When planes pull up to the gate passengers unbuckle their seat belts, not waiting for the captain to turn off the seat belt sign. Then everyone begins to jump up, and get into the aisle. Everyone crames body-to-body in the aisle. They’ve been cramped into airline seats for the duration of the flight, and strangely decide to cramp themselves even closer together in the aisle.
People stand and stretch and some passengers will get their bags down out of the overhead bin, which speeds up deplaning – the biggest delay getting off the plane is often waiting for passengers ahead of you to take their bags down, while you’re ready to walk down the aisle.
Last summer there was a viral video of a polite disembarking of an aircraft. It was a charter flight of business executives who landed in Canada. That may be the best possible condition for people to get off the plane in a polite manner.
Fascinating video showing passengers disembarking a @Westjet flight one row at time. This is an oil rig employee charter flight from Calgary to Fort MacKay/Firebag in northern Alberta. pic.twitter.com/drUYsxSsRq
— Tom Podolec Aviation (@TomPodolec) July 27, 2019
Even this doesn’t really promote social distancing. Airlines are blocking middle seats and trying to create additional space between passengers by boarding only a few people at a time – so there aren’t backups on the jetway or in the aisle as passengers stow there bags – but is all the effort for naught if passengers themselves cluster in the aisles before it’s time to get off the plane?
United Airlines thinks they have an answer to this, according to the cerebral Brian Sumers,
To promote distancing, @united wants passengers to get off the airplane in an orderly manner, five rows at a time, according to this communication. What do you think? Will passengers wait their turn? Or will there be a mad dash to the door? And is this a long-term solution? pic.twitter.com/pjv6PE8y8r
— Brian Sumers (@BrianSumers) May 3, 2020
Customers will be asked to remain in their seats, and then deplane five rows at a time. I do not see this working, but I hope that it does – and sticks long past the pandemic.