Thanks to Denis, Bones and Peter for shedding some light on this
situation. I shall try to remember to use 'hundred' instead of
'zero-zero' when appropriate for flight levels. Fortunately during my
VATSIM flight last night I only aspired to FL090 ...
Th conroller in question yesterday was manning EGPX_CTR and was very busy (a point he remarked upon explicitly on 2 or 3 occasions during the session). But, despite his being busy, he took time out to reprimand this errant pilot. So it was a pretty public dressing down. I noted the controller's name, but I will not post it in open discussion.
CAP 413, the UK ATC 'Bible says, and I quote:
"When transmitting messages containing flight levels each digit shall be transmitted separately. However, in an endeavour to reduce ‘level busts’ caused by the confusion between some levels (100/110, 200/220 etc.), levels which are whole hundreds e.g. FL 100, 200, 300 shall be spoken as “Flight level (number)HUNDRED”. The word hundred must not be used for headings."
Some VATSIM controllers do like to play God - there is one such who mans Bristol frequently. I have fallen foul of him, and I am a real world PPL! However, VATSIM, the organisation, frowns on this and tries to ensure its controllers are "nice to pilots". <g>