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convair880mfan
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Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Fri Jul 30, 2021 8:32 pm

I boarded a TWA Boeing 707-131B by climbing up steps on a mobile airstair truck in Albuquerque, Mexico. I also boarded a TWA Boeing 747 in New York City by climbing many steps up to the door on mobile airstair vehicle.

It is interesting to walk out to an airliner and see its external physical size "in the flesh" so to speak. I remember being somewhat humbled by walking out to a 747 and then having to climb all those steps to the door. I think I also boarded a Continental Boeing 727-200 via mobile airstairs as well as a few times on the installed tail section airstairs.

How about you?
 
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paullam
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Fri Jul 30, 2021 8:35 pm

Boarding via mobile airstairs as you call them is pretty common outside the US. In Europe you’ll have this almost on every LCC flight.

Tomorrow I’ll be boarding LH’s 747-8 at PMI which I’m really looking forward to! :D
 
PlymSpotter
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Fri Jul 30, 2021 9:18 pm

Yes, probably 100+ types, the largest being the 747-400.

My educated guess would put my stats as follows:

Airbridge: 25%
Integral Airstairs: 25%
Mobile Steps: 45%
None Needed: 5%

The latter applies to the really small stuff like GA or Islanders where you just step up into them.


Dan :)
 
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Aaron747
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Fri Jul 30, 2021 9:54 pm

Of course, this is nothing unusual. When I was a kid SJC was the home airport and it was all-airstairs. BUR and LGB are still all-airstairs.

Some memorable airstair boarding/deplanings:

CX, TG, and UA B744 at HKG Kai Tak
TG B734 at PHS
TG A330 at CNX
NH B735 at ITM
NH B763 at NRT
NW B742 at NRT
AA DC10 at OGG
UA B752 at KOA
UA B772 at KOA
AS B734 at PVR
EK B77W at DXB
FA B738 at PLZ
 
Yflyer
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Fri Jul 30, 2021 10:31 pm

I have boarded or deplaned from the apron via airstairs or ramps:

BA A320 at JTR
UA 739 at KOA
HA 717 at KOA
ET 738 at ZNZ
XP 734 at HAV
SY 738 at HAV

Also several RJs and turboprops that weren't as memorable.

I remember once time a long time ago we deplaned an Air Wisconsin BAe146 at RDU via airstairs, and then climbed a second set of airstairs connected to the end of the jetbridge. I assume the bridge that was available didn't fit that plane or something.
 
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AirKevin
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sat Jul 31, 2021 12:36 am

Northwest A320s at NRT. Once was departing NRT, the other was arriving at NRT.
 
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BWIAirport
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sat Jul 31, 2021 1:45 am

Always a special occasion, especially living here in the US. Deboarded via airstair in DUB off an EI A320, then in STT with a DL 752.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sat Jul 31, 2021 6:28 am

More often than not I've entered an aircraft through stairs, it's pretty common in Europe and certainly on LCCs. For example Ryanair prefers to use stairs even if jet bridges are available.

The largest aircraft I've exited through stairs (not entered, unfortunately) is the 787. It was on my return flight from Los Angeles to Barcelona on Norwegian, in Los Angeles we entered through a jet bridge but in Barcelona the aircraft was parked on a remote stand and stairs were mounted to it. That was convenient since I sat all the way in the back and now I was first to exit through the rear door. Then a bus ride along the airport to the terminal. But it was exciting standing there on the tarmac next to that big bird.

On most European LCCs it even says on your boarding card which door you should take for boarding, front or rear. This speeds up the boarding process since they can board from both ends. Of course that only works if they can use stairs, one of the reasons European LCCs don't want jet bridges. And of course on many airports remote stands are cheaper than jet bridge gates. Ryanair has built-in front air stairs on their 737s, wherever they are they just unfold the stairs from the aircraft. Only on the rear door they rely on what's available at the airport.
 
usflyer msp
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sat Jul 31, 2021 6:56 am

It is common outside of the US.
My favorite was boarding a US DC-9-30 at MEM in the late 90's using its own self-deploying built in airstairs. It was neat watching the stairs unfold themselves from a little pod underneath the door.
 
