Why Don’t More Narrowbody Planes Use Multiple Doors To Board?

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Boarding is a messy process. Some airlines go for an incredibly systemized process with multiple “zones”, while other airlines break it up into fewer distinct categories. However, most airlines only use the forward door for boarding. What if airlines were to use two doors for boarding the aircraft? Simple Flying takes a look.

Ryanair CO2
Some airlines do use multiple doors for boarding some flights. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Boarding with multiple aircraft doors

The process of getting passengers on the aircraft, their luggage stowed, and safety checks completed is lengthy. However, there are several ways airlines are working to reduce the amount of time it takes to board an aircraft. Some airlines, like Lufthansa, have found great success with biometric boarding.

Qantas
Boarding can be a lengthy process. Source: Simple Flying

What if airlines used two aircraft doors for boarding?

The forward door is most commonly used for boarding. However, several airlines use the rear door as well for boarding and deplaning. Low-cost carriers tend to use both doors for boarding since it reduces the amount of time for turn arounds.

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Easyjet boarding
EasyJet uses two doors to board on some flights. Photo: Jo Bailey – Simple Flying

However, boarding from two doors requires some extra planning on behalf of the airline. Security at airports is tight. To support boarding from two doors, airports will need to ensure that only ticketed and confirmed passengers are allowed on the aircraft. Not to mention, easy access from the aircraft to the terminal is not always guaranteed.

Easy access to the terminal is not always guaranteed. Photo: Chris Loh – Simple Flying

Why not use both sides of the aircraft?

Traditionally, aircraft board from the left. This is usually because, on the right-hand side of the aircraft, catering, waste, and the loading of inflight necessities are taking place. On the ground, baggage is also usually being loaded from the left side. On widebodies, however, it is more possible for such a system to be implemented. However, tradition sometimes overtakes progress and it appears that even in cases with widebodies boarding using stairs, that the right-hand side tends to win out.

Lufthansa A340 Aircraft Boarding Doors
Boarding a widebody from multiple doors could be a fun experience. Photo: Paul Lucas – Simple Flying

Then again, it also boils down to the fact that managing such a large number of passengers securely from the terminal to the aircraft is another hassle. But, there is another factor.

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Jetways are so much better

Think about this. It is the dead of winter, you are traveling to visit family or friends. After bracing through the cold of public transport, taking a taxi, and walking into the terminal, you have a nice, hot cup of coffee and are waiting for your flight to be called. All of a sudden, it is time to board and you have the option to exit the building to get on the plane back into the cold with the wind blowing around you. On the other hand, you could board using the jetway.

Back in the cold boarding
Having to exit the terminal in the dead of winter to board the aircraft could be an unpleasant experience for some. Photo: Simple Flying

It also is easier for airlines to use the jetway. This makes for fewer opportunities for a passenger to fall, for a busy gate agent to have to run in and out of the aircraft in case of any kind of issue, and is easier for getting wheelchair passengers on board.

Overall

Although boarding from two doors could save a lot of time for both airlines and passengers, not all airports have the logistics to handle all these passengers with similar ease to that of a jetbridge. Furthermore, as winter approaches, the closed-off jetway can provide some much-needed protection from the whipping winds. And, even airports are enlisted in the fight to reduce boarding times.

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Would you prefer if airlines boarded aircraft from multiple doors? Let us know in the comments!

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