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. 

How not to be a jerk when exiting the plane

The Do’s and Don’ts of Airplane Etiquette

The Don’ts

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. 

How not to be a jerk when exiting the plane

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.

Follow Instructions

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!

10 Comments

  1. Thank you for this article, I have been on domestic flights In Australia where I live and without notice, passengers will sometimes exit the plane in orderly fashion row by row, with some choosing to remain in their seats for whatever reason they wish. I recently had the worst experience on a flight ever, as soon as the wheels touched down the aisles were jammed with passengers from front to back. The only exit in use was the bridge at the front as the back stairs / runway impacted by very wet weather. I was trying to make a connection for a regional train that has infrequent departures, tried to get my backpack from the overhead locker and could almost not move as someone stepped on the end of my neck scarf but there was no effective way to safely bring my luggage down, no one would make space or move. I tried to alert a passenger standing behind me that I was retrieving my luggage and he was mutely on his device. Needless to say my clumsy attempt to get luggage down was of great interest to the jammed up aisle of passengers that were keen observers but not willing to make any room. I missed my train and had purchased an airline aisle seat near the front so I could do a quick exit. No way. It is a cultural thing and the push, shove, inability to queue and so on is worrying, not only for aircraft but also in the event of an emergency or in other situations requiring crowd control. The airline staff had tried to manage getting on to the plane row by row and had to really up the anti to get passengers to listen. It was hugely disappointing to see how rabidly impatient people are becoming and Im usually pretty calm but I felt so shocked by the crush and had resigned myself to miss the train connection. Apparently the idea that moving off planes row by row is quicker, and those who wait to exit can do so. Bring it back if possible!!

  2. I travel quite often..in my opinion airlines have lost customer service and respect..when you step
    In an airplane flight attendants are the ones setting the tone..the way they look, the way they are dressed , the way they talk everything about them is Walmart grade these days …compared to an European airline I flew recently where flight attendants have to all wear the same lipstick shade, leave alone their uniforms, their manners, making you feel like you are king..

  3. I sit on the isle and always let the people on the opposing side to get into the aisle before me. HOWEVER if some one behind my row rushes in to fill the space next to me I crush them (apologizing, of course) 😉

  4. I usually have an aisle seat and let
    those inside get out,if they want to fo so..
    And offer to bring down heavy overheads for women.

  5. While it’s always good to be patient, considerate, and polite, I would amend some of your Don’ts.
    On three different airlines I’ve been told by the flight attendants that they are not allowed to ask passengers without connections to let others off first. This courtesy used to be not-uncommon and mitigated much of the pushing and frantic misbehavior that you mentioned. Maybe you could look into whether airlines would be willing to make this kind of announcement a practice, at least when asked.
    So many people boarding early put their bags up front, no matter where they’re sitting, that now people who sit near the front have to put the bags toward the rear and it creates a bigger mess on disembarkment. Putting your bag in front of you for your own convenience just puts the problem off on the person whose overhead space you’ve co-opted so now THEY have to put their bag in back and the problem snowballs.
    And if you have a backpack, take it off before you enter the plane and put it on after you leave. Carrying it by the straps in front of you keeps it out of someone else’s face. It’s awkward, but you can manage for a dozen or so steps to your seat.
    Thank you.

  6. This is mostly good and I think most people do follow these guidelines. However, it would be nice to be able to “deplane” quickly if you have a short connection. I need a wheelchair, so I paid more to sit near the door (for 2 of us), but the attendant makes a handicapped person wait to the very last to get off even if sitting in the front. I only had about an hour to get to the far other end of the terminal. Thank heavens I had help.
    I am 81 and short, so I want to thank the people who have helped me stow my carryon and get it back down. I am really appreciative Perhaps you should have mentioned that it would be nice to help others (a way to avoid getting hit in the face with a backpack. I also want to thank the assistance from the airport people. They know where they are going and they get there quickly…..worth every cent of a tip.

  7. Would it be too much for the stewards to make an announcement on how to get off the plane? There are those passengers who edge their way and rush into the aisle from behind and even though they are rude, many passengers do not want to be confrontational.

  8. This guide sucks. Passengers are typically horrendous exiting planes and it takes forever, because they have no exit strategy and wait until the last possible second to get out of their seats and then reach up to retrieve their overhead luggage, thereby causing a massive traffic jam.
    Here’s my guide:
    1. Airlines should open the back door in addition to the front and airports should provide a mobile staircase for rear exit. This would cut the deplaning time in half. In my frequent travels to Australia, domestic airlines always do this.
    2. Passengers should stow overhead luggage NOT in the bin directly above their heads, but ACROSS the aisle, so in retrieving it, they don’t have to crowd up against the person in front of them in the aisle. Reaching across to collect a bag puts someone in much better position to hold and control their bag while bringing it down, thus diminishing the chance of an accident.
    3. Airlines have passenger manifests and information about which ones have tight connections (THAT is what the “hurry” is!). Therefore, why don’t flight attendants make an announcement and allow passengers with tight connections to exit first? If passengers who need extra time are allowed that in pre-boarding, why not allow that in deplaning?
    4. Airlines should produce videos and show them on board and/or have flight attendants do short presentations on deplaning, as they do before takeoff, on seating policy.
    Call me arrogant if you like, but as a lifelong flyer, it is absolutely infuriating to have the deplaning process take so long, because many flyers fail to plan their exits and don’t exercise common sense — that ignorance is equally arrogant.

  9. Thank you for the article! It should b posted all over the airport in many languages…..
    Recently my daughter was physically shoved by a woman, from a foreign country, as she slammed her luggage on top of my daughters….
    Yes I was very upset…. the woman about 65-70 should not have done such a thing!
    Rude is rude and ignorance is never going to change!
    As we went for out rental car…. There she was staring at us….by the way she spoke English very well except when she shoved my daughter!
    I don’t think any cares today!
    Every man for himself!
    But ty for trying!
    Excellent read!

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