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conaly
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sat Jul 31, 2021 7:47 am

Very common in Europe, Africa and Asia, therefore I've done that very very often. There are quite a few airports I've been to, that don't even have air bridges at all. I've boarded and deboarded a lot of aircraft types via built in or mobile air stairs, with the biggest being the A330-300 (Lufthansa in KWI, Turkish Airlines in ISL and IST). Contrary, there are some aircraft types I've actually never boarded via air bridges like ATR or DHC-8. Actually I was pretty surprised, when I had my first domestic flight in the US with a CRJ, that was in fact boarded with an air bridge instead of stairs.

In Frankfurt I've even seen a Lufthansa A380 being boarded via air stairs.
 
TravelsUK
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sat Jul 31, 2021 9:41 am

Too many different types to bother listing, everything from an AA MD11 at LHR through to a Sky Express J31 at EFL

Do remember that the world doesn’t stop at the border with Canada or Mexico and using stairs and steps is a pretty everyday occurrence to most non Americans, indeed this morning I had a to use some stairs to reach my kitchen to make my coffee AND I survived the ordeal!

Almost every country I have ever flown to or in (over 103 countries, 880 flights!) uses airstair boarding or aircraft use integral stairs, or back in the day ventral stairs, as a matter of routine regardless of an airport having jetbridges, it makes boarding and disembarking so much quicker and more efficient.

There are lots of things that infuriate me at US airports such as always utter chaos at the drop off area in front of the terminal, why have 4 lanes of traffic but actually only one kerb to use? Plethora of fast-food restaurants but never anything decent to eat? Plastic everything in so called premium lounges but the MOST frustrating thing is arriving at a gate and having to wait for the jetbridge to become available!

Dash8 has just 5 steps from the ground but you can’t use those, no, you have to wait for some ridiculous ramp contraption to be manhandled in to place. ERJ135 has a door with stairs, aircraft stops on the ramp, drop the door, pax get off – easy! Nope, you have to wait for some bored ramp agent to manoeuvre a jetbridge to the aircraft door, then the little ramp thing put in place less you fall through the 6 inch gap between the door and the bridge etc. etc. before walking off the aircraft.

And we in the rest of the world deal with disabled or handicapped people perfectly well using high lift devices etc. no fuss, no bother and no inconvenience to all other passengers on the aircraft.
 
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AirKevin
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sat Jul 31, 2021 1:02 pm

TravelsUK wrote:
ERJ135 has a door with stairs

Not always. Some of them have the sliding door without stairs.
 
FlyingHonu001
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sat Jul 31, 2021 2:46 pm

Ah yes...my favorite memories are with KL using the 744 from AMS to PBM. Arriving in PBM is always a pleasure., you literally walk out of the plane and onto to platform and then you have to walk all the way across to get to the terminal. Seeing the Queen on the tarmac after deboarding is really a magificent sight to behold...
 
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paullam
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sat Jul 31, 2021 2:57 pm

FlyingHonu001 wrote:
Ah yes...my favorite memories are with KL using the 744 from AMS to PBM. Arriving in PBM is always a pleasure., you literally walk out of the plane and onto to platform and then you have to walk all the way across to get to the terminal. Seeing the Queen on the tarmac after deboarding is really a magificent sight to behold...

It’s even better with the -8 like today in PMI:

Image

Image
 
FlyingHonu001
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:33 pm

:hyper: Wow, just wow... *goes frantically searching for a last minute to PMI'*
 
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paullam
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:36 pm

FlyingHonu001 wrote:
:hyper: Wow, just wow... *goes frantically searching for a last minute to PMI'*

Try your luck next Saturday. LH might send the A350 from MUC and the 748 from FRA which makes quite a lovely day trip.
Additionally you may take LX’s 77W from Zurich.
 
N965UW
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sun Aug 01, 2021 3:50 am

Some airports board CRJs with a mobile ramp that fits over the door's integrated stairs. Less steep (good for wheelchairs and the less physically able) but you feel much higher up off the ground. Having experienced both, I prefer to just climb more quickly up the integrated door stairs.

I once visited a 744F with wraparound-style stairs and it felt like it took forever to climb them going around and around.

I've boarded C-17s via the fairly straightforward integral stairs up front, but boarding via the rear ramp is more fun :D
 
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vhqpa
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sun Aug 01, 2021 7:44 am

In Australia it's not all that uncommon to board via airstairs at least for narrowbody aircraft. Excluding -EBQ at the Qantas founders museum in LRE (747-200) the largest I've boarded is either a Jetstar A321 at BNE, or an Icelandair 757-200 at KEF.

