View Full Version : Locked Flight Deck Doors - Ryanair

12th Sep 2002, 11:48
Can anyone out there tell me - do Ryanair operate a locked Flight Deck door policy? In fact do the Irish Authorities require them to? I went to Turin earlier this year with Ryanair and it was clear such a policy was not being followed.

It could have just been an 'oversight' by the crew. In the light of the Stockholm incident it would be interesting to know.

Young Paul
12th Sep 2002, 14:16
Yes, I imagine lots of people might be interested.

12th Sep 2002, 14:26
Ryanair this, Ryanair that.....god, this place is getting boring.....:rolleyes:

Stop whining about Ryanair on pprune (won't make any difference in the real world), and contact the IAA, otherwise please give the Ryanair flim-flam a rest.

Recently there's been too much rubbish and no fact to these threads (apart from 'I have friends at Ryanair, and apparently'.......yeah, right...)

12th Sep 2002, 14:27
A fine debut TLAR, a fine debut. Ryanair, cockpit doors...brilliant.

12th Sep 2002, 14:55
Leviathan, give him a break it could be a genuine query.

TLAR, suggest you contact the Irish Aviation Authority, give them all the details and see what they say.

see: http://www.iaa.ie

12th Sep 2002, 15:07
here we go again.
answer to ur query tlar is ..... YES!
ryanair operate a locked door policy.

Jet A1
12th Sep 2002, 15:28
But this policy was only introduced after the Stockholm excitement !!!!

Localiser Green
12th Sep 2002, 16:47
I flew UK-Greek Islands in May with a UK charter (A320) and the door was not locked or closed much of the time.

Cabin crew entered freely, without a key.

Doesn't bother me personally, just thought I'd mention it. Ryanair aren't the only ones you know...

Devils Advocate
12th Sep 2002, 17:25
Now unless they open the door just how are the cabin crew meant to bring in the food and drinks, and / or how are the flight crew meant to be able to use the toilets and or stretch their legs ( assuming here that we're not immune to DVT ) ? ........ and of course as soon as that door's opened we're vulnerable !

Bottom line is that the locked door policy is a waste of time, becuase all any self-respecting terrorists have to do is to wait for the right moment for it to be opened during the normal course of flight operations.

12th Sep 2002, 20:11
Can't comment about Ryanair but EJ would appear not to lock it either based on my last two flights. The location of the foward toilet makes loitering by the cockpit door easier. A BA flight to Barcelona a few weeks previously was the opposite. Locked door (that also seemed to have reinforcing plate on) and zero communication from the flt deck en route. As a passenger an unlocked door isn't really a concern for me. Poor airport security is.

Max Flyup
12th Sep 2002, 20:13
Devils Advocate is absolutely right. The entire locked door policy is a complete and utter waste of time introduced by bureaucrats so that they feel they have done something. They should spend a few days flying Charter to realise that it is stupid and unnecessary and certainly would not stop any hijackers.

12th Sep 2002, 21:02
Localiser Green. How did you "know" the Cockpit door was unlocked all the time. It can be unlocked temporarily(from within) to permit entry of food/water and so that Pilots can take a pee every now and then!! Dont make assumptions based on flimsy evidence.

12th Sep 2002, 21:37
;) Whats this then DevilsAdvocate, Cabin Crew, - FOOD to the crew on a Ryanair flight deck !, oh come on ! You know the FO runs into the terminal with two pot noodles looking for hot water.

Jeesh, food....ryanair.......well I never.....

A and C
13th Sep 2002, 07:40
the airlineI work for along with all UK airlines has a locked door policy but to the casual observer it might not seem that way.

I am not going to tell an open forum about the drills that we use except to say that the door is locked unless entry to the cockpit is required by one of the crew.

13th Sep 2002, 08:27
just wondering, does the Ryanair crew have to pay for the food?


13th Sep 2002, 09:51
An aviation industry insider has said that Irish owned low cost airline "Ryanair" is putting passengers lives at risk. A quote taken from a well known aviation website stated that "what they do is let passengers buy tickets and then put them on aeroplanes". It is believed competitors are trying to stop this saying that "over the years there have been a series of accidents where passengers have got on aircraft and aircraft have crashed". He said "to allow Ryanair to put people at risk like this, for fares much more competitive than ours is simply unacceptable".

