Jumpseating: Got Etiquette?

Published: 07-07-2006
Jumpseating is a professional courtesy among airline pilots, and one of the best benefits of being a pilot.  It is used to commute to and from work and for leisure travel. The captain is the final authority as to who rides and is not to be challenged for any reason. If denied a jumpseat, say "thanks anyway" and try a different flight.

A growing number of airlines have been approved to use the Cockpit Access Security System (CASS) to identify crew members and will let them sit in their cockpit if the flight is full. Airlines that have not been CASS approved will let you ride in the passenger cabin only if there is an empty passenger seat. To sit in the cockpit, you must be properly dressed (business casual), and present your airline ID and passport to the gate agent who will verify your identity and employment. Know your own airline's code too, as this must also be input into the CASS system.Some airlines will allow multiple, or "unlimited," jumpseaters, while some only allow the amount of jumpseaters equal to the number of jumpseats in the cockpit.

Presently you may not sit in the cockpit of an airline oninternational flights. You may only obtain a seat in the passengercabin. Some airlines will give you a first or business class seat,and some won't. Keep in mind that most airlines who allow jumpseatinginternationally require that you check-in 75 to 90 minutes prior todeparture in order to satisfy TSA requirements.

If you have a question or a problem with jumpseating around thesystem, contact your own airline's jumpseat coordinator. Be preparedwith detailed information such as the date, time, airport, gate,name(s), etc.

Common courtesy is a must while jumpseating. Ask the gate agent when they would like you to board. Upon reaching the airplane, introduce yourself to the lead flight attendant and ask if you may ask the captain for a ride. Never bypass asking the captain, even if the agent gave you a boarding pass with a seat assignment. And don't forget to introduce yourself to the first officer and relief officer (if applicable) as well.

If sitting in the cockpit, comply with sterile cockpit rules and offer to help out(monitoring ATC, scanning for traffic, passing beverages, etc).Lastly, give the captain and first officer thanks for the jumpseat ride.

Always be the consummate professional while jumpseating. It is one of the most valuablecareer benefits we have.

by Brigitte Lakah
UPS 757/767 Captain

Recently Updated Airline Profiles