Flying can be fun, but when it comes to exiting the airplane, it’s important to remember your manners and show consideration for your fellow passengers. After all, nobody likes a jerk, especially when they’re in a hurry to deplane! So, let’s first discuss some inappropriate behaviors, and then how to exit an airplane gracefully. Without further ado, here’s how not to be a jerk when exiting the plane.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Airplane Etiquette
1. Bolting Ahead of Others
You’ve just landed, and everyone is eager to disembark and get to their vacation/connection/bathroom. But remember, we’re all in this together. Pushing past others to be the first one off the plane isn’t going to win you any popularity contests. In fact, it pegs you as downright arrogant. Cool your jets. What’s the hurry?
What to do instead: Practice patience and wait your turn. Stay in your seat until the row in front of you has had a chance to exit. If you have a tight connection, make sure you’ve alerted the flight crew well in advance of descent. Sometimes – if there are a bunch of you on the flight – they’ll work to get you to your next gate.
2. Premature Bag Retrieval
The passenger who’s on this track gets a black mark. Look. We all want to grab our belongings and get moving, but yanking your bag out of the overhead bin while people are still waiting in the aisle is a surefire way to make yourself a menace. Have you ever been beaned in the head by someone’s carry-on LV weekender bag? That’s not nice.
What to do instead: Try to stow your bag above your head. If that’s not an option, we highly recommend stowing toward the front (not the back) of the plane. And just wait until the aisle is clear before retrieving your bag. This way, you won’t be blocking others or risking a backpack to the face.
3. Standing up and edging your way into the aisle
I’m not afraid to admit this is my biggest pet peeve on an airplane. Why oh why do some people jam their hip into the aisle and crowd the folks in front of them? I do not want your rear in my face, ma’am! This is the equivalent to that driver who frantically races around you in order to sit one car closer to the red light. Sigh.
What to do instead: When people around you start to get restless, just sit back with a book or a podcast and chill. Until the flight crew opens the door, you’re just being impatient if you start the “plane pressure” dance.
4. Loud Phone Conversations
You’ve been disconnected from the world during the flight, and the urge to catch up on calls is understandable. However, loudly yakking about your personal life on your mobile phone is gauche. No one on the plane needs to hear about your plans.
What to do instead: Save your phone conversations for when you’re in the terminal. If you absolutely must, at least speak sotto voce (that’s more of a quiet, library voice) to respect others around you.
5. Uncontrolled Backpack Swinging
Carry-on packs can be deceptively wide and unwieldy, especially in the tight confines of an airplane aisle. Swing them without caution, and you might end up smacking someone in the face. That’s not cool – especially to the person who got smacked.
What to do instead: Be mindful of your surroundings. Check behind you before grabbing your pack. And don’t swing it – gently pull it down to avoid any unintentional injuries. If it’s too heavy, ask someone to help.
The Art of the Graceful Exit – The Do’s
Now that we’ve covered all the less than polite bases, let’s talk about how to be a good citizen. Some of these may sound like basic stuff, but you’d be surprised at how many people chuck the golden rule straight out the window when deplaning. Here’s how you can make an exit with poise and courtesy.
Wait Your Turn
Patience is a virtue, especially when exiting an airplane. Please wait for the rows in front of you to clear before making your move. Rushing ahead will only lead to chaos and disgruntled fellow passengers.
Be Considerate of Others
Remember the golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. Be mindful of people around you, their personal space, and their comfort. It’s a small adjustment in attitude that can make a big difference in someone’s day.
Smile and Say “Thank You”
A simple smile and a “thank you” can go a long way in creating a positive atmosphere. Expressing gratitude to the flight attendants and crew as you exit is a small gesture that shows appreciation for their hard work.
Listen to and follow the instructions given by the flight crew. They know the best way to efficiently manage the deplaning process, so adhering to their guidance helps maintain order and safety.
A few final words to help you be the best “you” when deplaning. It’s tough, especially after a long travel day. But being a considerate passenger doesn’t require a degree in rocket science, just a bit of thoughtfulness and empathy for others. The next time you find yourself exiting an airplane, remember these simple etiquette guidelines. By doing so, you’ll be contributing to a happier and more pleasant flying “afterglow” for everyone involved. Safe travels, and happy landings!