I noticed on an American Airline flight a gap of about 4 inches between the floor of the bridge and the airplane. Wide enough that if the passenger is not paying attention to the floor the foot may slip in between or at least get stuck. The flight attendant said there's always a gap. I've seen a gap but not that wide. Is there a maximum acceptable gap?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Could you add a picture to the question. $\endgroup$
    – Ethan
    Sep 1, 2015 at 1:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Ethan, that doesn't really seem necessary here? $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Sep 1, 2015 at 4:33
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    $\begingroup$ I think this is a good question. Often I feel the danger too, as the section at the edge of the bridge is made of rubber. And the gap worries me about the children boarding the aircraft. $\endgroup$
    – Firee
    Sep 1, 2015 at 10:50
  • $\begingroup$ Sometimes the gap varies... $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Jan 9, 2017 at 15:30

1 Answer 1


In general, there is a gap between the jet bridge (also called Passenger Boarding Bridges or PBB) and the aircraft. This is due to various reasons like,

  • To prevent damage to the fuselage
  • The jet bridge may not fit all the aircraft similarly as their fuselage dimensions are different.

According to FAA Advisory Circular 150/5220-21C,

The PBB should be equipped with sensors to safely prevent dangerous contact with the aircraft

The jet bridges at most airports are designed for larger passenger aircraft that are higher off the ground. When a small aircraft utilizes these jet bridges they must use a "ramp" to bridge the gap between the jet bridge and the aircraft.

According to the same Circular,

The maximum horizontal gap allowable along the path to the aircraft can be no greater than 1.25 in (32 mm)

So, I guess that a 4 inch gap is not allowed.

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    $\begingroup$ I always find it ironic that they have a sensor to protect the aircraft from contact damage but none to prevent the gap from getting too wide and "damaging" a passenger. Well, I guess aircraft cannot watch out for themselves. $\endgroup$ Sep 1, 2015 at 4:20
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    $\begingroup$ @curious_cat At every flight I took, there was a cabin crew member just behind the door (in the plane), watching carefully the boarding people and greeting them. I assume they would be ready to offer a helping hand to anybody in need. $\endgroup$
    – yo'
    Sep 1, 2015 at 11:25

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