ALPA National Jumpseat Committee’s No Pilot Left Behind initiative helps ensure that every pilot who needs a seat on the aircraft gets a seat, whenever possible, in accordance with the captain’s regulatory discretion. This program encourages the Pilot in Command (PIC) to approve and authorize each and every jumpseat request, challenge gate agents for boarding information at “show” time, and check with the gate agent prior to departure to protect the jumpseat privilege.
With the development of the Cockpit Access Security System (CASS) subsequent to the attacks of 9/11/01, regulatory oversight of Jumpseat access has been transferred from the FAA to the TSA. Pilot-in-command (PIC) authority, long established as the final word on Jumpseat access, has been undermined due to technological changes in the integration of security and boarding systems now in place.
Although the creation of CASS in the post 9/11 world once again allowed off-line Jumpseaters to ride on the flight deck, we have seen some customer service/gate agents assuming greater authority in controlling flight deck access than is legally provided to them. The reasons for this usurping of PIC authority vary, but due to this “short-cutting” of the approval process, a PIC may often be completely unaware that a potential Jumpseater has been denied access even in the event of Jumpseat availability.
As provided in FAR 121.547, control of Jumpseat access is given to the “pilot in command, an appropriate management official of the part 119 certificate holder, and the administrator.” FAR 91.3 further clarifies that “the pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of the aircraft.”
To address this escalating problem, the ALPA National Jumpseat Committee (NJC) has created the No Pilot Left Behind initiative in an effort to ensure that every ALPA pilot eligible for a seat on an aircraft has that eligibility evaluated, determined, and confirmed by the PIC rather than another individual unauthorized to make that final decision. In support of the NPLB initiative, the NJC has produced a Jeppesen-sized Jumpseat guide to be introduced and made available in concert with ALPA’s annual Air Safety Forum (ASF) scheduled in the first week of August 2009. The Jumpseat guide will be provided as a detachable insert in the August issue of Air Line Pilot Magazine. Additionally, the NJC has created No Pilot Left Behind bag stickers for MECs wishing to order them for constituent members.