a controller instructs you to vacate with a certain direction it’s usually because of a reason, follow the instruction as you are still able to taxi back around and request a runway crossing to your parking


thanks mate. Appreciate it

Usually I only say left or right if I either know what direction the plane is going or if traffic only allows one direction. For example if a controller says exit to the right when you are landing at YSSY, but you exit to the left this can cause big traffic problems. So if a controller says to exit in one direction always follow the instructions :)

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haha yes , are you referring to landing on 34L and how some people want to taxi to T1?

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Sometimes even if the pilot can go the other way, I still give a specific direction so I can give a crossing instruction (ex. If tower ground is split, this can be super useful) and I know that’s where they are most likely going.

Edit: turns out it’s still possible to give a crossing instruction with no direction attached, but it’s still often good to give a direction if it’s necessary to keep the proper flow of traffic, can be helpful at airports like YSSY

but what if the first exit is going right, but the atc instruct you to turn left? Do I keep going until the next exit?

Controllers don’t tell you whether to turn left/right often, and when they do it’s usually for a reason.

If the first exit is on the left and your instructed to turn right then again you would follow the ATC instructions.

It is very unlikely the controller would make you go further along the runway if the first exit is on the left. The controller would most likely look at the surroundings and tell you what to do.


Yes, you should.
There is no need to always grab the first exit, especially if there is a specific exit runway direction from the controller.

I agree it’s best to follow atc instructions and really the only reason to turn earlier is if there is traffic on short final. If I was controlling I would understand, as long as there is no conflict, if you turned at an earlier exit due to traffic right behind but again it’s highly unlikely that the controller would make you go further (especially with traffic on short final) and generally traffic shouldn’t be so close to create this type of situation

To be safe though, you should follow atc instructions even if it means a longer taxi time/leads to a go-around on aircraft behind (that’s atc’s responsibility’s not yours as long as you are getting off the runway in an expeditious manner)

You have to follow ATC instructions no matter what. If they tell you to exit in a certain direction, it doesn’t mean you can exit in any direction as long as you exit in a timely manner. Even if your intended gate is not in the direction in which ATC asks you to go towards, you still have to follow ATC instructions as the ATC controller probably has something else in mind. We don’t just purposefully give you instructions to go in the opposite directions, it’s just that sometimes it helps keep the airport in order. You can either change the gate you want to go to or you can find another way in which you can go towards the gate you originally planned to park at.

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got it, thanks for letting me know! :)

Well for me I always love to watch the plane one aswell as control so if I see a cargo plane landing at LAX I would tell it to go left and then passenger ones etc…

I don’t know about others though

Universal rules for ATC??:

1)follow instructions as given
2)disobey "1)"only if imminent hazard threatens you, your aircraft or passengers.

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