Other alleged practises include flying with only one engine on to save fuel, flying with only one pilot to cut employment overheads, disregarding ATC instructions and flying where and when they want, and not providing passengers with a 5 star hotel if they flight is delayed more than 1 hour.

Cut the Ryanair this, Ryanair that C*&p. If you have a serious grievance you think should be addressed report it to the IAA or CAA, not on PPRUNE.

13th Sep 2002, 10:35
From DT's Travel Section:

'Following the discovery of a hand gun in the luggage of a passenger trying to board a Ryanair flight from Sweden to Stansted last week, The Daily Telegraph has uncovered worrying evidence that cockpit doors are still not being secured on aircraft.

Civil Aviation Authority guidelines issued after the terrorist attacks of September 11 stated that pilots must lock the cockpit doors. All visits to the flight deck were banned.

It has also emerged that cockpit modificatons involving the fitting of steel reinforced doors that can withstand gunfire have not been carried out.

British-registered aircraft have until April to fit the new doors and international airlines will not have to comply with the new directives until November next year.

However, several dozen Daily Telegraph readers have written expressing concern that the cockpit doors are not being locked or even closed on some flights.

Martin Postranecky, from London, said: "During the past few months I have flown a number of times between London and Prague with Go.

"The cabin staff have repeatedly entered the cockpit, leaving the doors wide open while serving food and coffee to the pilots. Numerous times the doors were left unlatched while they prepared hot drinks in the adjacent galley.

"Passengers were using the toilet adjacent to the cockpit door yet the whole atmosphere was of a total lack of concern."

Keith Graves, a Briton living in Cyprus, wrote to tell us of a recent flight from Cyprus to London Heathrow on Cyprus Airways. "The door to the cockpit was frequently left open and never locked.

"An hour into the flight a young man dressed in jeans and a T-shirt bounded past me, through the open cockpit door and slammed it behind him. I am an experienced air traveller and do not easily panic, but I suffered one of those heart-stopping moments when sweat breaks out in the middle of your back.

"I asked one of the cabin crew what was going on. 'No need to get worried,' she said, 'he's the pilot's son.' Several times during the flight the young man wandered in and out of the cockpit, as did another passenger who was apparently a 'friend' of one of the crew."

Andrew Barker, from Market Harborough, Leicestershire, said that on a Ryanair flight from Stansted to Pescara last month he watched the cabin crew wander in and out of the cockpit at least five times.

A spokeswoman for the CAA, which only sets safety regulations for UK-based airlines, said it was "concerned" that cockpit doors were being left open and would take up the matter with the airlines concerned.

Chris Yates, aviation security editor of Jane's Transport magazine, said many of the initiatives brought in after September 11 were "confidence boosters" and that many deadlines for bringing in stronger security would not be met.

"In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks, confident words by elected representatives gave hope that finally the fundamental flaws in airport security would be addressed," said Mr Yates.

"But, as we approach the anniversary of that tragic day, rhetoric remains high while the substance remains appallingly low."

Mr Yates said that the "confidence boosters" included preventing passengers from carrying sharp items in their hand luggage, deploying more law enforcement personnel at airports and requiring airlines to secure and reinforce cockpit doors.

But he added that the questions regarding better passenger screening and ensuring all baggage carried on flights was examined for explosives remained unanswered.

He said he had found ample evidence of a system that "continually fails to protect passengers".

Mr Yates also bemoaned the fact that a European transport ministers' deadline to have all baggage on flights examined for explosives by the end of this year had been put back for one year "amid rancour between national governments, the airlines and airports over who would pay".

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said enhanced security measures had been introduced. "These, including the removal of sharp objects and the locking of cockpit doors, are practical responses. Nevertheless, we remain vigilant and keep all measures under review."

The public perception seems to be that this is a general problem, not confined to any airline in particular.

13th Sep 2002, 10:51
Max Flyup

Can't entirely agree. Yes, the burocrats had to do something, and while I absolutely feel they've got it wrong with the ban on family members, the reinforced and secure door policy seems perfectly reasonable post the New York atrocity and the lunatic over Africa.

