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. […] Normally you stand up when the seat belt sign turns off. The passenger at the aisle seat walks into the aisle either right away or when the row in front of you starts walking off the plane. And then when the people in front of you are on their way out, you proceed down the aisle yourself. (I should add that standing up as soon as the seat belt sign turns off is also the correct thing to do.) […]


  1. “When the plane lands” is not the same thing as when the plane gets to the gate and the seatbelt sign is turned off. That’s an idiotic headline.

  2. I agree. When I’m in a middle seat (god forbid) or a window seat, I get annoyed when the person in the aisle sits there limp while everyone else gets space in the aisle. I want room to breathe as soon as it’s possible to do so.

    Also, I’ve seen too many people in rows further back rush forward when people don’t stand and block them. I get up to block the rows behind, grab my belongings, and allow those in my row to exit before inconsiderate jerks behind us try to rush their way off first. The process works best when passengers deplane from front to back.

  3. In a one aisle plane there’s only room in the aisle for one person to stand per row. Therefore, one of the aisle passengers either on the left or right side of the plane needs to stay seated anyway.due to this space constraint.

  4. As someone who experienced the beauty of Delta’s row by row deplaning (which let’s those with tight connections off first) during peak COVID, I cannot stress how incorrect you are.

  5. I like to sit at or near the rear of an aircraft, and if I’m seated in an aisle seat, I’m more than happy to stand up and allow anyone stuck in the middle or window seat to escape from confinement.

    Otherwise, however, I prefer to remain seated until the crowd that’s jostling each other in the aisle drains away back to where I’m sitting, and I can then easily and quickly extract my carry-on bag from the overhead bin without being elbowed, coughed on, or stepping on someone’s foot. I’ve been flying frequently for well over 50 years, and I don’t think my approach is causing any delay in the ‘deplaning’ process…and perhaps even speeding it up a bit.

    Minor point about the article’s title/headline: I suspect that many people would interpret the phrase “as soon at it lands” to be the moment when the plane touches down and is still moving at a high rate of speed (not a good time to stand up).

  6. Slight typo correction to my previous comment: Please change “as soon at it lands” to “as soon as the plane lands.”

  7. First of all who writes this idiotic garbage? The problem would be non exiistant if THE ENTITITLED weren’t allowed to bring on more than one carryon! Don’t worry “Irving” will be there to pick you up I promise! Second of all If you are booking a connection that is under an hour you deserve to miss it! They shouldn’t be allowed to sell it! Yes I have done that once a 29 minute connection. The plane was 10 minutes late…I promptly as soon as the doors opened asked everyone to wait for me to get off…..they did and I made it…never again

  8. 4) it prevents all the a holes in row 32 from jumping up and rushing to the front of the plane

  9. We used to fly on German Airlines and the Germans stand up as soon as the wheels hit the ground. Then you see the wheelchair bound picking up their wheel chairs and running to get out of the airport before anyone else

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