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Home > Air Travel > Why the left doors are used for boarding and can a plane land at maximum weight?
Why the left doors are used for boarding and can a plane land at maximum weight?
Flying - Air Travel
Thursday, 11 October 2012 15:04

Boarding the Emirate Airbus A380

Dear Capt Lim,

I accidentally found your site; it’s so interesting and knowledge-giving. Thanks for providing such a site.

I am curious to know why the left side doors are used for the passenger boarding.

I would also like to know in case of an emergency landing, it is possible to land the aircraft with the same maximum take-off weight?

Melvin Thomas

Hi Melvin,

The main reason why passengers board on the left side of planes is a matter of standardization. This is because the doors on the right are generally meant for catering services and at times, for air stairs for passengers on wheel chairs. Furthermore, on the right side, the aircraft can be served by cargo container lifts, baggage belts and refuelling vehicle without interfering with the passengers boarding and disembarkation on the left.

There are no regulations to say that passengers must board on the left side of the plane. On the older Comet plane (first commercial jet plane) passengers could board on the right and on the Boeing 727, passengers could even disembark from the tail end.

So traditionally, passengers board the planes from the left side and all aerobridges for airports around the world have to meet this conventional practice for standardisation purpose.

Yes, a plane can land at its maximum weight in an emergency but this is not a normal practise as it can cause a lot of stress on the landing gears. For instance, the take-off weight of an Airbus A340 is 275 tons but the recommended maximum landing weight is only 192 tons.

However, during an emergency such as an engine fire during take-off, it is permissible to land at its maximum take-off weight. After landing the plane would be grounded for a while for maintenance inspection.

PS. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my new Twitter at @CaptKHLim


Airbus A380 Landing Gear Test

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