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How to divert with ATC

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My question is; if you decide to divert, what do you need to tell ATC?

I've orignally learnt that you should just tell them that you are diverting and if you want vectors or have a route. So if you have a route, should you just say the whole route with waypoints and airways, or is there another way? And will ATC assign you an altitude, or should you request and altitude you want to be flying to you're alternate airport?

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My question is; if you decide to divert, what do you need to tell ATC?

That you're diverting and where.


Every time I've diverted (which isn't many) I've just told ATC we're diverting to XXX, they've gone away and come back to us with a heading and sent us to a few waypoints before handing us over to the approach controller who does his magic and we land.


This may not always be the case as 1) I've always diverted in the UK and things are probably different in the US (although from your screen name I'm guessing you're European based, I've never diverted in Scandinavia so can't be sure but I would have thought more like us than them, if they're different) and 2) all my diversions have been to an airfield less than 30nm away.


I would have thought it's the same as always though, if you want something specific from ATC (for whatever reason) just ask, they worst they'll do is say no. Explain the problem you're trying to solve and how they can help you solve it and they'll normally be able to do something to help (crashes are a lot of paperwork for them too).


Hope This Helps,



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Usually you're in a holding pattern and your fuel is to the point you cannot stay too much longer.  You make a call to ATC and state that you need to divert to XXX airport.  Sometimes as he works it out, you might still do another turn in holding or he might put you a heading to get you out of the holding stack.  At that point he will give you the clearance to the new airport, which might be radar vectors or a point on a STAR.


Since you might not be the only one holding you usually stay at your current altitude for a while until he can climb you.


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