How to Exit an Airplane Like You're Not an Idiot

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THE SITUATION: You’re on a plane and the plane has landed. NOW: Let me explain to you what NOT to do—and what to do instead.

To be clear this is what you should NOT do—although many do (do it).


So you’re on the plane and the plane has landed and the plane has taxied to the gate. It’s time to get off now. Let’s say you’re ten rows back from the front. Or 15, or 20. It truly doesn’t matter. There you are, in a seat. Let’s say, for example, you’re in the aisle seat. One or two people are sitting to the inside of you. Okay—the scene is set.

So they open the door. Obviously everybody knows that the people sitting in front get up and walk out the door first. Where are you? That’s right: not in front. You’re ten or 15 or 20 rows back from the front. Any experienced flyer can tell you that YOUR row will not be able to exit for a good 2-5 minutes now, depending on how slow the people are in front of you. To reiterate: there is absolutely no chance that you will be able to walk forward and exit the plane for several minutes, no matter what you do.


So why do you get up immediately and stand in the aisle?

I’m not talking about people who want to stretch their legs. I’m talking about the hordes of people who, at the very first unblinking of the seatbelt sign, jump up into the aisles and grab their bags, as if they are getting a head start on exiting the plane. And what do they do after that?


They stand there for several minutes like idiots and half of them are all bent over in an uncomfortable position under the overhead bins but even that does not stop them from standing up. What the hell.

I have even personally experienced a time when I—in the aisle seat—failed to rise, and the person sitting inside grew so agitated that he awkwardly slid past me so he could stand in the aisle. Did he have a tight connection to make? Yeah—a connection with reality. Buddy, you missed it. Did I kick him right in the nuts when he squeezed past me? No. But I later mentioned him in a negative light in a popular blog post.



Sit comfortably in your seat until such time that the people in the row directly in front of you begin to exit. Then you can stand up and exit. Everyone behind you who has been standing on their feet impatiently for five minutes will get off after you.