How well it will work in the event of an another attack will depend on crews following their SOPs...

13th Sep 2002, 13:58
Seems a genuine question based on what has been written here about British and American carriers!

BTW it is not an airlinepolicy of locking doors but rather the airline implementing a Government policy - which they are required to do - no choice. The same applies to flight deck access which is just about to become more restrictive.

Having mentioned Ryanair though, they have a great commercial advantage. The UK government returned from the G8 meeting with Toady Blair insisting that Britain would lead the way on Phase 2 doors by April 2003 - the rest of the world (except the US) have until October. The UK carriers will be required to lay out millions - literally - in advance of foreign carriers flying into the same airports.

.....and QUOTE "it is the governments policy that the ordinary tax payer will not subsidise those who wish to travel by air" unquote so no financial assistance for the UK carriers


13th Sep 2002, 15:11
Please close this thread. I am troubled.

This is today's installment of pish. Unimaginative in the extreme and offensive.

Re-education is required for ex-empire culprits. STOP BEING IDIOTIC & PREJUDICED!

The CAA cover Island next to Ireland and other bits nearby. The FAA cover the US de ya see and the IAA cover Ireland.

Government policy - when formulated- affects you depending on your jurisdiction and if you are SUBJECT to that goverment (or ultimately monarch in some cases "the Queen in Parliament is sovereign"). EU directive - FULLY BINDING - irrespective of your location in the EU or monarch. (That hasn't quite sunk in yet!).

Interesting that for FTSE 100 listing purposes FR was immediately branded - Irish.

European Union my h*le!

Jolly hockey stick lad & lassies - you rascist mob. Stop unfounded attacks that are obviously skewed and weighted. Enough is enough. Am I being reasonable?

13th Sep 2002, 19:34
Am I the only one sick of reading these threads bashing Ryanair?

I have no love of their chief executive or what his company is doing to the aviation business but if they are that bad then market forces will be there comeuppance.

The animosity generated by the mention of the name Ryanair is quite staggering.

Still it does reduce the slagging that we in BA get.

13th Sep 2002, 20:26
Another 'price-sensitive' UK-based airline has now introduced a locked-door policy. Trouble is, the number one has the key, to which is attached a big orange streamer labelled 'flight deck door'.

So all a potential bad guy would have to do is to watch the activity of the cabin staff, identify the one with the orange-streamered key and.......

Which is why I always ask for Row 1. Because I'd be one of the first to stop anyone who tried to do such a thing. Kept a close eye on a 'person of Arabian colour' in Row 2 yakking on his mobile whilst we were taxying once; fortunately the number one gave him such a boll*cking that he sat meek and mild for the rest of the trip!

13th Sep 2002, 21:31
I wouldn'thave thought that this would merit a Rumour or News or Reporting Point.....

:confused: :confused:

Devils Advocate
13th Sep 2002, 21:36
shredder - w.r.t. How well it will work in the event of an another attack will depend on crews following their SOPs... uhm, one would imagine that the crews aboard the 911 aircraft all followed SOP's ( as best they could under the circumstances ), and likewise it would not be beyond the imagination to think that the flight-crew didn't have much of a chance to consult what their QRH has to say about being hijacked ( but, given the circumstances, it would not of helped them ), and of course one would also imagine that the flight deck door was locked ( as per the FAR's ).

So please run it by me again, i.e. how sticking to SOP's is going to stop an assault on the flight deck, by a group of fit, highly trained desperado’s, and particularly so when they don’t care if they live or die ?!

Basically, unless airlines fit something akin to what ElAl have then no current ‘locked flight deck door policy’ is going to work, i.e. all the time that pilots have to eat, drink, and / or take a p!ss or a crap then the door has on occasions to be opened when in-flight – and at that moment, whether it’s reinforced or not, will have little effect ( coz the door is then open ! ), and perhaps worse is the fact that should terrorists actually get into the flight deck they’ll close and lock that nice, new, heavily armoured door such that it will then protect them from being ejected from the flight deck – and veritably it’s a “GOTCHA !”

14th Sep 2002, 00:17
a locked flightdeck door would buy you time. Ask yourself this, all non pilots, if you were a passenger on a flight and you seen someone, in uniform or not, trying frantically to get into the cockpit through a locked door, what would you do ?

