Remote Stands: Like Them or Not?

J ames Larounis of The Forward Cabin ranted in this article about using what are known at airports as remote stands, which is where passengers are either escorted from the gate out onto the tarmac using a staircase to board an airplane rather than a jet bridge; or exit the aircraft down a flight of stairs to be escorted across the tarmac back into the terminal building.

In other words, he “hates” them and some of their aspects — including the extra time it takes to use a remote stand pertaining to luggage or ground transportation such as a bus.

“Wah, wah, wah! This is typical for airports in China”, reader Darth Chocolate posted in the Comments area. “It has happened in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guanzhou. For 737s, no less.”

Darth Chocolate happens to be correct. During my unintentional trip around the world, I have used remote stands multiple times at airports such as in Rome, Dublin and Shanghai.

I personally do not like to use remote stands in general myself; but I certainly do not “hate” them or will not rant about them. Here is my list of negative and positive factors about remote stands:


  • More time is usually needed between the gate and the aircraft — especially if a bus is involved — as the gate usually tends to be at ground level at the far corners of the airport terminal
  • Inclement weather such as rain, wind or cold temperatures does affect passengers — even if only for a moment
  • Although elite level status members may board the bus first, that benefit is typically negligible
  • Gate areas tend to be smaller in size — and therefore usually more crowded — than those equipped with jet bridges
  • When deplaning a larger aircraft, you are more often than not waiting for your checked baggage at the bottom of the stairs



  • When the weather is terrific — such as a warm sunny day or a clear cool starry evening — passengers get to enjoy it
  • If you are an aviation enthusiast, you can get some of the best photographs of airplanes — and parts of the airport, for that matter — right there on the tarmac
  • You get to feel like a world leader for a few seconds — no world leader worth his or her salt would ever dare use a jet bridge, right?!? — and do not forget to turn around for a second and gesture that hand wave at your admiring constituents as you walk up those stairs; and ladies get extra points for wearing clean white gloves
  • When deplaning a smaller aircraft such as a regional jet, your checked baggage is more often than not waiting for you at the bottom of the stairs
  • It is usually easier for a pilot to find a parking spot for the aircraft out on the tarmac than to find an available open gate if the flight concludes early


Am I missing anything from the above lists? Please let your thoughts be known in the Comments section below. Thank you.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

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