Is it rude to not wait for the people ahead to deplane?

It seems like every time I go to Vegas I see people displaying what I consider to be less than stellar travel etiquette. Maybe it’s because so big planemany infrequent travelers go there? Last week’s trip was no exception, and I noticed a couple of situations that I want to discuss with all of you.

Our flight to Vegas was pretty uneventful.  The Home Warrior and I did manage to get a couple of adult beverages on the flight which was nice (although I forgot my Southwest drink coupons, boo! Also, did you know Southwest doesn’t carry tequila? So strange).  Upon arrival in Vegas everyone stood up as normal to get their bag, but I noticed several people racing down the aisle to deplane, skipping past people who were sitting in front of them.

Here’s the deal. If you have a connection that you’re going to miss if you don’t get off the plane immediately, then I think it’s perfectly fine to skip ahead of others instead of waiting your turn.  I’ve done this myself but I always politely inform people I have a connection I’m about to miss and apologetically let them know I need by.  For the most part people are pretty understanding when I have to do this with only an occasional jerk blocking my way and ignoring my request.

I made a mental note of the line-skippers to see if I would see them in checked baggage, and sure enough I did.  Obviously there was no connecting flight.  By skipping ahead they caused everyone else to wait, just so they could save a few minutes for themselves.  It’s especially annoying because they had to wait for their bags, like everyone else on the plane. Just because you can stand up and run to the front faster than others doesn’t make it okay.  It makes deplaning so much more chaotic for everyone else, and it’s just flat out rude to cut in front of other people like that.

Readers, what do you think? Is it rude to not wait for people in front of you to deplane? How do you deal with rude travelers?

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  1. It always amazes me the difference between business oriented flights and lesiure flights. The Thursday 4pm or 5pm DCA-BOS or DCA-NYC depature is always mostly business people who know the SOP and behave in a way that Dear Abbey would consider normal. Whereas a Friday 5pm flight to Miami or Las vegas from..well anywhere….is usually made up of leisure travelers and often ones who dont travel a lot. This demographic change almost always makes the flight much more chaotic.

  2. Who gets off the seat first and gets to the line to exit without hindering anyone else, gets to get off first, I do not see why they have to wait for your slow ass or anyone else’s for that matter to get off their seat and get their bags ever so slowly, when I am taking my bags if I see someone behind me and IF I can move a bit to let them pass I do, why does everyone have to wait for me, placement of seat does not mean I take precedence in exiting…whoever gets in line first gets to get off first. Now once I am up and my bag is down on the ground then I am in line to exit. Of course no one should push anyone out of the way etc…you can only move forward if you can do so without ‘disturbing’ anyone.

  3. I was on a flight from Lansing, MI to MSP this summer. Upon landing in MSP, a lady was trying to pass through everyone who already stood up in the aisle (although she did it apologetically,) saying that she has a connecting flight that leaves in 30 minutes. I pointed out to her that we crossed the time zone and told her the local time, so she had plenty of time to make the connection. She didn’t believe me and tried to push to the door anyway. Sure enough, I found her lingering at the gate when I was out of the plane waiting for her mother who needs a wheelchair to deplane.

  4. Agree with Jay, let the fastest people out first.

    It’s more rude to force others to wait for you to unload when they are all set to leave and just need to pass through. Letting the fastest people off first is more efficient because it leaves more space for people who need to remove their bags from the overhead compartment.

  5. I actually think that there is a two-fold thing here.

    If you’ve got your things out of the overhead bins/hand luggage and are ready to get into the aisle and leave, then people rushing from behind is rude.

    If you’ve still got to unload your stuff, standing inside the aisle seat, while you get your stuff is polite, so people can get by. Thus they’re not rude, and it is an efficient unloading of the plane.

  6. @Anne, great point.

    @Jay and @Anonymous, does anyone who is not in the aisle seat deserve to wait because they are “slow”?

    Another question. I think most people who don’t have to get things from the overhead bin (not all, but most) will have checked a bag. Even though they are rushing to get off the plane, they will have to wait at baggage claim. What do y’all think about that?

