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What opening a plane door mid-flight would do

Cosmopolitan logo Cosmopolitan 4 days ago Jess Edwards

This is what would happen if someone tried to open a plane door mid-flight © Getty This is what would happen if someone tried to open a plane door mid-flight Every day we're learning more and more about travelling on planes, from what the flight attendants think of passengers' behaviour, why we shouldn't drink the water and how to calm ourselves down during severe turbulence.

But some of the questions that we have about flying make us feel a bit silly to say out loud. If you're an anxious flyer, or just a curious person, you've definitely wondered this before: what actually would happen if someone opened the plane door mid-flight?

Just this month there have been news reports of passengers trying to do that very thing, which is quite frankly, terrifying. Thankfully the cabin crew have been able to stop them before they reached the door every time.

But what would happen if they hadn't been stopped?

Well, according to Travel and Leisure, we can all relax a little as opening a cabin door while the plane is at cruising altitude is physically impossible.

Jason Rabinowitz, aviation blogger, told Travel and Leisure: “When at cruising altitude, the pressure difference between the outside of the plane and the inside of the plane, which is pressurised, creates a situation where the door cannot open.”


In fact, the pressure pushing against the plane's interior is so strong that it would take a hydraulic jack to even get close to opening the door. If it did happen, which, remember, is impossible, then Rabinowitz told Travel and Leisure that this would cause an “explosive decompression".

At this point pilots would make a dramatic emergency descent and oxygen masks would drop from the ceiling.

High fives all round for the plane engineers that have made this situation very rare indeed.

Related: 3 Surprising Facts About Airplane Germs (provided by Real Simple)


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