I can prebook a seat on my next flight. I would like to be able to be one of the first passengers to get out on arrival, just to prevent being last on the queue at immigrations. At some airports big planes are connected by at least two jetways, making it possible to leave from the backdoor. Is this also the case at SFO?

  • I think your options on a 777 and jetways are roughly: front door, door about row 15, front and 15. The rear door will only ever tend to get used when going for steps+bus (normally then front+rear steps)
    – Gagravarr
    Aug 29 '13 at 11:13
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    SFO has construction right now that means you are more likely to take stairs (and a bus) than you would be at other times. Don't know if it'll apply, don't know if they'll roll up multiple sets, but FYI.
    – hunter2
    Aug 30 '13 at 9:56

Short answer - For any airport with jetways / jetbridge / airbridges, sit as far forward as you can get!

Longer answer - a 777 has 4 doors on each side (5 for the 777-300), but in common with almost all planes and airports passengers only ever use the left hand side ones unless something has gone wrong. Those doors are 1L (at the front), 2L (about row 10-15, towards the end of business), 3L (just behind the wing), and 4L (at the back). (A 777-300 has 3L just above the wing, 4L a little behind, and 5L at the back)

If there's only one jetbridge available, it might use 1L, or it might use 2L, depending on the airport, never anything further back. If it's a dual jetbridge gate, then both 1L and 2L will be used. Typically when using 1L and 2L, boarding is split by class, and disembarking is done with one side of the plane using one door, the other side the other. For that reason, sitting at the front of the left hand side is normally slightly quicker!

The only time the rear door will be used is when steps are used. If steps are used, they're normally 1L or 2L along with 4L/5L. Steps are only rarely used with a widebody like a 777, and normally only at smaller airports on (eg "bucket and spade" airports on mostly tourist routes). Otherwise, unless there's a problem with the gate, at a big airport it'll be jetbridge at the front.

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    "bucket and spade"? Aug 29 '13 at 15:53
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    If you don't take a bucket and spade with you to the beach, how else can you make your sandcastle? It's commonly used on places like flyertalk to refer to summer holiday / tourist beachy type destinations. Typically only those sorts of airports where you fly in on a 777 or 747, then have to walk down steps to get to the terminal!
    – Gagravarr
    Aug 29 '13 at 15:58
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    Stairs are common at some of the worlds largest airports, where they frequently use buses to get people between the terminal and the plane. eg, I've used stairs countless times to board/deplane 747s and 777s (as well as many narrow-bodies) at both Frankfurt and London Heathrow, which are certainly not "tourist route" airports. To stay on the original topic, no, they do not use stairs at SFO.
    – Doc
    Aug 29 '13 at 17:50
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    Narrowbodies certainly! I seem to get that all the time :( However I've only ever boarded a widebody by stairs at small "touristy" airports
    – Gagravarr
    Aug 29 '13 at 19:57
  • And at airports undergoing construction ...
    – hunter2
    Aug 30 '13 at 9:55

2 jetways are used on boarding/leaving large airplanes like the A330-200 and 747-8i. But it actually depends on the airplane's length and amount of passengers, not the location. However, they use jetways in select 777-200 flights, so yes and no is my answer FYI.

  • It very much depends on location. While most of the busy international terminals do have 2 jetways per gate, there are lots of airports that have only one jetway per gate. Some terminals even have 3 jetways per gate with the 3rd being used to allow passengers to directly board into the upper deck of an A380 or 747. Of course, for smaller planes with only one boarding door, only one of the two jetways will be used if it parks at a gate with multiple jetways.
    – reirab
    Jun 5 '14 at 15:33

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