Whiskey Zulu
14th Sep 2002, 07:43
AFAIK, the locked flight deck door policy was introduced in response to the attack on the flight deck by a pax on a BA flight (Nairobi?) It has nothing to do with 9/11 really.

Devils Advocate
14th Sep 2002, 08:29
Indeed WiskeyZ.

brownstar, (imho) they aren't going to try and get through a locked door, they'll just wait until it's been unlocked by the pilots ( e.g. when some eight stone hostie brings the pilots their teas and coffees ) and I'd very much doubt that there'd be just one person involved in a properly organised attempt ( rather than a nutter acting alone ) to commander an airliners flightdeck, i.e. as per what happened onboard all the aircraft on 911.

Imho, if you're a pax sitting in your seat, before you'd even had a chance to suss what's going on it'd all be too late - they'll be in the flightdeck, and the newly reinforced secure door will be locked behind them. And do you really believe that from a state of sitting relaxed in your seat that in the space of a few seconds you'd be able to convert yourself into somebody who can take on fit, trained, merciless killers ? Especially when you bear in mind that they've prepared & planned for this, are psyched-up for it, and probably have improvised weapons - whereas you on the other hand probably have none of those advantages as you wade in to take them on ! Indeed, just when was the last time you were involved in a vicious brawl (never mind one that's likely to be to the death) ?

So let's stop fooling ourselves, the so called locked flight deck door policy will not work all the time that we keep opening it.

The only system that will work is what ElAl have fitted - but that costs LOADS to install and as such is unlikely to happen ( what price your safety, huh ? ), especially so when it's the airlines that are having to foot the bill for installing it. I.e. There is no Government help for this and, uhm, on the flip-side just what have the Government done to facilitate improvements in pax pre-boarding checks, how much money has been spent by them on introducing profiling systems, etc…..

Everybody is seemingly putting a lot of store in the last line of defence, i.e. an armoured (but often open) flight deck door. It's laughable really.

Ben Evans
14th Sep 2002, 17:55
I would advocate removing the flightdeck door.

2 reasons:

1) The First Officer terrorist

2) Passenger/Cabin Crew intervention


1 - Bin Laden spent hundreds of thousands of pounds training a dozen odd men to learn to fly. That took a couple of years to do.

It is perfectly feasible to select half a dozen young men dedicated to the cause and put them through a full ATPL and type course in that time and for similar money.

A frozen ATPL would cost around £60,000. A Boeing 737 type rating around £15,000. It could all be done inside 18 months. There are several airlines in Europe currently looking for type rated 737 First Officers. Many of those positions are for London bases.

It would be perfectly possible for an organisation with Bin Ladens resources to forge/create an impressive CV for their agent. He could be provided with plausible documents backing up a CV listing a decent degree in AeroEng plus other 'tasty' qualifications. If need be I am sure they could supply the funds for him/her to acquire some turbine hours or similar.

In essence they could create a terrorist with a B737 type rating and a good CV for around £100,000 and 2 years of effort.

He or she would then stand a good chance of being recruited into a - say - British airline looking for 737 rated FO's. Lets give a budget of a £1,000,000 and create 10 agents. Lets say half of them are successful and gain jobs flying out of Stansted, Luton and Gatwick.

They wait for a day when they are all rostered to be flying at about the same time. Hey presto, Sept 11th II.

These agents under a locked door policy will be immune from interference from the Cabin Crew after they have decapitated the Skipper with the fire hatchet. They can reasure the Cabin Crew on the interphone that all is well. Similarly ATC would not get a squawk and would hear the same familiar practiced voice...

If the door were re-inforced the terrorist agent is even safer from Cabin Crew or Pax intervention.

Were there to be NO flightdeck door then both Pax and Cabin Crew would have a chance of detecting the Skippers decapitation. Similarly they would have a chance to intervene.

2) Lets say the First Officer is not a terrorist and that instead the scenario is a stormed flightdeck.

We all know that a well briefed terrorist can effect entry to the flightdeck on most B737's by waiting for a cabin crew entry/exit or a pilot needing a pee. With an armoured door this would still work. At the moment of course he/she could simply kick down the door. Five well built fit young men would easily be able to kill
the Cabin Crew and effect entry to the flightdeck.

