3 Reasons You Should Stand Up As Soon As Your Flight Lands

Some flyers believe that the best thing to do when your plane lands is to remain seated until it’s their turn to get off of the aircraft. They shake their heads, wondering why people stand up when they can’t really go anywhere until the doors of the aircraft open, and everyone ahead of them gets off first. This view is expressed in harsh terms, mocking those who stand immediately. But it’s also 100% wrong.

Columnist Tim Carney makes the case that standing up as soon as your plane lands and the captain turns off the seatbelt sign is the courteous thing to do.

The people making this objection literally only think, “What is in it for you if you stand?” They don’t think, “What behavior might help other people?”

So here’s why, when I have the aisle seat, I stand up right away and start gathering my stuff: Yes, it’s true that if you stand up once the “fasten seatbelt” sign turns off, you can’t go anywhere. BuzzFeed argues that this is why everyone should “wait until the doors have opened and it’s your turn to get up and gather your s***.”

But gathering your things ahead of time is actually the courteous thing to do.

He’s right. There are three reasons to get up right away – why it benefits you and most importantly benefits your fellow passengers.

  1. Getting ready to deplane, including getting things out of the overhead bin, speeds up the process. That means getting everyone off the aircraft a couple of minutes faster. And that means more people make tight connections (which is polite to your fellow travelers). It also means allowing those couple of minutes for cleaners to get on board and clean the aircraft (polite to the cleaners, letting them do their job, and polite to the next passengers on the plane). It helps with the airline’s operation, too, which makes them more efficient and holds down costs and ultimately fares.

  2. It’s polite to the middle seat passenger who’s been stuck in place for hours when the person in the aisle seat gets up into the aisle. When you no longer have to have seat belts fastened, you want to take advantage of all of the space in the aircraft. The aisle seat passenger gets into the aisle, the middle seat passenger now has the space of the aisle seat to spread into, and the window seat passenger has a bit more elbow room as well. Why wouldn’t you use all of the space in the aircraft for comfort?

  3. You’ve been stuck in an uncomfortable seat for hours, why not stand as soon as you can? Especially in an era of less-padded slimline seats, it’s time to give your back a rest.

There’s really little benefit to remaining seated until it’s your row’s turn to deplane. While there’s no real obligation to cram into the aisles immediately (except perhaps an obligation to make a little room for the passenger in the middle seat to stretch out), it’s certainly not reasonable to criticize passengers for getting up to stretch, and to get their carry on bags down in order to deplane efficiently.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Damien Damien – Either you don’t travel, reading comprehension isn’t your strength or both. No one is saying get up while the plane is moving. This is ONLY when the plane is parked at the gate and the “ding” goes off letting people know it is safe to get up. And yes I always get up – those that don’t are lazy and obviously have no place to be.

  2. The “courteous” thing to do would be to stay seated and let anyone with a tight connecting flight in the back of the plane get off first.
    I’m sure any airline could determine who those people are and select them to get off first if “courtesy” had anything to do with it.

  3. Yeah. I stand up immediately. Mostly for comfort, actually. After sitting for hours, I NEED to stand. I will offer to retrieve other passengers’ belongings if desired, and I try not to impede or inconvenience anyone in any way. Also, why would someone standing hurt anyone who would rather sit?

  4. First, if you’re in an aisle seat and get up and ‘gather your stuff’ you’re just going to block the aisle even more, making it impossible for anyone next to you to go anywhere other than stand up bent over double where they have been sitting because the overhead compartment prevents them from standing up fully. And they can’t get out into the aisle because that guy in the aisle seat is standing there with ‘all his stuff’. Secondly , if people who have been sitting down in a plane for a long time desperately need to stand up, how does that explain the fact that most people waiting to board a plane ( where they will have to sit for a long time) sit down while waiting?
    I think it’s fine for people in aisle seats to get up but everyone else might as well just chill until the things start moving after the door is open.. Until then no one is going anywhere anyway.

  5. This is the correct answer

    The “courteous” thing to do would be to stay seated and let anyone with a tight connecting flight in the back of the plane get off first.
    I’m sure any airline could determine who those people are and select them to get off first if “courtesy” had anything to do with it.

  6. Wrong on all levels. Stay seated until it’s your turn to get up, grab your overhead bag which is unobstructed by other nitwits standing ready to bolt. It’s my experience those who get up first think they’re cutting in line. I am that guy who corrects them.

  7. When everyone is already standing and crowding the aisle, it’s useless to add to the chaos and crowd… so sitting and waiting for your turn would be the best option… if the person in the middle seat will excuse themselves because they have a connecting flight to catch, then the person on the aisle seat should let them pass first….. But for everyone to stand up and just crowd the aisle, but cant actually move forward i think isn’t the best idea

  8. Preference to disembark should be given to those having a connecting flight. Then those at
    ‘C’ seat then B nd then A. This will ensure smoother routine.
    No point in all getting up nd creating a jam.

  9. Simple mathematics. Your average short haul had 6seats across, three either side. It impossible for all six people to occupy the aisle space which is intended for entry, exit and staff to attend passengers. I remain seated (I usually sit at the window) and wait until the people in a hurry exit and leave room. In any case, as often as not, everyone usually gets on a bus to take them to arrivals and baggage reclaim so the last people on the bus get off first. So, what’s the point in all this.

  10. This is more of a “personal preference” thing rather than a “must do”.

    I can see the courtesy side of it if you are in an aisle seat, but I prefer the window seat.
    I also remain seated until “the rush” has disappeared. Then I get up, get my stuff out of the overhead in <2 seconds and stroll off the plane (remembering to thank the cabin staff on my way out).

