How to Visit the Cockpit of an Airliner

Are you an aviation enthusiast travelling on an intriguing new aircraft? Or are you just a family with an excited young child? Regardless, many people are fascinated by the operation of airliners and this article will offer suggestions on how to visit the cockpit.


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    If you are boarding a small, off-peak flight, try asking ground staff while waiting to board. This is not recommended during a peak flight, let alone an international flight, as ground staff would most likely be very busy.
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    Try to ask a member of the cabin crew or cockpit while on the ground. Once again, this may be a struggle during busy flights.
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    When boarding the aircraft, have a look toward the cockpit. If a member of the cabin crew or cockpit crew notices that you would like to visit the cockpit and invites you over, then hooray! If not, continue reading.
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    Now, ask a flight attendant, purser (chief flight attendant), or a pilot to visit the cockpit. Post-9/11, it is very low chance to be allowed into the cockpit inflight. Before or after flight is your best chance. Don't loiter too long!
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    If you miss the above opportunity, wait until the aircraft has departed. Once the seat belt sign has been switched off and the aircraft has reached cruising altitude, get out of your seat, approach a flight attendant, and ask.
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    If you once again miss the opportunity, wait until the flight has landed. Try to be one of the last to disembark. As you leave the jet, ask a member of the cockpit crew to see the cockpit. Given how busy the cockpit crew are before a flight, you're far more likely to be accepted after landing.
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    You're in! If you do manage to be allowed into the cockpit, have a chat with the pilots and ask to take pictures/videos, to retain this memory.


  • This article mentions the word 'ask' a lot. 'Ask' means to casually and calmly approach a member of the crew, and ask something along the lines of, "Hi, my name is ***. I'm very interested in aviation and hope to be a pilot some day (etc). I was wondering if it was possible to have a quick visit in the cockpit and have a chat with the pilots?"
  • Remember, the worst that can happen is that they say no. In that case, try again next time!
  • If the pilots are busy, try not to bother them. There are many checklists to run through, with the advent of newer aircraft such as the Boeing 777, these take less time, but are still vital.
  • It is very rare that you will be allowed in the cockpit during flight, as a jumpseat passenger. If you do, millions of aviation enthusiasts are jealous.
  • If you are a pilot in training, let them know! The same applies to enthusiasts, or hopeful future pilots.
  • In the United States, only crew are allowed inside the cockpit, by law. However, once the pilot-in-command signs off on the load sheet, everything is by his discretion until he arrives and hands the aircraft over.
  • Dress the part. If you turn up wearing the same attire as if you were going to lay bricks, you will not be allowed entry. Dress neatly, and have a small spray of perfume to smell the part also. Closed shoes will also help, and try not to wear a pair of flip-flops.
  • This article has been written for people whom have no affiliation with an airline. If you do, it will be far easier to get a visit.
  • The pilots will also be busy if they are late! There are tight schedules and so you may get denied simply because of time.


  • As in the article similar to this one, do not touch the controls without permission. In some cases, kind pilots will allow a person to touch the controls, or even punch some information into the flight management computer. This is very rare.
  • Do not simply enter the cockpit without permission or attempt to open the door. It is illegal in some places, but regardless of legality, it is frowned upon everywhere.
  • Don't loiter around the galley or open areas, it will raise suspicion!

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Categories: Air Travel