I have however deboarded a Qantas A380 at LHR which was quite impressive.

Image

Image
 
IAHFLYR
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:59 pm

Though I'm certain I boarded some such as B707 and DC7's as a very young kid from CLE, but more recent either boarding or deplaning would have taken place in:

a. FMY (yes old Page Field) in 70's numerous times getting on and off National Airlines B727's.
b. BPT (yes the resort spot in far southeast TX :duck: ) in early 80's getting on and off Continental Airlines DC9 and B727's for the 20 minute flight to/from IAH.
c. MUC 2014 after parking on a hard stand after arriving on a United Airlines B772.
d. NAP in 2104 departing on Air Dolomiti E195.
e. PVR in 2016 after parking on a hard stand after arriving on a United Airlines A320.
f. SJD in 2017 after parking on a hard stand after arriving on a United Airlines B738.
 
TheEuphorian
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sun Aug 01, 2021 1:40 pm

Back in 2018, I boarded a TG A350-900 via airstairs in BKK, and its common for TG to use remote stands at BKK for some reason.
 
F27500
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sun Aug 01, 2021 2:10 pm

My most noteable ones (not including commuter/regional planes):

Eastern L-1011 (Hartford and Orlando)
Icelandair DC-8 (Keflavik x 2)
KLM DC-8 (Curacao)
Northeast 727-200 (Nassau)
National 727-200 (Sarasota)
Eastern 727-100 (Sarasota)
Allegheny DC9-30 and BAC1-11 (Hartford)
United 737-300 (New Haven)

Nothing better than boarding by stairs .. seeing the plane, smelling the Jet-A .. (of course not when its raining or snowing though)
 
hoons90
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sun Aug 01, 2021 2:24 pm

I've experienced it too many times to list, but the claustrophobe in me dislikes being crammed into a packed ramp bus. My worst experience was in Abu Dhabi where the temperature was 40C/104F+ and the A/C on the bus barely seemed to be working.

I recall walking straight from the plane to the terminal at Ponta Delgada Airport a while back, and that wasn't a bad experience. Not sure I would feel that way when it's raining, though.
 
seat1a
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sun Aug 01, 2021 3:57 pm

Slightly different question, what about the mobile lounges at Dulles? Do they count? Was looking through an old Braniff timetable from 1977, and they have an arriving flight from DFW or AUS that departs for NYC at the same time. Was the mobile lounge just waiting and ready to go? Turnaround time seemed unreasonable to arrive and depart at same time.
 
e38
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sun Aug 01, 2021 4:54 pm

seat1a wrote:
What about the mobile lounges at Dulles? They have an arriving flight from DFW or AUS that departs for NYC at the same time. Was the mobile lounge just waiting and ready to go? Turnaround time seemed unreasonable to arrive and depart at same time.


sea1a, the times shown in the timetable are the arrival and departure times of the mobile lounges from the terminal, not the airplane. The aircraft would have actually arrived earlier than the time listed. Similarly, the aircraft would have departed later than the published time. If I recall correctly, the average amount of time the schedule planners allowed for the mobile lounge to transit from the aircraft to the terminal was about 15 minutes (for planning purposes) so the actual ground time of the aircraft would have been around 30 minutes.

Since there was little or no likelihood of passengers from the inbound flight continuing aboard the aircraft, it would not have been unrealistic for the mobile lounge for the outbound flight to board at the terminal prior to the arrival of the mobile lounge from the arriving flight (different mobile lounges, of course).

Not sure it counts in the context of this thread, however, as the times I used mobile lounges at Dulles, it was very similar to using a jetway--almost completely enclosed (I think the ramp from the lounge to the aircraft was open on the sides, although covered on top) and passengers did not climb or descend a mobile airstair.

e38
 
seat1a
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sun Aug 01, 2021 5:11 pm

e38 wrote:
seat1a wrote:
What about the mobile lounges at Dulles? They have an arriving flight from DFW or AUS that departs for NYC at the same time. Was the mobile lounge just waiting and ready to go? Turnaround time seemed unreasonable to arrive and depart at same time.


sea1a, the times shown in the timetable are the arrival and departure times of the mobile lounges from the terminal, not the airplane. The aircraft would have actually arrived earlier than the time listed. Similarly, the aircraft would have departed later than the published time. If I recall correctly, the average amount of time the schedule planners allowed for the mobile lounge to transit from the aircraft to the terminal was about 15 minutes (for planning purposes) so the actual ground time of the aircraft would have been around 30 minutes.

