Remember that jumpseating is a privilege and not a right. The following
etiquette guidelines and restrictions should always be observed while exercising jumpseat privileges:
• Dress code is uniform, business, or business casual.
• Jumpseat availability is usually first come, first served (however, most
airlines give their own pilots and in some cases subsidiaries a higher
priority). Most, but not all, airlines allow multiple jumpseat riders when
unoccupied cabin seats are available. The captain makes the final decisions, not
the gate agent or “computer.” Due consideration to union affiliation is also a
consideration when conflicts arise.
• Check-in procedures vary by airport and airline. Allow sufficient time to
check in at either the ticket counter, gate, or in some cases both.
• Remember, jumpseating is a privilege requiring professional conduct at all
times. Be courteous to agents when requesting the jumpseat. Always ask the
captain’s permission and offer thanks for the ride, even if occupying a cabin
seat. Never let an agent rush you past the cockpit without asking the captain’s
permission. FARs require the captain to know you are on board. Identify yourself
as a jumpseater to the flight attendants when boarding. Some airlines require non-revenue
passengers and jumpseaters to board last and conversely deplane last.
• Leave your bags on the jet bridge (or otherwise ‘out of the way’) while you
are introducing yourself. Limit your carry-on bags to a minimum when jumpseating.
This behooves you because you are most likely one of the last to board—when overhead space is quite limited.
• Even employees and other non-revs will have priority over jumpseaters, who
generally have the lowest priority of anyone. You may be asked to deplane at the
last minute. Airlines will not delay flights for jumpseaters. If we cause delays
on other airlines, we could jeopardize reciprocal agreements with that airline.
• Remember that you are an additional crew member. That means that if you are
sitting in the flight deck, keep your eyes and ears open. Wear a headset. Follow
sterile cockpit rules, but speak up when necessary. Remember to turn off your
cell phone as soon as you get in the cockpit, and cease text messaging. Even
during cruise, it is best practice while in the cockpit to ask the captain if
he/she minds if you read or do a crossword puzzle, etc. Remember, 10,000 feet
and below is a sterile cockpit environment (in some cases, above 10,000 feet
also) and, as an additional crewmember, reading, talking, etc. are not allowed.
Your best behavior ensures jumpseat agreements in the future.
• If offered a seat in first class by the captain, inform the lead flight
attendant of this permission. A first-class seat doesn’t automatically entitle
you to the same first class benefits as revenue passengers. If they can
accommodate you in first class, do not drink alcoholic beverages. While you are
exercising the privileges afforded you by FAR 121.547 or 121.583 (i.e.,
jumpseating), you are considered an additional crewmember, and the alcohol
limitations of FAR 91 apply. Just because you get a seat in the back does not
relieve you from this responsibility. Even when in plainclothes, remember that
you are still considered an additional crewmember by most airlines, and you may
be required to perform duties in case of unusual or emergency circumstances.
• Always express your gratitude to the crew when deplaning. No matter how
rushed, remember to say “Thank you.” Some airlines’ policies are for non-revs
(including jumpseaters) to deplane last. Again, stay out of the way of revenue
passengers, and provide any assistance, if necessary. Use your best judgment,
especially if you stowed your bags farther aft than your seat.
• Be polite and courteous to gate agents. Remember that they do not get the
same benefits of riding on other carriers for free, but never, ever let them
talk you into taking the jumpseat or becoming a jumpseater on a flight for which
you are ticketed—no matter how nicely they ask or what
type of favor you may think you are doing them. They may even offer you
vouchers, but this practice has resulted in lost reciprocal jumpseat agreements in the past. The jumpseat belongs to the
captain, not the gate agent! It is not just another seat!
• If you have any questions, suggestions, comments, and/or complaints, please
contact your Jumpseat coordinator. Be prepared with detailed information such as
the date, time, gate (so it can be accurately tracked through CASS), and name of
the gate agent.
Always be the consummate professional while jumpseating. It is one of the most valuable career benefits we have!