What happens when you try to open a plane door mid-flight


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More than 2.6 million people fly daily in and out of a U.S. airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

On Monday, a female airplane passenger is under arrest for attempting to open a boarding door on a Delta Airlines flight from Indianapolis to Detroit. Fellow passengers restrained the woman, who has not been named, until the plane landed in Detroit.

But is it possible to open a door amid a flight? What happens if a door is open during a flight?

It depends on the height of the plane.

More: Woman arrested for attempting to open door on Delta flight en route to Detroit

According to a report from The Telegraph, air pressure within the plane’s cabin is a factor when it comes to the possibility of opening a door. The higher the plane’s elevation, the higher the pressure.


He just wanted to open a window. At least that’s the claim of a 25-year-old Chinese man, now facing an $11,000 fine after opening the emergency exit door of a plane because he felt “stuffy” on the flight.

If someone did manage to open the door, it could result in a person being ejected into the sky if standing near the door, the report stated.

The plane may even begin to break apart.

But it would be nearly impossible once the plane is in the sky, airline pilot Patrick Smith told The Telegraph in 2017.

“Cabin pressure won’t allow it,” Smith said. “Think of an aircraft door as a drain plug, fixed in place by the interior pressure. Almost all aircraft exits open inward. Some retract upward into the ceiling; others swing outward; but they open inward first.

“At a typical cruising altitude, up to eight pounds of pressure are pushing against every square inch of interior fuselage. That’s over 1,100 pounds against each square foot of door.”

However, the report stated that as the plane’s descends to lower altitudes, the cabin pressure weakens and the probability of opening a plane door becomes more likely.


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