I wonder if anyone can help with a hypothetical question. Its for a novel I am researching All passengers with a ticket for a flight will pass through normal passport controls but I am told that Pilots can jump a flight if theres a spare seat. I know it might be outside of procedure but... Is it feasible that he might join his buddies and get on the plane with them and avoid the official record of him entering and leaving another country say between the USA and Canada?

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    $\begingroup$ Pretty sure that pilots have to cross customs too. $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2016 at 20:51
  • $\begingroup$ Yes I thought they might, I am examining the possibility of a person actively skirting the system by some form of skulduggery, but thanks for your help $\endgroup$
    – Michael J
    Jun 5, 2016 at 20:57
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    $\begingroup$ All flight crew go through the same customs, immigration and security screening as everybody else, dead-heading or not. They sometimes get their separate line, or are sometimes allowed to just cut in front of "normal" people, but it's the same process. $\endgroup$
    – falstro
    Jun 5, 2016 at 21:18
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    $\begingroup$ Back in the 1990s I was a captain for one of the so-called ex-CIA airlines, airlines and facilities that had been sold to private individuals for pennies on the dollar. We flew 747 freighters all over the world. Twice, when presented with the weight & balance paperwork, I was told that upper deck ACMs were deliberately not on the weight & balance or the crew manifest and would not be accompanying us through customs and immigration. This was accepted as normal. I wrote an unpublished novel that involved moving people illegally by air across borders. It's at terryliittschwager.com/novel.php. $\endgroup$
    – Terry
    Jun 6, 2016 at 2:33
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    $\begingroup$ Even astronauts $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Jun 7, 2016 at 1:44

2 Answers 2


Just to put down as an answer what has been pretty well covered in the comments...

All pilots, jump-seating or not, will still clear customs. They may have a separate line, but there will still be the normal record of their entry.

Beyond that, the airline absolutely knows who they let on the jumpseat for each flight -- so "no record" won't really happen in any event.

  • $\begingroup$ Not anymore, anyway..... $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Jun 6, 2016 at 3:27
  • $\begingroup$ Do they get stamped each time ? Sounds like the passport would be filled very quickly $\endgroup$
    – Antzi
    Jul 4, 2016 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ Some country does not stamp visitors passport anymore. If I remember right, Hong Kong is an example. $\endgroup$
    – vasin1987
    Jul 4, 2016 at 21:13

I have flown numerous times on jump seats. I just enter the airport as anyone else, report to the check-in desk and wait there until check-in closes. With the check-in closed the phone the gate and ask for the number of seats available. With all the seats taken they ask the captain if they would allow the jump seats to be taken. Check-in and Security is done as with a regular ticket. I also do not fly as airline staff and have to que in the normal lines and can't take the crew shortcut. On my boarding class the booking/travel class is different.


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