Don't Do This When Exiting the Plane (Please!)

Welcome to Upright Position, SmarterTravel's new weekly series in which editor Caroline Costello discusses emotional and controversial travel topics. Join the debate by leaving a comment below!

The moment a plane lands, the unfasten-your-seat belt chime goes off and everyone onboard immediately gets up. We remain standing, crouched next to our seats like spiders, until, at long last, it is our chance to escape. Aisle-seat passengers at the end of rows will often move into the aisle and remove luggage from the overhead bin; this is good and saves time during the debarkation process. Keep doing this, everyone.

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What is not good is when passengers move forward in the aisle, past their designated row. We need to have a conversation about this, guys. Here is what happens pretty much every time I fly: The plane has landed. I am powering up my phone and eager to exit the aircraft. But before I gain access to the aisle, I must wait for the guy who was seated four rows behind me—and who is now standing in the aisle, blocking the exit from my row of seats—to take a couple of steps forward. Most likely, the person behind him advances toward the front too, maintaining the impasse of inconsideration. This continues until I am the last person left on the plane, sobbing into my neck pillow.

Just because you are in the aisle seat doesn't mean you get to leave the plane before all of the other passengers occupying middle and window spaces. Simply put, wait until every person ahead of your row has reached the aisle. Then move toward the door.

Remember that some travelers even pay extra to sit in the economy seats near the front of the plane; often, people do this because they have a tight connection and need to get off the aircraft as soon as possible. Even those who didn't pay to sit toward the front deserve to disembark before the people behind them. On many airlines, passengers who sit in the back enjoy boarding before the rest of the pack with lower row numbers (with the exception of the platinum-elite-business-plus crowd, of course), so they get first access to overhead bins. It's a trade-off: Either you get on the plane first and leave last, or vice versa. (It's important to note that this isn't the case with all airlines, however, as different carriers employ different styles of boarding. But back-to-front boarding is a very common configuration.)

So many parts of travel are annoying or frustrating, but I think this is one that we can fix. Do you agree with me? Has this happened to you? Sound off in the comments.

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