So an armed door just means they have to pick their timing. After entry is effected they can hide behind the armoured door.

With the current doors they can simply kick them down at any time.

Lets take the door away and put an able bodied pax on the jumpseat instead on our mythical B737. Here the terrorists would have to get through the jumpseat pax causing a rumpus that would alert the crew and pax to a hi-jack situation.

This alertness might lead to crew/pax intervention ulitmately saving the flightdeck before it is stormed. If the flightdeck IS stormed by terrorists then at least everybody can see it AND there is no armoured door stopping them for attempting to re-take the aircraft. Albeit succeeding in crashing the aircraft into the sea/open land rather than Canary Wharf.


The pax asked to sit on the jumpseat could act very much like the established principle of the Able Bodied Passenger currently tasked with sitting near emergency exits.

The crew could select someone to ask to sit on the jumpseat prior to departure. For long haul flights you might need a couple of pax but as the pax are more numerous this should be just as easy.

They could select someone who is an airport official, an airline employee, a man travelling with a young family, an off duty police officer or member of the military. Basically anyone who is able bodied, willing and quite frankly (using common sense) highly unlikely to be a terrorist themselves.

Most such pax would jump at the chance of spending the flight, or some portion, in the cockpit. As an established aviation routine I am sure most flights would have several volunteers at check in each sector.

Their only obligation would be that if a bunch of terrorists try to storm over their seat would they kindly make a lot of noise and try to repel them with this fire hatchet. You needn't cover the bit about squealing if one pilot decapitates another!

The jumpseat pax acts as a first line defence, a trip wire alerting the crew and an insurance against the flightcrew as terrorist scenario.

There are numerous other benefits including defence of the flightdeck when one pilot leaves for a pee plus

much improved crew communication during non-terrorist ops (99.999% of the time).

Its an out of the box idea. Feel free to shoot it down.


14th Sep 2002, 18:39
Wise words Ben. Practicalities versus Perception. And the winner is.....

Devils Advocate. I would gladly accept a cockpit that was fully enclosed with its own toilet. A packed lunch at check in and an armful of papers before push back. Sadly, it will take another Sep 11th before we get what you describe. Consequently I hope to never see a fully enclosed cockpit purely because I don't want another Sep 11th.

16th Sep 2002, 20:15

At last a commonsense comment on this whole sorry tale. Locking the door is about as useful a a f*rt in a spacesuit to paraphrase Billy Connolly.

Boeing and Airbus want to supply armoured doors and video surveillance systems at hug cost and no improvement in security. The whole industry will have to spend a fortune to get no extra security just to boost the egos of a few faceless civil servants who know as much about aviation and aviation security as a apig knows about a bank holiday.

Keep thnking outside the box Ben. It might even catch on!!

Commonsense is a commodity that's not very common.

17th Sep 2002, 09:06
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the risk of getting my head bitten off, I really don't think that debating the alleged security short comings of any airline in an open forum such as this, is either sensible or helpful.

Well I suppose it might well be helpful to someone who was intent at causing mischief!

:eek: :eek: :eek:

Devils Advocate
17th Sep 2002, 09:53
Why not ?

You have heard of / read parable of the ‘Emperors new clothes’ ? i.e. that sticking ones head in the sand and pretending to go along with something for fear of making somebody look foolish is ultimately just folly.

E.g. Just because the powers that be (DETR) have ordered that we must keep the flight door locked, does not detract from the fact that it is on occasions un-locked - and it really doesn't take too much to figure out that during those ‘open’ moments (and there’s normally a fair few of them) the flight deck is then vulnerable to attack - veritably all a potential assailant has to do is to do is to pick their moment.

Now aside from the single opportunist nutter, it would be fair to assume any determined terrorist group will be all to well aware of the fact that the door is often open for operational reasons, and accordingly discussing it on here will make not one iota of difference to their actions.

It might however be hoped that airing this in public provides something of a wake-up call to those who believe that a locked flight deck door policy somehow makes them immune from attack – coz, imho, it does not !

Now is this all too bleedin’ obvious, or is it just me ?!