Why do Travelers Always Board Flights on the Left?



Sep 19,2023

Flights have become a common mode of transportation for people to travel from one place to another. Travelers often get excited about boarding their flight, while booking online flight ticket. But, have you ever noticed that airlines direct passengers to board flights from the left side? This fact is ignored by most travelers, even while they wait in queues to board the flight. Well, the rationales behind this are safety, efficiency, and passenger comfort.

Let’s dive deep into the hidden reasons why travelers always board flights on the left. 

Historical Reasons 

The practice of boarding aircraft from the left side has a long history in aviation. When commercial aviation was still in its infancy at the turn of the 20th century, airplanes were frequently tiny and lacked the sophisticated infrastructure it is today. The aircraft had a ladder or a set of steps that passengers would use to board; they were normally located on the left side of the aircraft. 

Due to practical considerations at the time, the left side was selected as the boarding point. The majority of pilots were right-handed, therefore placing the steps on the left made it simple for them to enter the cockpit, which was located on the right side of the aircraft. Due to this approach, boarding went well for both passengers and staff. 

Safety Considerations

Although the traditional justifications for boarding on the left side may no longer apply, the practice has persisted because of safety grounds. Passengers grow used to the layout and can move across the cabin more quickly by keeping a uniform boarding procedure across various airlines and aircraft.

Furthermore, boarding from the left side enables a more structured and methodical approach. Airlines frequently designate particular zones or groups to board at various times in order to ease congestion and maintain a smooth passenger flow. The mishaps or injuries while boarding are reduced by using this technique.

Airport Infrastructure 

The infrastructure of the airport is another justification for boarding from the left side. The majority of airports have boarding gates or jet bridges on the left side of the aircraft. This layout makes it simple for ground staff and servicing trucks to reach the aircraft and efficiently convey passengers between the terminal and the aircraft.

Efficiency and Standardization

In the aviation sector, standardization is essential. Airlines may enhance efficiency and simplify operations by using a uniform boarding procedure. This is especially crucial at congested airports when several aircraft are leaving at once. Airlines may cut down on uncertainty and delays by following a set boarding protocol, giving customers a better experience overall.

Cultural Factors 

There may be other justifications for boarding on the left side in different societies. For instance, people used to walk on the right side of the road in many Western nations. In line with this cultural custom, boarding from the left side makes it easier for passengers to maneuver the aircraft.

Boarding airplanes from the left side has a long history and serves practical purposes. Although right-handed pilots' convenience may have been the historical genesis of this practice, safety, airport infrastructure, standardization, and cultural concerns have led to its continuous use. Airlines can make sure that boarding goes smoothly and quickly for passengers everywhere by ensuring consistency in the boarding procedure. Take a minute to appreciate the care and preparation that went into this seemingly easy process the next time you board an aircraft.