Since there was little or no likelihood of passengers from the inbound flight continuing aboard the aircraft, it would not have been unrealistic for the mobile lounge for the outbound flight to board at the terminal prior to the arrival of the mobile lounge from the arriving flight (different mobile lounges, of course).

Not sure it counts in the context of this thread, however, as the times I used mobile lounges at Dulles, it was very similar to using a jetway--almost completely enclosed (I think the ramp from the lounge to the aircraft was open on the sides, although covered on top) and passengers did not climb or descend a mobile airstair.

All makes sense, as one DFW-IAD flight arrives fifteen minutes after the published time of the IAD-JFK flight!

Thank you so much for the generous response, much appreciated.


e38
 
seat1a
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sun Aug 01, 2021 7:42 pm

e38 wrote:
seat1a wrote:
What about the mobile lounges at Dulles? They have an arriving flight from DFW or AUS that departs for NYC at the same time. Was the mobile lounge just waiting and ready to go? Turnaround time seemed unreasonable to arrive and depart at same time.


sea1a, the times shown in the timetable are the arrival and departure times of the mobile lounges from the terminal, not the airplane. The aircraft would have actually arrived earlier than the time listed. Similarly, the aircraft would have departed later than the published time. If I recall correctly, the average amount of time the schedule planners allowed for the mobile lounge to transit from the aircraft to the terminal was about 15 minutes (for planning purposes) so the actual ground time of the aircraft would have been around 30 minutes.

Since there was little or no likelihood of passengers from the inbound flight continuing aboard the aircraft, it would not have been unrealistic for the mobile lounge for the outbound flight to board at the terminal prior to the arrival of the mobile lounge from the arriving flight (different mobile lounges, of course).

Not sure it counts in the context of this thread, however, as the times I used mobile lounges at Dulles, it was very similar to using a jetway--almost completely enclosed (I think the ramp from the lounge to the aircraft was open on the sides, although covered on top) and passengers did not climb or descend a mobile airstair.

e38


Thanks for the generous reply and information. So the published arrival time really wasn't published. How do the mobile lounges work at IAD, do they have one for deplaning one for boarding? I ask as I've never been to Dulles.
 
zuckie13
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:05 pm

Two I can think of are

A CO 737 (Do not remember the version, I wasn't even 10) at JAC on a flight from DEN (the old DEN) sometime late 80's. I bet they use those mobile ramps there today right?
A LY 747 at TLV like '96\'97. Arrived on a -200 from EWR via Stansted. Departed on a -400 back to JFK.
 
jetwet1
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:34 pm

Most common for me would be WN 737's through BUR, most memorable would be a VS 744 at LHR.
 
Kent350787
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:49 pm

Virgin Australia boards the back of its 737s via mobile airstairs at most major ports in Australia, using jetbridge for the front half of the aircraft. There are only around 7 ports with jetbridges in the whole country, so most travellers will have boarded narrowbodies and props via airstair at some stage.
 
ZK-NBT
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Mon Aug 02, 2021 2:55 am

I can remember.

Deplaned a CO 747 from HNL at AKL 1987, I was very young but remember walking across the tarmac and seeing how big the aircraft was.

Boarded a QF 763 at AKL to SYD in 2003, taken via bus to the aircraft.

Deplaned TG aircraft in BKK 2-3 times via stairs. An A3B6 and an A333 from memory.

Boarded an SJ (Freedom Air A320 in NAN to HLZ in 2005 via stairs.

Deplaned an NZ733 in ZQN and boarded an ATR72.

I can’t recall exactly where but Various ports in Asia REP, SGN from memory.
 
zrs70
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:33 am

I always enjoy stairs to/ from the plane.

I always hate the inevitable bus to/ from the plane. All too often I arrive in business or first only to be in a hot, crowded bus. Kind of dampers the sense of arrival!
 
jumpjets
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Mon Aug 02, 2021 8:34 am

I have used air stairs many times over the years. A few slightly more interesting (to me anyway) include:

Air India 788 at Amritsar
Egyptair 777 at Cairo
British Airways 767 at Accra.

I don’t know if planes with their own integral stairs count for this thread but I have used the integral rear stairs on BCal BaC 1-11s at Gatwick and Tunis and Aerogaviota AN26 at Santiago de Cuba.
 