  7. Maybe they are claustrophobic, or it was an urgent bathroom situation? …Or maybe they are just jerks.

  8. Thinking solely in terms of efficiency, every second that someone is not exiting the plane is one second wasted in deboarding. If you’re ready to leave then leave, if not then stand out of the way and let others move on by.

  9. Warriorette, your topic could not be more timely- I experienced this exact scenario last week on a business trip, and Anne took the words right out of my mouth.

    I was window seat and when the aisle traveler got up to get their overhead, I moved over and sat on the armrest – my signal for “I’m ready to get up and go” – but when she moved forward, three people who were in the rows behind us just walked right past me while I was starting to get into the aisle. RUDE. If I’d just been sitting there obliviously then yes- by all means pass me up. Like you, I wondered if I’d see them again off the plane, and I did see 2 of the 3 – standing by our exiting gate just checking messages on their phones- no emergency rush to a connection. I’m sure I had a scowl on my face. What gets me is that I only take a small backpack on the plane, that I can quickly put up into the overhead and grab fast as I leave- not big fuss. Yet time and again I’ll be ready to go, just waiting for the folks in the aisle in front of me to move, and people from the rows behind will just push through, literally.

    It’s one of those times where you decide to be like them and play their game and step on everyone, or you remind yourself that travel etiquette and manners do matter and to keep yours. I’ll always keep mine though at times it’s really frustrating.

    I’ve commented to friends that I’ve seen the best and worst of manners – and it’s either getting on/off a plane or getting into/out of the aisle at a movie.

  10. I have mixed reactions but agree with most everybody who posted.

    If someone is in the aisle I think it’s right and polite to wait for them. They’re *trying* and some people are just faster or slower than others. In that case I think it’s rude to shove by them if in any way you’re disrupting their ability to get their stuff or get off the plane.

    Conversely, if they’re taking their sweet time even moving towards the aisle it’s nonsense to just stand there and clog the aisle because of some hypothetical system of “turns”. In that case I think I am being rude if I make everybody else wait because of some imagined “order” in my own head, and it can even be impolite on the part of the person being waited for if they see the line waiting for them and don’t care.

    Whether or not people have to wait at baggage claim is irrelevant. I would imagine Baggage claim is a more comfortable location for virtually anybody (access to food, bathrooms, phone calls, etc) and there is personal benefit in changing location from plane to baggage claim.

  11. Yes, it is damn rude. Unless a FA announces that there are folks with tight connections, make the poor SOBs wait.

    In fact, many international airlines (and airlines in other countries) actually block folks in Economy and Premium Economy from advancing until the First/Business class folks have deplaned.

  12. Nobody should have to wait on the slowest person however, letting all the ready-set people in the aisles out first leaves room for everyone to move and gather their belongings, so by the time the people further back progress those in the aisle who weren’t ready from the get-go can then step out and get their items, not clogging the ENTIRE plane in the process.

    I understand some are a bit slower but from my experience the people who slow the entire plane down do it deliberately from some perceived sense of entitlement. THAT’s rude.

    Re: the 2nd question whether they still have to wait at baggage claim or not is irrelevant, it doesn’t give anyone the right to dictate what others do with their time.

  13. I used to travel extensively for work, and have seen every combination of deplaning imaginable. The rules are quite simple:
    1. When you are getting ready to land, GET READY TO LAND. Put your stuff away, tote your book, get your water bottle, whatever. Once we park at the gate, it should take you a brief moment to pick up your stuff and go.
    2. If you have a child in a carseat, a lot of luggage, or whatever is going to take you time to deplane, sit and let others go. Just because you are closer, doesn’t mean you have an automatic right. Be polite. Park it and wait. It will be more pleasant for you anyway.
    3. Don’t push ahead unless you have a connection that is departing within the next 30 minutes. Even my elderly father can make a 35 minute connection through O’Hare. I know what time the gate closes, so don’t snow me. There are no connections through Hartford, Providence, Jacksonville, or Kansas City, so sit your butt DOWN.
    4. When the people in front of you start to get ready to go, stand up (hunch over), and pull your stuff up so you are ready to go.
    5. It’s like merging – if you can let the person in front of you or to your side go, please do. Smile. Be polite, be kind. Enjoy! You’re done. You survived. Now BU-BYE.

