Will Social Distancing Finally Give Us An Orderly Deplaning Process?

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.

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,

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.

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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Comments

  1. ‘Social distancing’ will be forgotten extremely quickly.

    We’re social CREATURES. We want to be social.
    Some silly government policy to appease the public will be gone as quickly as it came.

    No one with any warmth in their heart is interested in ‘social distancing.’
    If you are, you’re probably a psycho – so get help, but stop with that jargon around people with brains and empathy for their fellow humans.

  2. Nice idea, will never work. I was on a plane of 22 people (a321 AA) and as soon as the sign when off, someone from the back of the plane ran all the way to the front. Unless they can automatically lock and unlocke the seat belts or overhead, it won’t change.

  3. I crack up at Doug’s reference to “people with brains.” Those with brains don’t write in the way Doug has in his comment, even though he has a semblance of a point. Although people with brains wouldn’t come off so cocksure.

  4. RE: “No one with any warmth in their heart is interested in ‘social distancing.’
    If you are, you’re probably a psycho – so get help, but stop with that jargon around people with brains and empathy for their fellow humans.”

    @Doug,

    Perhaps if you’ve lost people who matter to you to Covid19, as I have; or have family & close friends who are doctors & nurses working on the front lines in hospitals, who tell you what they’re seeing during their grueling shifts (as I do); know people who became sick, and required treatment in an ICU not knowing if they’d be among the few lucky ones to be put on ventilator & recover (as I do); or have seen the many ambulances passing under your windows, several of which pulled up directly below removing your friends & neighbors, some of which didn’t make & won’t be a part of your life anymore (as I have) – perhaps then you’ll see things differently, as I do.

    I genuinely hope you NEVER have to face the pain of learning that you lost even one, let alone three people within the span of 10 days as I did last month.

    But, since it appears you haven’t (and if so, I’m happy beyond words for you & only wish this plague passes over you & your loved ones), because Lord knows it’s hard to imagine anyone who has lost a loved one to this insidious disease, or who has loved ones putting their lives at risk daily treating even those who seem to think they’re forever invincible with some sort of magical immunity, throw caution to the wind & being as callous & insensitive as to say what you said in your comments above.

    This plague/pandemic is REAL – no matter how much some seem to think otherwise with their ill- considered, insensitive trivialization of it – or perhaps foolhardy denial that just might cause them, or a loved one, to die.

    Just sayin’

  5. We’ll have to learn new phrases.

    “No, YOU go first, please go ahead”

    “Stand back or she dies”. Oh wait, that was a line in a TV show.
    “Stand back, keep social distances!”

  6. “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.”

    Let’s hope so.

    And let’s hope sociopathic narcissists like “Doug” are put on the no-fly list

  7. @Howard Miller

    While real, this is NOT a plague. It is an over-reaction to the situation, and yes, I have lost loved ones to Covid-19. You may be interested in an article from Scott W. Atlas, MD, iwho is the David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and the former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center.

    https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/494034-the-data-are-in-stop-the-panic-and-end-the-total-isolation

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