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.
— Jeremy Danner (@Jeremy_Danner) December 2, 2022
— The Shovel (@TheShovel) February 14, 2018
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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.