Can Passengers Visit the Cockpit & Take Pictures?

Bombardier CSeries CS300 Cockpit

It used to be quite common for children to even visit pilots in the cockpit during flights. However, this changed radically, especially after 9/11. Since then, visiting the cockpit during a flight is out of the question.

It’s a different story when the plane is on the ground. If you ask politely during boarding or when leaving the aircraft, typically to a flight attendant (sometimes even the captain handles it), in my experience, it’s usually not a problem to take a peek into the cockpit or snap a few photos. Most of the time, you might even have a brief chat with the pilots. I’d estimate my success rate to be around 80-90% (mainly pre-COVID).

However, when asking, one should proceed with tact. If the flight is already delayed, or you’re one of the last passengers (both boarding and disembarking), it’s best to forego the request. Of course, always accept a “no” graciously and remain friendly.

The time spent in the cockpit should be kept as brief as possible. Often, the pilots continue working during these visits, but sometimes they also take a moment for the visit and may even offer to let you sit in the pilot’s seat for a photo. You can certainly ask for this afterward, but again, approach with tact and wait to be invited.

Children might find it harder to have such a request turned down compared to adults. However, even at over 30 years old, my request to take a few pictures of the cockpit is rarely denied. Asking doesn’t cost anything!

By the way, pilots are usually much more relaxed before or after a long-haul flight than in the middle of a short-haul rotation, where slot times must be adhered to and the entire crew is under extreme time pressure.

Have you ever been allowed to visit the cockpit? What are your experiences with it? Feel free to leave a comment!

Finally, here are a few pictures from my numerous visits to the cockpit (some even during flights, but those are absolute exceptions).

Translated by Ditmar

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Comments (3)

  1. F says:

    Visited mid flight in the mid 90s as a teenager with Emirates. No photos though as we were not carrying around cameras like we are now. Didn’t realise at the time how special an experience it was.. at that time a plane was a plane so I have no idea what plane it was. Nice memory though.

  2. Martien Lathouwers says:

    from Fairbanks Alaska you can fly with the post plane over Yukon river half frozen and as a package I got to sit co pilot seat and we did a fly by on 20 meters hight, to visit some remote villages.

  3. Lagache says:

    Oui après le 11 septembre les visites de cabine sont devenus plus difficiles mais toujours possible surtout sur long courrier…même faire un atterrissage…
    Plus facile si voyage en business class et sur compagnies non Européennes.

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