Stop on the ramp while to take a panoramic photo of your aircraft? Sure!

Stop on the ramp while to take a panoramic photo of your aircraft? Sure! Photo by Jason Rabinowitz.

When you think of airports that appeal to AvGeek, a certain few will always come to mind: St. Maarten, Los Angeles, or maybe Paine Field. Some airports that probably don’t come to mind might be West Palm Beach, Burbank, and Ft. Lauderdale, but maybe they should.

In most major American airports, passengers flow directly from the terminal to the aircraft by the use of a jet bridge, never truly getting a good view of the aircraft they are about to board. At some airports, however, if you play your cards right, you are able to board the plane from the ramp, getting an epic view of your soon to be aircraft as you enter through the door. At some locations there passengers can both board from a jetway in the front and via the ramp in the back.

See the jetway from the back of the plane. Picture by Jason Rabinowitz.

See the jetway from the back of the plane. Picture by Jason Rabinowitz.

“We provide rear deplaning in several of our warmer weather cities. Domestically, we have rear deplaning in West Palm Beach, FL, Long Beach, CA, Fort Lauderdale, FL (on occasion), and Burbank, CA,” said Allison Steinberg, Corporate Communications at JetBlue. “During warmer times of the year we offer this service in JFK, Nantucket, MA, Martha’s Vineyard, MA, and Westchester County, NY.”

But why does JetBlue provide this awesome opportunity? No, it isn’t for the AvGeeks, but simply to turn the plane around faster to minimize aircraft downtime. “In most instances, it is helpful when we utilize rear deplaning and allows for us to turn aircraft easier,” said Steinberg, adding “many customers enjoy it and even take photos while they walk past the engine and wing.”

While the ability for passengers to walk along side the aircraft and take pictures is an unintended consequence of efficiency, it is great to see that JetBlue has no issues with passengers making the most of the experience. Typically, only passengers seated in the rear half of the aircraft are given the option to board via the air stairs, so plan accordingly if you want to try this out. When on the ramp, don’t be afraid to take some pictures and document the experience!

This story written by… Jason Rabinowitz, Senior Correspondent.Jason is a New York City native who has grown up in the shadow of JFK International Airport. A true “avgeek”, he enjoys plane spotting and photography, as well taking any opportunity he can get to fly on an aircraft.@AirlineFyer | FaceBook |

CORRESPONDENT - NEW YORK, NY. Jason is an #AvGeek that does passenger experience research, data analysis, and writes things about airlines, airplanes and travel. Email:
Review: Flying (like a boss) In a Boeing Business Jet

In the past I’ve done this with them (and another carrier I can’t recall) at MCO and RSW.

Also, at most smaller European airports this is the status quo with the LLCs–certainly Ryanair almost everywhere they fly.


Don’t forget KOA. No jetways and not only do you get to see your plane, you immediately know you’re in Hawaii.

It’s not just jetways that KOA lacks. There’s also not much in the way of windows. Or roofs, for that matter.

Actually, I’m not so sure you know you’re in Hawaii when you land at KOA. Most people picture Hawaii as a tropical paradise with lots of greenery, palm trees, etc. KOA is in the middle of a lava field; it’s surrounded mostly by black rock.

PUJ is another great airport that uses ramps. To see sometimes as many as 11 aircraft all lined up plus you get to walk past several wide bodies. Viewing them from the ground is cool.


Manuel Vieira Ribeiro

Like previously mentioned,I’ve done it many times with Ryanair,and also with Lufthansa in FRA(early 2000s).


I’ve done the same with Virgin Blue (now Virgin Australia) in Melbourne. I’ve also left a KLM 747 by stairs in Cape Town, which didn’t have jet-bridges at the time. Let me tell you, getting off a 747 those stairs are steep!

Here in St Thomas in the Virgin Islands they do two sets of stairs with no jetway!

I always loved flying JetBlue through Long Beach for that reason. I will gladly take any opportunity I can get to walk on the tarmac. It is always fun to be around the aircraft, on the outside.


That “T”-word again!…;). Airports tend to have ramps, aprons, hardstands, but an airport chart will never indicate a “tarmac”. We all know that boarding via a jetbridge (Jetway is a trademarked name as is Tarmac) takes away that first element of the flying experience.


Where do you go when you get off at the back, but the front door has a jetbridge?

Surprisingly enough, I’ve think I remember vaguely Luthansa doing it a couple of time on short domestic hops, can’t be sure though

Ryan Pierson

Dave is right about Long Beach, California. All 4 airlines board from ground level from 11 brand new gates. The temporary trailers are gone. JetBlue uses switchback ramps for the front door and stairways for the back door.

alex reyes

It’s time for the now famous system called WheelTug !!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *