In this Ask ATC segment, air traffic controller Leanne Martin talks about the importance of requesting flight following in advance before taxiing in order to help ATC process your request and provide the services you need in a timely manner.
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The best place to communicate with air traffic control your intentions is always on the ground when you’re not moving. That way we can get all of the specific information that we need. Then at that point in time, we as controllers can pass that information on. It does not help controllers for you to tell us information at the last second. When you’re on Ground Control or Clearance Delivery, and you let the controller know what you’d like to do, we write down all that information. That information is passed to the Local Controller. The Local Controller then knows which direction to turn you. From, after you depart, then that information is now passed to the Approach Controller, and the Approach Controller then will know what requested altitude you would like and what direction of flight that you’d like.