Disembark through three doors? India-based airline is giving it a try

Aug 12, 2022

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I’m willing to bet that on the vast majority of flights on which you’ve flown in your life, you’ve boarded through one door and disembarked through that same door. There are, of course, exceptions to that.

Depending on an airport’s infrastructure, there might be multiple boarding doors used on certain large aircraft like an Airbus A380 which has two decks. The airline may also make use of an additional door when there’s remote boarding; I boarded through the back door of an Airbus A321 this spring at Providenciales International Airport (PLS) while visiting Turks and Caicos.

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Planes at Providenciales Airport in Turks and Caicos
I boarded through a rear door earlier this year at Providenciales International Airport (PLS) in Turks and Caicos. But using three doors to deplane is a new concept. (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

One international airline is taking things a step further.

India-based low-cost carrier IndiGo is trying something different: the carrier will use three doors on certain flights.

Three doors for disembarking

Calling this a “revolutionary” step, the airline will use the three doors — two at the front of the plane and one at the back — for deplaning when using remote boarding when there’s no jet bridge involved.

The move is a “simple yet effective way to complete a smooth travel experience for our customers,” IndiGo executive vice president Sanjeev Ramdas said in a statement about the move.

India’s largest carrier, IndiGo flies to a long list of domestic destinations within the country and internationally. The airline is also a partner with American Airlines.

IndiGo will start using this ‘three-point’ deplaning process upon arrivals in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru — all airports within India. However, the carrier has plans to roll out this deplaning process to airports across its network.

delhi gandhi airport
Inside Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India. (Photo by Instants / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

The carrier claims to be the first in the world to use such a process. The hope is that this will speed up the process of getting passengers off of planes, and thus the process of turning planes around for the next flight.

Related: TPG Reader Summary: What’s appropriate disembarking Etiquette?

An option for other airlines?

Making turnaround times quicker is certainly a challenge many airlines frequently grapple with, particularly at key hubs.

IndiGo aircraft set to use this new system include the carrier’s fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 jets, both of which are used by various airlines.

But is three-door de-boarding a realistic option for other airlines?

Former airline executive and current airline analyst Robert Mann shared his doubts with TPG.

While pointing out some airlines used the tactic on twin-aisle, wide-body aircraft dating back in the 1980s — using jet bridges, no less — the process was generally deemed “fairly complicated,” Mann said, and used only at select airports with the right equipment. Specifically, that would be airports that had over-the-wing jet bridges.

He expects the benefits of deplaning through both the left and right sides of the plane would not prove to be beneficial enough to warrant the change.

Bottom line

Simply put, whether this is a concept that catches on with other airlines remains to be seen. There’s no doubt, at the very least, there would be logistical challenges associated with flights that connect to airports by jet bridge, which is how a majority of flights at major airports operate.

Still, when you think of the time you spend on board planes after reaching the ground, it’s a unique idea to imagine. Or try out if you happen to be flying with IndiGo in the near future.

Related: Video Shows Passengers Deplaning From a Plane That Doesn’t Exist

Featured photo courtesy of IndiGo.

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