In the answer to the recent question "How does an airliner adjust ...", there is the mentioning of the signal: "STOP TOO FAR". But what to do if you see this?

In other words, if the airliner stops too far next to the jet bridge, how is this problem typically resolved? I was thinking about the possible approaches:

  • In my car, I would just drive backwards. But seems that the usage of the reverse thrust is somewhat frowned upon.
  • The aircraft will be serviced without the jet bridge (movable stairs, etc).
  • The aircraft will be towed backwards where it should be.
  • The jet way most often can be adjusted to compensate the unexpected location, the sign is just the warning.
  • No ATPL holder would ever make a mistake of this kind anyway.

Also, how often does this happen? Is this a very rare problem or something more common?

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    $\begingroup$ Wouldn’t using reverse thrust (or any thrust) in the jetway area be a hazard to the grounds crew as well as the vast amount of glass in the area? $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


I can't tell you how often it happens, but the procedure is quite simple: stop the aircraft immediately, and alert the ground crew. It is then up to the ground crew to decide what, if anything, needs to happen. If the aircraft has just slightly passed the intended stop position, maybe it can just stay where it is. If it has overshot significantly, it may be required to push the aircraft back to the correct position with a tug. Worst case, the aircraft might have actually hit some obstacle (building, vehicle, jet bridge) in which case the aircraft or surrounding equipment might have been damaged.


This does happen. Despite what they'd like you to believe airline pilots are mere mortals, so they occasionally overshoot. Ground crews can mess up instructions as well. I've seen it happen once on a flight I was on, the pilot announced there'd be a short delay because they overshot the gate, in the end there was just enough width on the jetway to accommodate. I have no statistics on it, all I can say is it's rare.

Some jetways have the capacity to move left and right as well as forward and back, an overshoot in this case would likely be no problem unless it was so far in it was out of movement limits. These days most jetways I've seen can only move forward and back, so accurate braking is more critical, if a jet overshoots too far it will need a pushback to align it. Of course rolling stairs could also be used on rear doors, but it's hard to see that being used as it means a lot more messing around.


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