How to correctly get off a plane

No-one wants to be ‘that guy’. You know, the one who stands up too early, takes up too much space and holds up a whole aisle of people while slowly unpacking their carry-on to select a fresh jacket. This step-by-step guide to leaving a plane the right way, from the Washington Post, will keep you calm and efficient.

Plan ahead
While the experts interviewed by washingtonpost.com suggest travelling light, I tend to pack my carry-on to breaking point and bring it to checked luggage, so I’m guilty of ignoring this step. But having a large quantity of belongings doesn’t mean you have to disturb other people. Gather your things before the plane lands. This way you’ll have everything ready to go and you’re less likely to forget something such as a wallet or passport. It’s a good idea to begin packing up your stuff when you hear the flight attendant make an announcement to put your electronics away.

“Make sure that you are ready to go. This will also help you to not forget anything, because when the fasten seatbelt sign goes off, and all your neighbours stand up and you get pressured, you’ll forget to look,” former flight attendant Abbie Unger says.

passengers exiting a plane

Wait for the fasten seatbelt sign to go off
In your rush to exit the plane, you may actually be slowing the process for everyone. It’s a safety issue for a passenger to be standing up while the seatbelt sign is still on. Flight attendants are obligated to call the captain and inform them that there are passengers standing. The captain must then slow and even stop the plane until the passengers are seated again.

Connecting flights get priority
If you’ve ever been in the anxiety inducing position of running late for a connecting flight, you’d understand why these passengers should get priority exiting the plane. If you are worried about missing a connecting flight, let the flight attendants know as soon as you can. This way, they may be able to move you to a seat closer to the exit and communicate with ground staff to give you the best chance at making your flight. If you are at your final destination, pay attention to the requests of flight staff and the needs of other passengers.

Aisle etiquette
This is the time when most people stuff up and make a fool of themselves. People tend to leap up as soon as the seatbelt light goes off. That’s fine as long as you don’t try to jump the queue to get your bags down. Getting into the aisle first doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get off the plane faster. Wait until those in the row before you have their bags and begin to move away. If you jump out before them and stand in the aisle, you could be blocking a person behind you from getting their luggage, slowing everything even more. If you aren’t ready to get off when your ‘turn’ comes, don’t. Stay in your seat. There’s no rush.

Common decency
Yes, you are expected to be a considerate person even when stuck inside a metal tube. If someone needs a hand with a bag, or doesn’t notice they’ve dropped something, help them out. Showing a calm and cheery face – even if you’re living your own personal hell inside this parked plane – can help ease the anxiety in people around you. Thank your flight crew on the way out, they’ve probably had to deal with some rather average passengers over the course of the flight.

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Written by Liv Gardiner

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