Is it possible to travel on cargo airplanes?
Some time ago I heard someone telling about travelling in cargo planes. Apparently some of those planes have a limited amount of extra seats and companies would sell them for an extra profit.
Does anyone have any information about this? Is that still possible?
I'd think not. Cargo airplanes may not necessarily have pressurised cabins or seats necessary for human travel.
Of course they have pressurized cabins! They may be small, but they're definitely there. Some routes require two cockpit crews (due to their duration) and the secondary crew needs to sit somewhere too. There may just be a few additional seats but usually there is some space for additional "passengers".
Well, if that were possible, then why wouldn't KLM load Vilma Soltesz on one of their cargo planes?
KLM actualy offers quite some seats on some of their cargo planes, but you hardly notice that you are on a cargo plane http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/KLM/KLM_Boeing_747-400_combi.php
@Andra Or maybe they carry a lot of cargo on their passenger planes ;-) Boeing produced more than hundred 747 combi (-200M, -300M or -400M) so there must be other airlines operating them.
@AnkurBanerjee Do any common cargo planes (i.e. not specialized heavy lift or military planes) have unpressurized cargo holds? It seems like this would cause problems with many types of cargo (i.e. I've seen potato chip bags burst even at normal airliner pressures, so surely lots of cargo would have problems with no pressurization)
@Johnny yes Are cargo holds pressurised these days?, Do they pressurise cargo planes if they have non-living cargo?, Pressurization In Cargo Planes?, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabin_pressurization#Need_for_cabin_pressurization
The short answer is: depends.
General consensus is that it is not possible with few exceptions:
- Accompanying live cargo
- Being an employee of the company flying the cargo
- In the remote areas like Alaska it may be possible to be flying a half and half plane. Half cargo - Half passenger.
- You are an airline crew member or a courier in that case you can request a Jumpseat Service from cargo airlines like Atlas (maybe someone can enlighten me what Groom means here)
Save those you are likely to be denied access to the plane
Indeed, airline employees can profit from these seats. Friends of mine have done this in the past for private travel. However, it's a Joker seat. If the airline needs the seat(s), the private travelers have to cede.
@Karlson A groom is a caretaker for an animal being shipped. It's usually associated with horses, but any important/pricy/rare animal being shipped is very likely to have a groom go with it. (i.e. when pandas are shipped to various countries, there are always one or more grooms accompanying them.)
About 3, planes which transport both cargo and passengers do not only exist in remote areas. For instance, KLM offers it, see comment https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/14297/is-it-possible-to-travel-on-cargo-airplanes?rq=1#comment28782_14297