Who is allowed to open an aircraft from the outside?

October 14, 2008

Ok, so a flight attendant was talking and questioned why they were not trained to open a door from the outside. My first thought was, “Why do you need to?” I figured the FAA would have some regulation online but came up blank other than a memo regarding an attendant who closed doors when a plane was on the ground and then opened it and was thrown. Anyone in the flight business have a site I can reference that basically says “It’s a safety regulation because_____.

It’s not an FAA regulation. Each carrier is therefore left to devise its own procedures as to who’s allowed to open the doors from where. The main reason why the airlines are so particular as to who may open and when, is that they’ll want to eliminate inadvertent slide deployments.

Comments

7 Responses to “Who is allowed to open an aircraft from the outside?”

  1. grumpy geezer on October 14th, 2008 11:33 am

    It’s not an FAA regulation. Each carrier is therefore left to devise its own procedures as to who’s allowed to open the doors from where. The main reason why the airlines are so particular as to who may open and when, is that they’ll want to eliminate inadvertent slide deployments.
    References :

  2. Airmech on October 14th, 2008 11:38 am

    only the pilot is allowed to open and lock doors. I think it says that in CFR 49 part 91 somewhere but I don't have time to find it. The company that operates the plane will have their own procedures that have been accepted by the FAA and that is what they will follow in this case.

    you have to be trained to open them from the inside too that is why they give a briefing to train everyone in an exit row on how to open the door.
    References :

  3. peter.jungmann on October 14th, 2008 12:10 pm

    Anyone who has been trained to unlock the door can unlock the door. [pardon me about the unlock, I meant "open" — although many Russian airliners DO have locks on the doors. ]

    Usually they train gate agents and mechanics to do this, because they are in the position that they have to.

    The pilots are typically trained on EVERYTHING on the airplane, including opening the doors, closing the doors and the coffee pot. The coffee pot training will likely be slightly less formal than they door training, but they'll still need to know how to turn it off, and where the circuit breaker for it is.
    References :

  4. Dan on October 14th, 2008 12:24 pm

    When a passenger flight arrives at a gate or jetway, the flight attendants open the door partially. This lets the agent who is driving the jetway know that the door can be safely opened. This is to prevent accidental slide deployment, which will take an aircraft out of service.

    However, an aircraft which is just parked and has the door closed to keep the rain or other such out can be opened by ramp agents, passenger agents or mechanics, all of which have been trained how to open the door.

    I do not know of a site that you can reference as this is company (airline) regulations, not from the FAA or manufacturer. There is no need for companies to make this sort of thing publicly accessible.

    Regards,
    Dan

    PS There are no locks on airliner doors.
    References :
    22 years as a Customer Service Agent with United

    Opened lots of doors over the years. Read lots of regs, too.

  5. Mxsmanic on October 14th, 2008 1:04 pm

    Flight attendants don’t need to open the door from outside because all of their work is inside the aircraft. They certainly aren’t going to be outside the aircraft when it’s away from the gate, and at the gate there are other people to open the doors when necessary.

    It’s very easy to open the doors from the outside and it’s not top secret, but it’s not something that anyone inside the aircraft really needs to do.

    It’s a bit like asking if the crew of a cruise ship knows how to tie the ship to the dock. They don’t have to tie the ship to anything during a voyage, and when they are in port, someone else handles the task of securing the ship to the dock. It’s not necessarily a complicated task or a secret one, it’s just not part of the job for these crew members.
    References :

  6. dk on October 14th, 2008 1:46 pm

    Anybody trained to open the door is told to partially open the door, visually check to make sure the girt bar is detached, then open the door. Almost all modern airliners have a way to check it.

    Here's a short video, At 1:00 it tells about the girt bar. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfVnfujHttw&feature=related

    The airlines I've worked for, gate agents, mechanics, cabin cleaners and caterers are all trained to open the door from the outside. Nobody except mechanics are allowed to open the doors from the inside unless it's an emergency.

    Opening the door from the outside is the safest way to open the door. Even if someone forgets to disarm the door, opening it from the outside disarms it.

    "Defense Strategies. One operator reported that according their procedures cabin crews are not allowed to open any door, except during an emergency" http://www.fire.tc.faa.gov/2001Conference/files/OpsEquipmentFirefightingRescue/DReisingerSLIDE.pdf
    References :

  7. Steve M on October 14th, 2008 2:15 pm

    Naturally you need to know how to operate the door correctly and are not allowed to operate the door yourself!!! Safety, Safety, Safety!!!!!
    References :

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