Is it possible for anyone on an aircraft to open the exit door? Or does pilot or crew have to activate door open mechanism, so that it can be opened?

  • $\begingroup$ This question should be reopened as is not a duplicate. The linked question asks about opening in flight, while this question only asks WHO can open a door. The linked answers do not answer WHO can open an airliner door. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Mike: I agree, it should be, but the asker voted to close it ("community bot" means OP pressed yes on the banner), nonetheless I'm voting to reopen. $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ An important point is that any passenger can open the door for an emergency evacuation if the crew is incapacitated. $\endgroup$
    – Raffles
    Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 21:38

1 Answer 1


The pilots have no direct control over the operation of the exit doors. Anyone can open an exit door provided the aircraft is not pressurized. There are simple instructions on the door, so that in an emergency, a passenger can open it if a crew member is not near by.

Most airliner doors also incorporate emergency escape slides that can be automatically deployed when the door is opened. There is an “Arm” switch or lever on the door itself to activate this system. The slides are typically armed by the Flight Attendants once the aircraft pushes back from the gate.

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