  14. The only thing I carry on is my laptop and it is stowed under the seat in front of me. I never use the overhead storage. That being said … I opt to board last … after everyone has done their bumping and lifting and jamming the isles … I walk on and plunk myself into a seat … no song .. no dance. Doesn’t it stand to reason that if you first deplane people that don’t have overhead storage it would make for more room and and easier smoother deplaning for everyone?

  15. Every flight I’ve taken from San Juan Puerto Rico to Orlando is a race to exit. Extremely rude pushing and shoving to get off first. Literally almost climbing over people to get off. Wait your turn unless the person forward isn’t ready and then go.

  16. If you’re not in an aisle seat and can’t elbow people for a spot in line for the aisle, I see no reason why you should be considered “slow” and be passed by folks standing the aisle. If I’m in 18B (middle) and the person sitting in 19C (aisle) and standing in the aisle of the plane starts to move past me to get off the plane faster, then all the people behind them who can’t see start moving forward, and then I’m the one waiting to get out.

    Also, if you’re not in business, it doesn’t even make sense to stand up when the plane parks because you’ll be waiting at least another 5 minutes. Just have all your things ready to go, stand, and walk when it’s your turn.

    I choose window seats mainly, and it drives me bonkers when people standing in the aisle walk past me because I’m being “slow” as I try to exit my row.

  17. Just piping up at this late date to say you’re wrong, and of the people who are right, #13 put it best. Speeding off the plane is polite if you can, because it frees up space. Expecting to block others just because your row number is lower is rude. And waiting for the person ahead of you to get their stuff together and go isn’t polite, it’s rude to whoever is behind you.

  18. Deplaning would be a LOT faster if people were made to check their bags. I remember it-it definitely was faster in the “old days”. Putting in overheads was the worst decision airplane designers have ever made. It is responsible for most of these delays. And please don’t go on about it being “faster” to carry on luggage-maybe for you, but in over 40 years of traveling for business I have never been in such a hurry that I had to carry on heavy luggage.

  19. I’ve gotten to the point that I will literally tell rude people to back the eff off. There is no way it is ok to jump up and try to rush past people. You will be stopped IMMEDIATELY as almost everyone as well will stand up and collect their belongings from the overhead bins. I have truly never witnessed the “dawdling” person that’s been described here. If that is the case….then different story. But. – I fly often and that is the exception not the rule. Why be rude and piss every one off around you to save a minute? You are not more important. Wait your turn.

  20. Wow. I’ve read several blogs and the posts on this blog.

    It is obvious there is no real consensus on proper deplaning etiquette. So…

    To intentionally block someone behind you from getting off when they are loaded and ready to go and then lecture them on etiquette is over the top. Why? Because you have just slowed the process down for everyone behind just to vent your anger. You also don’t know (maybe the guy has a prostate problem and if you don’t let him go you’re both going to be embarrassed).

    Be kind in any case. No reason to embarrass people. It doesn’t help, and since there really doesn’t seem to be a strong consensus—it only causes more problems. No one died and made us etiquette law enforcement officers.

  21. Love D. Brent’s post. Having just made a tight connection with seconds to spare, I have this to say. Do NOT block the person racing from behind you with a tight connection; that person only cares about making that connection and doesn’t care about being polite to you. Especially if they’ve just arrived from a 15-hour flight to Newark airport, and there are multiple security checkpoints, customs and immigration, slow TSA officers, etc between that person and their connecting flight. And airplanes do NOT wait for people, even if the trip is a single-ticket trip. The only time an airplane will delay a flight for someone is if there are 40 other people who will be late for the connection also. So get over yourself, let that person go, forget about the rudeness and be glad you are not in their situation.

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