My friend and I are looking to fly somewhere next week for our spring break. We want to go to Europe or south america for really cheap, so we were wondering if there is any way to fly on a cargo plane or on a fedex flight. Does anyone know how we would do that?
They used to allow employees, and by employees I mean other FedEx pilots, to ride for free in a jump seat in the cockpit. But in 1994 a disgruntled pilot tried to kill the crew with a hammer (and a speargun!), hijack the plane, and crash it into FedEx’s HQ. He failed.
Post 9/11 even asking about doing this will probably get you a visit from the Feds.
UPS was offering this service (converting some space on its planes for commercial passengers) until even a few years ago, but I have no idea if they continued it after 9-11. Might be worth looking into.
What you can still do (there is a specific name for it, which I can’t remember… maybe just “courier flights”?) is to get hooked up with a company that does last minute courier flights. You will be assigned a seat, and be allowed to bring along only carry-on luggage. The deal is that some cargo is being sent, but this requires a person to travel with that cargo. You will never see the cargo, or even know what it is. But you get a dirt cheap flight. Coordinating doing such a thing with another person would seem to be pretty difficult though.
This sure sounds like an Urban Legend to me. My wife is a flight attendant with Northwest. A couple of years ago, she had a roommate that was a First Officer (co-pilot), who flew for Northwest. She was from Boston and often flew with FedEx. As I remember they have something like 8 seats available, but you have to be a pilot. Also this was in Memphis, where all FedEx fights converge. Northwest has a parking lot about 1 mile away from FedEx and I have recently seen a pilot making the walk, so I’m sure they are still taking standbys.
No chance of getting on a cargo plane as a passenger these days unless you are aircrew. It’s not pretty in a dedicated cargo plane anyway - no nice toilets and free drinks etc. Weight = money so they tend to be stripped of all luxuries. Best bet is on a scheduled passenger plane as a courier if you are flexible date wise and don’t want to carry much luggage - a google search should turn up a contact address.
The movie Cast Away was set on a FedEx plane, IIRC, so that would lend creedence to Swagman’s description.
We have an old FedEx 727. There are two very small and uncomfortable seats in the cockpit for riders.
Airlines have jumpseat agreements, where pilots from another airline can ride for free, and vice versa. Air traffic controllers, dispatchers, and some FAA guys get to ride jumpseat too. I know a lot of this has been cracked down on since 9/11.
It’s apparently a true story. Here’s an article about it.
and a book!
I recall seeing a news report on TV a few years ago (8-10?) which said that some air express company (I forget if it was UPS or FedEx) has to occasionally move a plane around the country without cargo, and when doing so, it has a fast method of actually installing seats, overhead lights, etc. to make it look just like a passenger plane. And then they’d carry passengers for that flight, it saved them money because they had to move the plan anyhow.
Sorry, I’m sure you want a link, but I don’t have one…
You might try to find a courier flight. Nominally, you’re personally delivering something. At one time, you got to fly free. But as people caught on to this and more were looking for these flights, the companies began to charge the “couriers” a (discounted) price.
By now it’s may be close to your average standby flight with the same advantages and disadvantages.
Googling “discount flights courier” turns up many references.
You can check out eurotrip.com for ideas on cheap travel to Europe.