    By the time I get to the Baggage Hall I'm usually still there before my baggage.

    Zero stress.

  11. Studies have proven that the fastest and most efficient way to deplane is to allow all aisle seat passengers to go first, followed by middle seat and finally window seat passengers. This will never happen when you are making up nonsensical reasons for everyone to standup immediately.

  12. Getting up immediately is also good for older people who need to get their circulation going. For the long walk to departure

  13. @Greg – if you don’t want my ass in your face stand up. I certainly am not going to stay seated when the plane has stopped at the gate

  14. I usually have a window seat, so me standing early helps nobody in my row, and me filing out immediately after them blocks people in rows behind me while I get my bag.

    So I wait until I can get into the aisle and grab my carryon without blocking anyone.

  15. In my opinion the ones who are wrong are those who stay seated, wait for the exit line to reach them, and then stand up to slooooowly collect their bags, making everyone behind them wait. This can really add up when a bunch of people do it.

  16. my reason for standing up is because I am an adult and if I want to stand I will stand.

  17. For me it’s better to obey the instructions and remain seated. To me its really absurd that lot of people stand up blocking the perspective vision of the passenger seated behind feel suffocating. It further creates the chaos when replacing is announced using rear door as well…

  18. The person on the aisle should get up and gather their stuff and be ready to roll. The aisle person can also help others get their luggage around them. If it is convenient, the middle person can then stretch and gather their belongings. Then folks are ready to roll, row by row efficiently.
    I think it is very rude and self centered to wait and gather your stuff while others have to wait in your egocentric self .
    As far as catching connecting plane…. If everyone is aware and prepared to exit, systemically, you should be fine. The plane typically waits for the stragglers .
    Lastly, do what works for you …politely and respectfully.

  19. I generally get an aisle seat, and I stand up. All this talk about people in the back applies to very few flights. 80 to 90 percent of flight arrive on time or early.

    I believe it is faster to have my bags out of the OH and ready to go when it is my turn. It also keeps that occasional crass, rude passenger from shoving past the people in front of them.

    It is interesting that people who call “standers” rude also need to call them things like a-holes.

  20. People should only stand in front of their own seat . Once everyone is standing in an isle no one has no where to go people get blocked in and can’t get their own things and that’s terrible should be row by row!!!

  21. I NEED to stand ASAP after a long flight. Everyone should stand to avoid blood clots. If I’m in an aisle seat, I also stand to allow the middle seat and window seat passenger to stretch. I do grab my carry on and am ready to deplane when it’s my turn so as not to hold others up.

  22. We’re talking about saving fractions of a minute now, and alleviating modest inconvenience and uncomfortable quarters. Seriously? Stay seated. You’re not saving anybody anything. You should remain seated until just before the row in front of you stands to get their things. That way you don’t have people rushing down the aisle or forcing their way past people to get off. And GOD FORBID people stay seated for those who have tight connections. Heavens, no. Especially those people for whom it’s their final destination. Stay seated. Take your time. What’s the effing rush unless you have a connection? Like you have somewhere to be in the next 5 minutes? Chill.

  23. Absolutely stupid, though sometimes subjective. The person who wrote this should come to India. Most passengers here think like you and end up creating a lot of ruckus because they are in a hurry to deplane.

  24. And why don’t they load the back of the plane first? Never understood this. Would go so much smoother and no one is in each others way.

  25. OK! my favorite is:
    “Stand up to avoid blood clots”
    2 to 10 minutes can really save lives.
    Absolute morons!

  26. First off, forget the people with connecting flights. We all have places to be whether it’s to catch a cab, get a rental car or make it to an appointment!
    Second, why sit and wait. Once the deplaning starts there should never be a lull in the exits. By waiting til it gets to you and THEN get you bags down you slow up the process.
    So stand up, get your bags and be ready to move when it’s your turn

  27. Obviously, the writer has never flown on an airplane. Yes, it is incredibly thoughtless to jam the aisles while those with connections are then stuck behind you.

  28. I don’t think anyone wants to cram the aisles. But, not everyone, with connections, is sitting in an aisle seat. Those in a window seat, or even middle, would just like the person in the aisle, who is not connecting, to put their video games down or quit daydreaming, stand up and let them get through when their connection is tight.

  29. I always sit on the aisle, because I’m tall and I need to walk around on a long-haul flight. I prefer an aisle seat any way. When the flight lands and parks at the gate, I stand up, open the overhead bin, take my backpack out and wait. If my traveling companions (fellow passengers) are smart, and I find most are, the aisle seat ones get up immediately. If I’m not right up front and someone needs their luggage or whatever and if I can I’ll help retrieve it, I do it. It helps to expedite the exit of the cabin and that is what everyone wants. It’s just Courtesy that helps everyone. If you’ve never been in a tight situation where one needs to move as fast as they should or can, and courtesy is not a priority then go ahead and push your way along. But an orderly exit from an airplane cabin can be done. If ever there was a real emergency, you’ll find courtesy can be a hindrance to exit in less than two minutes. That’s why I stand up to stretch my legs, in my humble opinion.

  30. As a former flight attendant, I can say this section is worded wrong! To “stand up as soon as your flight lands” is wrong and inherently dangerous! The author of this piece should be severely reprimanded. The aircraft must be parked at the gate — NOT when it lands! Then it’s OK to stand up. As long as the aircraft is moving there is potential for injury from sudden stops or turns, not to mention opening the bins could cause a cascade of items that have shifted. Whoever wrote this article and their superiors that should have monitored for content will pay dearly should the papertrail leads to them following this misinformation. If a passenger is in that much of a hurry, they should charter a private plane and write it off as a business expense.

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