There's a simple reason why we all board planes on the left-hand side

There's a simple reason why we all board planes on the left-hand side

There's a simple reason why we all board planes on the left-hand side

iStockphoto by Getty Images

TikTok viewers have shared their surprise at learning why exactly we all board planes on the left-hand side.

In the viral video from Dougie Sharpe (@dougiesharpe), the fun fact connoisseur explained the historical reason for passengers boarding on the left side of a plane rather than the right.

"The reason why we always load and unload planes from the left-hand side is a holdover from when humanity moved on boats," he began.

"Since ancient times, the left-hand side of the boat was always the side people would load and unload cargo and passengers from.

"This made things simple logistically and would allow ships to travel all over the world from port to port and always have the correct equipment on the correct side no matter where they went."

Sharpe added that this also made building ports easier "because everyone agreed the left-hand side was where we loaded and unloaded things from".

"This is why when you're on a boat they call the left-hand side of the boat port side and the right-hand side of the boat starboard."

The TikToker concluded: "As humanity changed from boats to airplanes, engineers just held the concept over and designed every airport and airplane so that passengers always load and unload the plane from the left hand side."


The reason we always board planes on the left hand side of the plane is a hold over from nautical times. #portside #nauticalterms #nauticalterminology #airplanetiktok #airplane #airport #interestingfacts #interestingfactsforyou #interestingfactshub #amazingfacts #amazingfactsforyou #amazingfactsministries #randomfacts #randomfactstiktok #randomfactsforyou #coolfacts #coolfactsforu #coolfactsyoudidntknow #coolfactz #facts #factsdaily #factsoftheday #factsoftiktok #factsoftheworld #factz #funfacts #funfactstoknow #funfactsoftheday #funfactsoftiktok

Since sharing this fact, the video has received 367,000 views, as people have been sharing their thoughts about this topic in the comments section.

One person said: "And now I can remember portside vs starboard. Nice."

"All true, May I also add, the term starboard comes from the fact they used to have a steering board on the right side of the ship," another person wrote.

Someone else added: "It makes sense to build an airport like a sea port they function very similarly."

"These are my favorite types of facts; practices that have lasted thousands of years," a fourth person commented.

Meanwhile, this fact has also been discussed by The Aviation Historian's managing editor, Michael Oakley.

“It is one of the many aviation practices that goes back beyond aviation itself to the traditions of ships," he explained to AFAR Media back in January.

“Much of aviation terminology had its origins in maritime lore (rudder, cockpit, cabin, bulkhead, knots, etc), and similarly, the aeronautical ways of doing things owe a lot to sailing.

"Just as boats and ships have a port side—the side of the vessel conventionally adjacent to the dock when in port—aircraft are the same. Sensibly, people decided to continue to board on the port (or left) side.”

An interesting fact to remember next time you're boarding a plane...

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