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FED's and the jumpseat

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Well-known member
Jan 22, 2002
I am a captain for a large regional airline. I am allowed to carry only my company pilots or pilots that work for the major airline we codeshare with in the actual jumpseat. Other carriers pilots are welcome to sit in the back if there is a seat available. The resaon, I am told, that this is the case is for security reasons. Apparently on 9-11 one of the hijackers was diguised as a jumpseater with a fraudulent airline ID. To prevent that from happening again we must be able to verify the pilots employment in our computer system. My question is why we can continue to allow FAA inspectors to ride in the jumpseat? My company gate agents cannot, to my knowledge, verify the employment of a FED in our computer system. We all know how cheesy a FED's ID is and how easily it can be duplicated. By the very act of allowing a FAA inspector in my jumpseat am I not in violation of current FAR's? Going beyond that, am I not putting the entire plane and people on the ground in grave risk by allowing that FED in the actual jumpseat?
Any thoughts on this??
When I was at COEX, I had an FAA inspector tell me he was going to ride in the jumpseat. I told him we couldn't allow him to do so because we couldn't verify his identity. He gave me everything in his posession, including driver's license, social security card, and pictures of his kids. I was still adament (sp?) that he didn't sit up front. I told him to help himself to any open seat in the back, and he graciously accepted. He ramp checked the $hit out of us and dug as deep as he could, as much as he could without delaying the flight. I could tell he was bitter about the whole thing once we reached our destination, but he exited the airplane without saying a word.

Bottom line, the airplane is yours. They should respect your position when you deny them the cockpit jumpseat, as you cannot verify their identity prior to the flight. If you offer them an open seat in the back and they decline, they can catch the next flight out.
That is growing urban legend about one of the hijackers being disguised as a jumpseater using a fraudulent airline ID. All had tickets.

And there is a difference between jumpseating pilots and gov't officials (Secret Service, NTSB, FAA, etc.) requiring access to the flight deck in the performance of their duties. This subject has been discussed on this board before. My thoughts are you had better have a very good reason for denying FAA inspectors, or any other legitimate gov't official that has the right, per FAR 121.547, 121.548, 121.550 & 121.581, and that makes the necessary arrangements, and provides the required ID and documentation, access to the flight compartment or the observer's seat.

If you really have a question about the validity of the "Fed's" ID, have the agent call the office where he is allegedly located to verify his employment. I'm sure he wouldn't mind....much.
You may deny anyone a jumpseat due to safety of flight. I just went through our special security training last week and a fed is suppose to call your dispatch with the info. That way when he shows up you can at least call your dispatch and verify that yes a fed is trying to jumpseat on your aircraft. It's your call, there really is no reason for him to be on the flight deck jumpseat unless he is giving you a bonified line check. Usually this is coordinated through your POI for the airline.
Interesting to learn that the hijacker was not a fraudulent jumpseater. I had a FED security guy tell me that it was the case when I was requesting a private screening while in uniform. He had the balls to ask me if I trusted the FAA!!! Luckily for him he changed the subject before I could answer. Anyway it sounds as though a FED is supposed to contact our dispatch prior to riding in the front of the plane. Thanks for the help.

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