Jet bridges first started to appear in the 1950s and have gone on to become a mainstay in global aviation. Along with the boarding of a single bridge, some airlines deploy two bridges in the process. Which approach is better? Let’s take a look.
The consistent approach with jet bridges is that they are always connected to the left-hand side of the plane. This factor allows for cargo and galley equipment to be loaded from the other side. Furthermore, the captain sits on the left to have a better view of the bridge ahead of departure. Additionally, amid aviation taking on many habits of naval operations, ships also board on the left.
Despite consistency across the industry, there are also differences. Passengers would have noticed two jet bridges when boarding certain aircraft on their journeys.
Commonly, dual boarding is conducted with widebody aircraft. For instance, the Airbus A380’s two decks can be handled by two separate bridges for operators to board at each level. Moreover, other large planes often have two bridges handling different sections of the cabin, even on a single level.
Multiple bridges aren’t a modern phenomenon either. TWA deployed up to three of them on its Boeing 747s. However, according to Avgeekery.com, this procedure was risky. Even though boarding had become more efficient, the third bridge would climb over the left wing and was complex to handle for its time.
Nonetheless, dual jet bridges aren’t exclusive to widebodies. Single-aisle aircraft operators have also implemented this system. For example, Southwest Airline’s Boeing 737s have been boarded by two bridges over the years.
Overall, multiple jet bridges can speed up boarding. Every penny counts with airline services, especially when it comes to time spent at the airport. It can cost up to hundreds of dollars for every minute spent on the ground. Therefore, airlines are keen to catalyze the process.
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While multiple bridges could save money during operations, they can be costly to implement. According to the BBC, Glasgow Airport’s triple bridge was part of an $8 million investment to prepare for the arrival of the A380.
Also, it may also be impractical to deploy more than one bridge on a single aircraft. At busy airports with numerous planes raring to go, the additional bridge would need to be used for another service. Here, it’s more effective to share out the bridges across the gates.
The right balance
Altogether, dual or even triple jet bridges can deliver more efficient boarding. They can board more passengers simultaneously while also separating premium and economy segments. Regardless, not all airports can facilitate such a process, and it’s can actually be inefficient depending on the circumstances.
What are your thoughts about single vs. dual jet bridges? Which aircraft have you boarded where the airline deployed two bridges? Let us know what you think of the different approaches in the comment section.