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Boair
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Mon Aug 02, 2021 9:04 am

As said above, it's pretty common in certain places of the world. On top of my head, the most interesting I had:

-Royal Air Maroc 744/763/788 in CMN
-Cubana IL-96 in MAD and HAV
-VN 772 in SGN

Other than that, dozen's of 737 and A320 Family with AF/AT/TO/VY/3O/TP/AZ/JN/8J/TK/UX/TB/VN and probably a few others that I can't remember.
 
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AirKevin
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:16 pm

jumpjets wrote:
I don’t know if planes with their own integral stairs count for this thread but I have used the integral rear stairs on BCal BaC 1-11s at Gatwick and Tunis and Aerogaviota AN26 at Santiago de Cuba.

I don't think so, given the question was about mobile airstairs.
 
Woodreau
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Mon Aug 02, 2021 2:06 pm

Boarded and deplaned using mobile air stairs in DEN, DFW, ORD, KOA, STT, BUR, CUN, SJD, KEF from a 319 / 320 / 321 all within the past 12 months.
 
e38
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Mon Aug 02, 2021 6:12 pm

seat1a wrote:
So the published arrival time really wasn't published. How do the mobile lounges work at IAD, do they have one for deplaning one for boarding?


This is slightly off-topic, but just to answer the question posed by seat1a (Reply # 26) concerning mobile lounges at Dulles airport (KIAD).

Prior to the construction of the mid-field concourses, when almost all aircraft parked at the remote parking area and mobile lounges were regularly used, roughly 1962-1983, the published arrival and departure times in airline timetables serving Dulles were the arrival and departure times of the mobile lounges at the main terminal. The actual arrival and departure times of the aircraft were not meaningful to the passengers. If you were leaving out of Dulles and missed the departure of the mobile lounge from the terminal, you missed the flight. The original mobile lounges held 70-75 passengers; more modern ones used today hold around 100 people.

The mobile lounges are not used very much at Dulles any longer--mostly for taking passengers from the main terminal to the D concourse, transporting arriving international passengers to the International Arrivals Building, and to transport passengers on aircraft required to park on remote hardstands.

I know wikipedia is not always a reliable source of information, but if you take a look at wikipedia Dulles International Airport, the information is fairly accurate.

To answer the question from zuckie13 (Reply # 27) regarding JAC (Jackson Hole Airport, Wyoming KJAC), there are no jetways at JAC; all the gates--I think there are six of them--use ground level boarding. The last time I was there most of the gates had the "switch-back" ramps--not actual airstairs.

e38
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:08 pm

CO 738 in BZE
UA 764 in FRA in the rear
UA 788 in FRA
ERJs and CRJs via tiny, driverless stairs and integral stairs and ramps in IAH.
ATR integral stairs in MEM and IAH
 
andz
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:23 pm

Okay so we have all done it but how many have done it starboard side?

SAA 747 at SID en route from JNB-JFK and JNB-ATL, I have done it a couple of times, it's quite an unusual feeling.

 
cpd
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Mon Aug 02, 2021 8:08 pm

Biggest was Emirates 777-300ER in Dubai. Enter at the front door the walk to the right aisle and immediately to seat 1F. :)

Similar in Geneva, we always leave via stairs.

Also done the same on a Qantas 767 which flown by Capt. Sutton on that day.
 
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Mortyman
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Wed Aug 04, 2021 11:48 pm

*Deleted*
 
se210
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Thu Aug 05, 2021 1:20 am

Some classic mobile airstairs ...

Image
Source: Postcard Curteichcolor D-13878

Image
Source: Postcard Edizione Fratelli Bucaro 280
 
N1120A
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Thu Aug 05, 2021 3:30 am

My love of aviation was sparked by boarding flights at ONT with air stairs. In the current era, most of my stair flights have been RJs or at either Greek Island airports or BUR. I've not gotten stairs at FRA in a long time, but I definitely have exited a few 747s there on stairs. I remember doing an ATA L1011 at PVR in 1999, which was a pretty immense experience.
 
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Garuda200
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Re: Any airliners you boarded by means of mobile airstairs?

Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:42 am

In Indonesia, Airstairs are so common that 60% of all flights in Indonesia use stairs

the one i remember most was a TG 777-200 to BKK in which entering and leaving the plane were both on stairs

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