This question talks a bit about the crews that are involved in a commercial cargo flight, but I'm wondering if Cargo flights every carry other sorts of people on their flights? Say, a photographer to take pictures of operations for advertising or something. Or maybe one of the crews kids who want's to see what Mom does or something like that. Or, perhaps there's even another person who's normally there?

If they do, here's a couple bonus questions:

  • Do they have jump seats? And are they in the cockpit, or in the cargo hold? (Just in general, I assume different planes have different setups).
  • Are there any regulations regarding this?
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    $\begingroup$ As I remember, at least one jump seat is a regulatory requirement for the purpose of conducting flight checks. Also, if an FAA inspector shows up at the last moment for an unannounced check, he must be given the seat even though a jumpseating pilot is already in it. There were some problems back in the 1990s with FAA inspectors doing this when their real purpose was personal travel and the spot check merely an excuse. $\endgroup$ – Terry Aug 7 '15 at 18:46
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    $\begingroup$ Been done. See the James Harriet books. $\endgroup$ – Joshua Aug 7 '15 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ ...commercial cargo flight... can be tricky to define. I booked flights every once in a while on Alaska Air cargo flights out of Juneau, AK, to Seattle, WA. Craft were generally 737s with only 6 rows of passenger seats. $\endgroup$ – user2338816 Aug 8 '15 at 7:36
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    $\begingroup$ I have heard there is a regulation (under US FAR) that only employees of the airline (or possibly, other airlines with reciprocal agreements) are allowed as passengers; ordinary civilians, family members, etc would not be allowed. Can't find the reference, though. $\endgroup$ – Nate Eldredge Sep 18 '15 at 4:17

Yes, cargo aircraft are like other aircraft in that there is generally at least a jump seat available. Especially larger aircraft will also have additional jump seats, a lavatory, and a galley. This area can be used for relief crew, or other crew that are just deadheading.

There are exceptions though. The upper deck of the 747 is larger than just the cockpit, even on the cargo versions. There is more room in the back for additional crew. The An-124 and An-225 also have additional space for crew behind the cockpit. The extra crew can be loadmasters, navigators, mechanics, or other functions that can make it easier to operate in and out of airports with less services available.

Here is the upper deck of a 747-400F:

747-400F Upper Deck Layout


I spent many an hour crammed into the jumpseats of 727's (they have 2, both in the broom closet sized cockpit with 3 crew members). I worked as a cargo handler at the FedEx hub in Memphis and at the time we could book any open jumpseat.

When i clocked out at 4am there were a couple hundred planes just about to depart for destinations all over the world. It was awesome, but alas, no more. It even continued after an off duty pilot with a hammer decided to try and hijack one of our planes from the jumpseat. But 19 jerks ended all that on Sep 11, 2001. There are still non-crew persons in the jumpseat but now you have to have a good reason to be there. It's mostly deadheading pilots but anybody that has an "operational need" for the company can jumpseat. So if they need a mechanic somewhere or something like that they can go.

As far as what jumpseats there are it differs by aircraft. Like i mentioned the 727's had 2 terribly uncomfortable seats in the cockpit. The dc10's I've flown on had one in the cockpit and either 2 or 4 against the bulkhead facing backward. [Think Tom Hanks in Castaway. That was very accurate, you're staring at the first set of cargo containers behind a safety net the whole flight.] In the 747-100 there were about 10 airline seats in the upper deck and two bunks at the back. The 747-200's were the nicest. They were formerly passenger planes so the upper deck still had the first class seating.


Some airlines operate their aircraft in a combination of freighter and passenger aircraft. See here for the floor plan of KLM's Boeing 747-400M Combi. It has a large cargo door at the rear fuselage for loading freight containers.

Humanitarian relief flights have an obligation to carry journalists along if they wish. Some governments have instituted a policy of transparency so the press may observe first-hand where the goods are delivered to.


Yes actually I have an uncle who flew on a c-130 cargo plane to Alaska that was carrying jet fuel if you consider that cargo. The plane he was on was refueling jets in the sky. So yes sometimes they do carry people on planes with cargo. And it usually when its only necessary.

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    $\begingroup$ If they have got a technical work, don't they belong to the crew? And fuel is not cargo. $\endgroup$ – anshabhi Aug 7 '15 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ Well if you consider fuel a cargo then the answer would be yes. $\endgroup$ – Ethan Aug 7 '15 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ If the C-130 was loaded with supplies for a air-drop, most would consider the supplies to be "cargo". Since the fuel was intended for aerial refueling, then I'd think that would be considered cargo as well. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Aug 7 '15 at 18:20
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    $\begingroup$ @anshabhi On freighters, loadmasters are often carried to facilitate the loading of freighters when there would not otherwise be a qualified loadmaster available as part of the ground support people. Since they have no inflight function, they are not required air crew. $\endgroup$ – Terry Aug 7 '15 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ @anshabhi The test as to whether fuel is to be considered in with the cargo, i.e. included in the zero fuel weight for purposes of weight and balance, is whether it is legally available for use by the airplane carrying it during the flight. For example, ballast fuel, i.e. fuel carried to keep the c.g. within limits, is treated like cargo even though it is in the aircraft's fuel tanks. Obviously, in a fuel emergency, you could use that fuel. However, to do so might take you outside the legal c.g. limits. $\endgroup$ – Terry Aug 7 '15 at 18:34

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