It Seems Like We've Forgotten How to Get Off a Plane Like Decent Human Beings

We disembark by row, not by speed of getting out of your seat!

The ancient texts of etiquette haven't simply been lost, they've been completely forgotten. While certain parts of the social contract have changed for the better (pants aren't confined to be worn by only one gender these days), other parts of it have deteriorated completely. One of the most noticeable in the travel sphere? Waiting your turn to disembark the airplane.

In a recent thread on X that quickly went viral, one person detailed how they saw three zoomers make a mad dash towards the front of the airplane, instead of waiting for their row's turn to disembark.

The poster said they'd never seen such behavior before—which is lucky for them. But while this behavior is certainly becoming more common in a post-pandemic manner-free world, it's not simply a symptom of younger people who lack home training. The brotherly shove to get off the plane fastest is a behavior I've most frequently exhibited from middle aged men. One particularly notable incident recently came when a man in his 40s sat in his seat primed like a panther to pounce, clutching his briefcase. Then, as soon as the bell rang that we were clear to stand, he leaped forward.

Panting, with his already ruddy cheeks turning a shade of crimson, he maneuvered past elderly people, a woman with a baby, and everyone in between to make a mad dash towards the front of the plane. Besides business class, he was the first person to disembark—but at the cost of looking, in my opinion, like one of the worst people alive.

But this race to get off the plane first isn't merely a question of people lacking social grace. It's apparently something that some people actually find totally acceptable. In a Reddit thread, one person shared their wife's correct point of view: "She says that if you are in, say, Row 10, you MUST wait for people in Row 9 to leave their seats before you proceed to disembark."

The spouse's opinion? "My POV is that they have the right-of-way, so to speak, only IF they are standing AND ready. She says that even if they are NOT ready, you must wait for them. As a corollary to this, if you're fast enough, it is perfectly acceptable to me to, as soon as the fasten-seat-belts signs turn off, to jump off your seat and proceed as fast as you can down the aisle."

The poster then opened up voting to other Redditors to determine if more people agreed whether: a) etiquette says you should wait for the rows ahead of you to disembark or b) it is OK to move ahead up the aisle if the passengers on those rows are not ready.

And unfortunately for those of us who were raised to wait our turn, 306 people voted that it was OK to move ahead, as opposed to the 132 who say it is better to wait. There was more dissension in the comments, with a lot of clarifying scenarios that added acceptable caveats to the "always wait" rule, however.

"Your wife is right, you are wrong," one user wrote. "However, I would say that if someone isn't ready to deplane in a row ahead of you, and is still sitting or fiddling with their bag, you can go ahead of them. But if they're standing in the aisle getting bags, just wait."

The 100% exception to this rule is if you have a tight connection and need to get off the plane quickly. In that case though, you should inform the people around you what the situation is, so at least when you make the bolt towards the front, some people will be ready to actively get out of your way.

But if you're just rushing out of the plane because you don't want to be there any longer? Literally no one does, and the rest of us smite you, buddy.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Journalism from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She's worked in digital media for seven years, and before working at Thrillist, she wrote for Mic, The Cut, The Fader, Vice, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.