Ever Wondered Why Airplane Doors Are on the Left? Here’s the Fun Reason!

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Planes have been around for a long time, but there are still plenty of things about them that make you go, “Huh?” One of those things is why we always board airplanes from the left side.

A Nod to Tradition

According to a recent Mirror article, editor Oakley shared the interesting backstory. Turns out, the first commercial planes had passenger doors on the left because of tradition. A lot of the lingo and practices in aviation come from the sea.

Oakley explains that terms like “helm,” “cockpit,” “cabin,” “bulkhead,” and “knot” all have nautical origins. Just like boats and ships have a port side (left side) that faces the dock when they’re in port, planes adopted the same idea. So, passengers board from the port (or left) side, just like they would on a ship.

Practical Reasons

Ships were designed this way because the steering oar was usually on the right side, so it made sense to load passengers and cargo from the left. This idea stuck around when planes came along.

United Airlines actually tried using doors on the right side in the 1930s and 1940s. But as flying became more common, it just made more sense to have everyone board from the same side. Airports started designing terminals with this in mind, making the whole process smoother.

Pilot and Airport Efficiency

Matthew Burchette, a senior curator at the Museum of Flight in Tukwila, Washington, explained in The Metro that since pilots sit on the left side of the cockpit, it made sense for gates to be on the left. This way, pilots can see the gate better when they’re parking the plane.

As airports got more complex, and passengers started using jetways to board directly from the terminal to the plane, having a standard procedure for all planes helped make ground operations easier. Plus, it lets airport staff work on the right side of the plane without bumping into passengers.

So, next time you step onto a plane from the left side, remember it’s all about tradition and making things run smoothly!

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