If I want to go from A to B, and there happens an airplane also goes from A to B, which has an empty seat, can I ask to go with it? It's like having a free ride in a carpool, but with airplanes?

I know this is ridiculous, but it will be an rewarding experience to think of. I'll be able to learn a lot. I was once almost too late to board, and was transported to the plane by a staff car, not by regular bus. I guess that I could have broken many safety rules, but if I can safely go with that car instead of the regular route, I would do it again.

If yes, what kind of airplane I can travel with? I guess in a commercial plane, I am expected to pay the ticket, so there's no way for me to go? A cargo plane might not be designed for an untrained person, but I guess as long as I don't lose consciousness, then it's still considered safe? A jet fighter... sorry, never mind. If no, what reason would it be? Is it because of safety, liability, or something else?

I will have one luggage and one backpack with me. Obviously I won't pull the exit door when the plane in the middle of the air.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Near duplicate: aviation.stackexchange.com/q/2045/167 $\endgroup$
    – Steve V.
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 15:28
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Before downvoting, remember that ignorance is what we are here to fix. $\endgroup$
    – Steve V.
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ Another near duplicate $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ You could probably get a good price for a flight if you offer petrol and landing fees. For a pilot who is building hours, this may be acceptable. $\endgroup$
    – alex
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 19:52
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Just out of curiousity, why do you think carpooling is "free"? From what I've seen, either the drivers take turns, or the non-driving riders pay for gas. You can probably find light plane owners who'd take you for a ride on similar terms. I've done it myself, when I and others wanted to go places with no/awkward commercial flights. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


Can you have a free ride in an airplane?

Yes, probably!

Pilots give free rides in airplanes all the time. They're generally called discovery flights, and (at least in the USA) you can find someone who offers them at most smaller airports.

Pilots are friendly and we love to introduce new people to the world of aviation. That said, flying is expensive, so you may need to pay for the cost of the airplane/fuel, if the pilot is making a special flight just for you.

Can you have a free ride in a commercial airliner or scheduled air carrier?

laughing person with caption LOL NO

You will almost certainly not receive a free ride in a commercial airliner or scheduled cargo aircraft. Think about it: if flying for free was an option, why would anyone ever pay for a ticket? Also, again in the USA, the TSA will have serious problems with individuals who have no ticket for a flight being on that flight. Cargo carriers will be the same.

What about unscheduled (air taxi) operations?

Your chances are better! See this answer by casey for whether passengers can ride in the jumpseat in the cockpit of a 135 flight. Bear in mind that you still need to be legally present on the flight, which means that the pilot/company needs to permit you onboard.

What about a fighter jet?

Sure! The Blue Angels regularly take journalists for rides. Contact the US Navy or US Air Force public affairs office when the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds are in your town.

Why are you asking about bringing baggage?

Demo flights don't work the way commercial flights do. Asking to bring along luggage indicates that you are either ignorant or you think you're entitled to fly for free. You are not. If you are given the opportunity for a demo ride it is beacuse of the generosity of the operator, which you are taking advantage of. (You will probably receive downvotes on this question because you don't understand this.)

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ As I understand it, the Blue Angels usually give flights to a local journalist or two for PR purposes. There's no harm in asking, but I'd bet they are rather unlikely to pick you unless you can offer them significant press coverage or otherwise contribute something that helps them, say if you're the mayor or something. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 16:04
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Ooker It's not a safety aspect, the airline assumes some liability when you get on board, liability that could cost them greatly in the event of an accident. They typically won't assume this liability for free. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 16:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I haven't ever heard of a free Discovery flight... Young eagles offers free flights to youth. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 16:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ ”you may need to pay for the cost of the airplane/fuel, if the pilot is making a special flight just for you" a private pilot can't do that, it would be considered "holding out". You could be required to pay a share of the costs but even that has to pass a pretty strict set of requirements. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 16:56
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Ooker - Can you give more explanation on why commercial airliner or scheduled air carriers cannot bring me in? It's not that they cannot, it's that they choose not to. The question you must answer is "What makes your desires so much more important than everyone else's that you deserve a free ticket?" $\endgroup$
    – Steve V.
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 17:18

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .