Three Reasons You Should Stand Up As Soon As The Plane 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, 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. Agree completely – I stand up as soon as the “ding” sounds and almost always have an aisle seat. While I stand there and don’t deplane until people in front of me have done so I am both sick of sitting and also like to have all my stuff ready to go as soon as possible. It annoys the hell of out me for the people that just sit there and don’t bother to move until the row in front of them has left then take their time opening overheads, gathering their stuff etc. Do they really have no place to go or are just that lazy? Has to be one or the other. BTW, if I ever ran into the guy with that stupid tshirt I would gladly share my view of things. Of course I rarely fly SW so likely won’t run into him.

  2. I think this “explanation” is somewhat incomplete. I think many of us agree that it can be very helpful if all passengers deplane efficiently by moving out of others’ way and gathering his/her belongings before it is their turn to deplane. However, the problem is that, when too many (or sometimes even just a few) passengers just get up and turn into standing zombies in the ailes, or if that “early riser” has no sense of courtesy to let others deplane, it becomes a major problem.

    I suggest that we all behave in a more courteous manner, respecting others on the plane, to allow the entire plane to deplane efficiently. And if standing up as soon as you are allowed to do so can facilitate that result, that’s great. if your “early rising” results in disruption of the deplaning process, you should just sit back down and let others deplane in peace.

  3. I get up immediately and hand down our carryon luggage.

    Drives me nuts when some sit there,then jump up and make everyone wait while they slowly pull together their items.

    If you’re going to sit, then sut until everyone who’s ready is off the plane.

  4. Reason 4 (somewhat similar to reason3): it’s good for your health. Not surprisingly Apple Watch and other fitness trackers want you to stand up for 5 mins every hour

  5. I am almost always in a window seat. I really like it if the others in the row I am in get up. That way I can get up too or at least stretch a bit. I have read that you can get deep vein thrombosis from sitting in an airline seat too long. I try not to inconvenience others in my row by going to the restroom more than once on a cross country flight but being able to stretch a few minutes before deplaning is good. Those opposed to people getting up and out in the aisles are some of the entitled crowd who want to force their views on others in my opinion.

  6. It’s rude not to stand up. It gives your seatmates more room, you speed up the exit time. Even the smart-ass comment in this post shaming someone for speeding up the process by 1.7 seconds backs this up. It’s more like 5 to 10 seconds per person but even if 1.7 seconds per person and there are 100 people in front of you that’s 3 minutes faster for you. They could make or break a tight connection, missing an airtrain, missing a hotel or parking shuttle, etc.

  7. The post title is really misleading. It is, in fact, very dangerous to stand up as soon as the airplane lands because it’s still moving and still has to taxi to the gate. Wait until the airplane arrives at the gate. Don’t stand up as soon as it lands 😛

  8. No one’s talking about people standing up when they’re going to be able to move soon. It’s the people who jump up as soon as the plane stops. That doesn’t speed the process up, and when all the luggage comes out, there isn’t actually more room. Instead, you’ve got someone’s oversized carryon in your face. And I seriously don’t that standing up awkwardly is all that great for your back. No. Stay seated until the plane has cleared to a few aisles ahead of you, then get up, grab your stuff and you’ll be ready to move just as the aisle clears for you.

  9. If only there was enough room for both aisle seat passengers to move into the aisle!
    And, if only carryons were stored adjacent to the owner’s seat – not four rows behind them!

  10. As a person who is disabled, it helps me to have the big throng of people get off so I am able to get up and make it to my wheelchair once it’s ready.
    What is annoying though are the middle or window seat standing up and getting upset with me that I am not standing. There are those of us that are unable to and actually use adaptive gear whether it be a wheelchair or a walker or a cane and for us to stand can be dangerous or extremely painful.
    Courtesy is the word of the day!

  11. I am puzzled to see that no one has a different perspective – I schedule lots of time for my connections and am happy to let others who need the time to get off ahead of me. Second, I always travel with my wife or daughter, for business or pleasure, we are typically in a 2-seat configuration (A &B), we do not slow anyone down or restrict their ability to stand, stretch, get up, or get out. We delay no one and rushing gets us a different place to wait for bags or connecting flights.

  12. Yikes
    None of the arguments for standing have Merritt’s.
    If the plane doors are not open , you should stay seated period

  13. I have had both knees replaced and back surgery. I get stiff on even the shortest flight so I stand up as soon as I hear the ding. I really don’t give a rat’s @$$ if someone gets upset. And, if my standing up has ruined their day, even better. BTW, I do NOT board early and always on an aisle.

  14. Paul, the reason yours is the only contrary opinion is because the overwhelming majority of frequent travelers fall into the “stand up right away” camp for all the reasons listed above. My observation is not scientifically proven, just based on reading travel blogs for the last 15-20 years. I 100% agree with the reasons given above. For me personally, being able to get up from the uncomfortable seat after even a one hour flight is invaluable. I know there are people that can sit on their ass comfortably for 15 hours. I’m not one of them. I use a standing desk in my home office and get up every 15 minutes or so.

  15. I have to agree with this completely. When I’m 15 rows back and the people in the 2 rows in front of me have all remained seated, it takes FOREEEVVVER for them to get up, shuffle out, find their stuff, etc etc etc.

    It’s not like it’s the end of the world that I have to wait, but I think anybody who would argue it’s more courteous to stay seated than to stand up and get yourself in the best position possible to blow out of there either doesn’t fly often, hasn’t thought it through, or values some internal sense of optics/virtue signaling that justifies being inefficient and appearing courteous over behaving in a manner that benefits all involved.

  16. Ok, standing is understandable, but I see passengers, from economy seats, jump up and race toward the first class to be first at the door.

  17. It’s an interesting perspective. I live in Mexico and the majority of the airlines here request that you stay in your seat until the flight attendant indicates you can stand up. They permit 5-6 rows at a time to stand up and gather their things. As they’re finishing up the next group and so on. I find it orderly, really quick and no one gets frustrated or annoyed.

  18. If speeding up deplaning is the ultimate courtesy, wouldn’t it be better for the aisle pax to get up, bring down their bags, place their bags in the aisle, and then *sit*, rather than take space in the aisle standing.

    That way both aisle pax have a chance to get their bags down early onto the aisle and ready to ‘roll’.

    Otherwise often only one aisle pax per row has room to stand and bring a rollaboard down from the bin in advance, at least in economy.

  19. Not quite on topic, but the often heard request from FAs for passengers without connecting flights to remain seated to allow those with close connections to exit first. That only works if those with connections are all sitting in aisle seats!

  20. @Jeff:

    >values some internal sense of optics/virtue signaling that justifies being inefficient and appearing courteous over behaving in a manner that benefits all involved.

    So perfectly stated. Sitters seem to think everyone on the plane has unlimited time and patience and values that outward appearance over any semblance of efficiency.


    >If speeding up deplaning is the ultimate courtesy, wouldn’t it be better for the aisle pax to get up, bring down their bags, place their bags in the aisle, and then *sit*, rather than take space in the aisle standing.

    I have done this on one or two occasions. I get some really weird looks – people seem to think I’m blocking their exit path for kicks and giggles rather than trying to free up addition space for people to pull down their bags – but it is objectively the most efficient way to deplane.

  21. Patti I agree with your comments.. If people wait to getup,open the overhead bin then get their 3 carry-on items that they put up there!!!It delays the rest of the people trying to de-plane and get to their connecting flight.. The other issue is the “wheelchair” people –who jump up and cannot walk alone but will not wait for the wheelchair brigade to help them…That causes a bottleneck too

  22. Disagree with the majority on this topic; the majority also place their overhead luggage above them which is also stupid if you care about speed and efficiency exiting the plane.

    1. There is not enough space for everyone in the aisle to stand up and pull their carryon down and place it in the aisle – the argument being made for that makes no sense, and that is why the people arguing for it speak of jumping up immediately, it’s because at shortly after that the aisle is clogged and freedom of movement to remove items is then slowed. The truth is if you want to exit the most efficiently possible, the people towards the back remain seated, and the rows in front would all exit towards the aisle and back up as they grabbed items creating a quick exit for all. The problem with what I just described is you can’t back up because everyone has jumped into the aisle from row 1 to row 35 and there is zero room for movement. So yes, the aisle people that jump grab their stuff and are ready to roll – you will move faster than if you stayed seated, BUT the people in front of you in the middle of and window seats will now take longer because you have clogged their ability to remove items. You shaved a few seconds on your side but added more than a few seconds for the people in front of you, creating a net negative for total time off the plane. Surprisingly, more people don’t understand that, but combining/mixing intelligence with empathy is something humans often cannot pull together. *The error in my plan is people would need to be taught the courtesy of what I described, but that is the fastest way for a plane to deboard and is a fact. The last comment on this, where it would really confuse the aisle jumpers is it would mean they would grab their items and take a few steps back, allowing their row to exit so they would not be the first off of their row, which seems to be a badge of honor for many commenters.

    2. Overhead bins are shared space I get it, but why do people constantly put their items above them when the most efficient way is to put them directly across, that again is people not using common sense but following what they see others doing.

  23. I agree about standing up.
    What annoys me is those standing behind me who believe they are surgeons who have an urgent operation scheduled in a local hospital and must at all costs inconvenience all other passengers standing ahead of them in the line to deplane so they can reach the hospital in time to save their patient.
    Now, I understand the problem of the passenger who has a connecting flight and fears that s/he may miss that flight. But others who may be “dying” to see their loved ones, or who fear missing a sports event that will be televised and that begins shortly after the plane’s arrived… come on, folks, entitlements apply to those who are politically favored. So, unless you belong to a recognized minority, you must, like the rest of us in airplane steerage, WAIT YOUR TURN.
    The Captain and Flight Attendants might avert, in principle, avert what usually happens by requesting that passengers allow those with connecting flights to deplane first. After all, passengers who have special needs are allowed to board first: the handicapped, those with priority status as frequent fliers, those with children, et al.
    I, for one, very much dislike those who believe that despite the fact that all humans are in many respects equal, some are more equal than others.

  24. You can never give your flight crew a standing ovation if you don’t stand up.

  25. Standing up and gathering your things may be courteous, but what I typically see when people rise up immediately is that they also start heading down the aisle and that is extremely discourteous and slows down the process, so I find this advice unwelcome.

  26. I disagree. I believe that standing up as soon as the plane lands is both illegal and dangerous. Wait until you’re done taxiing. I suspect that you may have just misphrased things though.

  27. The only real problem with people getting up as soon as the ding sounds is when the people getting out have to go back a few rows to get their bags from the overhead, that they have to swim upstream to do so. If the people stayed out of the aisle, it would be faster for them to go backwards to their luggage. But, we aren’t going to change people’s behavior, so there will be a few logjams as people try to go backwards while others are trying to go forward.

  28. It’s actually faster if you don’t do this. An orderly egress row by row is fastest. Standing up a few rows in advance of when you’re set to exit makes it a much faster, smoother, and stress free experience.

  29. I agree with most of the comments here about standing up once the seatbelt sign is turned off. It seems the polite thing to do. I have a bigger beef, however. There always seems to be 5 to 15 people who board the plane early, that group of people who need “a little extra time“ to board. What bothers me is when these same people try to get off the plane immediately when they are either slow, or even if they are not. I think if it takes you extra time to board (or at least you claim it does, in order to board early), you should wait in your seat until everyone has deplaned as a matter of courtesy. If not, you probably didn’t need the extra time to board.

  30. Agree completely. I stand up as soon as the bell goes off and lights come on. And to the commentator with the shirt reflecting his opinion to stay seated you really need to get a life.

  31. It’s quite simple. As soon as the ding sounds, I stand up from my aisle seat and get our carryons out of the overhead which I partially placed in my seat.

    My daughter gets up from her window seat and waits. As the passengers move forward, she grabs her things and I move back to let her out while grabbing the rest of my items.

    Our goal is not to hold anyone up but exit the aircraft in a quick and efficient manner.

    I love those who thinks they can shove past. Nope. If someone asks politely because they have a tight connection, happy to let them pass. Been there.

    Speaking of people rushing from economy, I was on an international flight and some guy ran from economy to the front. The FA made him walk the walk of shame all the way back to economy with everyone laughing.

  32. The headline is wrong. Don’t stand as soon as the lane lands. It is unsafe. Wait until instructed to do so.

    If you want to be even more courteous to everyone, gather your things together when the crew announces your descent.

    It’s the people that stand as you land and then pack that waste everyone’s time and patience.

  33. There are other people that may have VERY tight connections. They need to get off first. When everyone gets up and blocks the aisle, they are trapped in their seats and very likely to miss a connection.

    I have been on flights where the attendants asked that people please allow those with tight connections to leave first. Heck, everyone just stood up and people were crying. Our society is so rude and self-centered.

  34. AI write this article? How can anyone even stand up unless they are all standing in the isle?

  35. Stand up before the plane lands too
    You’re killing yourself sitting.

  36. I am a short claustrophobe. I try to get an aisle seat for general comfort on a flight. I absolutely dread the deplaning process because I will have someone’s butt in my face if I’m still seated when the masses start shoving their way to the front OR I will have someone’s back in my face if I manage to beat the crowd to my feet. Neither result is any fun for me.

  37. Two major Pulmonary Embolism’s seven years ago ( transported to hospital for procedure and Eliquis for life) dictates that I be in an aisle seat and I am that guy you see that walks the aisle every two hours to prevent another occurrence.. Before you judge, some consideration please.

  38. I don’t understand what the fuss is about.. When the ding sounds, that means you can remove the seat belt and, yes, you can then immediately stand up, if you wish. I don’t know what the article is saying when they are talking about “sitters”. The flight crew have always said to remain seated until the seat belt sign goes off. Usually that happens as soon as the cockpit crew knows that the plane has come to a final stop and will no longer move. So until then, the passengers MUST remain seated for safety reasons. That has ALWAYS been the rule.

    So what is the article complaining about when it talks about “sitters”? The ones who obey this rule of not getting up until the ding sounds? So when the article talks about “standers”, is it talking about the ones who disobey this rule and immediately stand up whenever they think they can stand up, BEFORE the ding sounds? This makes absolutely no sense. In every flight I’ve been on, everyone remained seated until the ding sounded. And then, and only then, when people stood up, I don’t think anyone, including the flight crew, had safety issues with that.

    There might have been people who remained seated even after the ding sounded who thought, “it is silly to stand up right now since the door has not opened yet and standing up now won’t make the door open any faster”, but that is far different from thinking that standing up immediately after the ding sounds is unsafe and must never be done. That kind of thinking is also wrong, but I don’t think anyone was thinking that. So, again, I don’t know what fuss the article is talking about.

    Also, I’ve seen cases when aisle passengers immediately stood up after the ding sounded, the middle and, especially, the window passengers still did not have room to fully stand up because of the overhead bins being in the way. Some planes are like that, where the overhead bins extend far enough into the aisle direction that you must move into the aisle to be able to fully stand up. Trust me, I’m not that tall and I tried to stand up whenever I sat in the middle or window seats in those planes and I still could not fully stand up when the aisle passenger stood up and moved out into the aisle, especially when I’m in the window seat. If I’m in the middle seat, the best I could do, even if I scooted over to the aisle seat (which is now open because the aisle passenger moved out of it and is standing in the aisle), was to try to stand up but be in a bent position trying to not hit the overhead bin, which is very uncomfortable. So, in those planes, the middle and window seat passengers still can’t stand up and stretch their legs until the door opens and the passengers are actually moving off the plane. In fact, the aisle passengers are not actually speeding up the deplaning process in this case since the middle and window passengers cannot retrieve their bags until they are fully standing up in the aisles and thus blocking the passengers behind them.

    Wait, I just reread the title of the article and it says that you should stand up “as soon as the plane lands”. But, then, it quotes a columnist who talks about standing up AFTER the captain turns off the seat belt sign. Talk about a click-bait title. I just realized that the article and the columnist were trying to make up “justifications” to make the “standers” to not look silly to the middle and window passengers who can’t stand up and can thus clearly see that the only ones who are benefiting in this situation are the aisle passengers. Nice job for wasting my time.

  39. Agree with the guy about Mexico. Mexico flights are incredibly orderly and efficient. Everybody and I do mean everybody sits patiently until it is their rows turn. Standers are just impatient and selfish, this whole article is nonsense. Sit and be courteous.

  40. Anyone with the slightest bit of flying experience knows the person in the aisle seat should stand upon landing. It used to be a courtesy thing, now its to keep the savages from running up the aisle. Who knew savages could fly!

  41. The problem with those who rush to stand is that usually 10 rows behind you have everyone who stood up rushing to exit the plane, instead of letting everyone in front of you deplane. Sit your ass down and wait your turn.

  42. It is also polite to let the row in front of you get out into the aisle if they are ready before trying to block their path.

  43. Not to mention, standing keeps the guy from the back of the plane rushing to the front to get off sooner.

  44. I’ve missed flights before because everyone in front of me stands up, talks to their friend, deals with their children and generally screws around causing a large backup on in aisle. You want to stand up as soon as the seatbelt light goes off? Fine, gather your things, then sit back down with your 3 pieces of carry on baggage on your lap and let those of us with tight connections get off the plane.

  45. Look an how to article on being selfish.

    I think it’s wonderful that you rush to pull your stuff out of the bin and hit me in the head with it.

    Also wonderful is when you stand up so quick and now your smelly butt is right in my face wafting 2 hour flights worth of butt sweat.

    But I sure do thank you for helping me out while you hit me with the too large carry on and jostling around you and all the other selfish aholes do because you got up while we’re stuck on the plane for another 30 minutes.

  46. So just everyone jump up and get in the aisle as soon as you are capable? That’s completely stupid. ‘Speeds up the process’ what garbage. It’s a bunch of people who believe their time is more important than anyone else’s. They stand up immediately, blocking out the people ahead of them from getting up and doing exactly what they’re doing. How is someone from a back row that is standing in the aisle blocking others from doing the same helping? They are increasing the time for everyone else behind them. Maybe it would help speed things up if it went from front to back in order, but that’s not what happens, it’s the self-important turds who are in the aisle first, messing it up for everyone else who realizes that those in the aisle are gaining a few seconds in getting off at the detriment to everyone else behind them. It is hypocritical and selfish, and way too common nowadays. Screw everyone else, I’m in the aisle and too stupid to understand how a little compassion and patience can benefit everyone else as well as me. Thanks for a truly embarrassing article.

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