In defense of standing as soon as the plane reaches the gate

I’ve read a lot of so-called “plane etiquette” articles complaining about people who stand up as soon as the plane reaches the gate and the seat belt sign is turned off. Allow me to make a counter-point.

Photo: Brent Petersen

It happens every time.

Your plane lands and taxis to the arrival gate. Once the plane comes to a stop, the pilot turns off the fasten seat belt sign and you hear a “ding.” Right on cue, a bunch of people stand up and get in the aisle, waiting to disembark. Aren’t these “early standers” the worst?

This behavior is so abhorrent, it has drawn the ire of many so-called “experts” who say this behavior is rude, or at least pointless because you’re going to be waiting for everyone in front of you to get off the plane before first.

“Just wait in your seat!” they say.

Well, as one of these monsters guilty of this crime against the aviating public, allow me to chime in.

First, “Buzz off!”

What possible difference does it make to you when I decide to stand up? I’m not hurting anyone or disrupting your choice of staying seated.

Second, I’m actually doing you a favor. When I get up, the first thing I do, assuming my bag is within easy reach, is get my carryon out of the overhead bin and put it on my now-vacant seat.

This allows me to ultimately de-plane more quickly. You, in the seated community, have to stand up, find your bag, remove it from the overhead bin, and walk out. Every single time I’m in the aisle behind one of these “last minute sitters,” it slows down the deplaning for everyone. Often, there’s a gap of thirty feet or more of open space between the “polite planer” and the next passenger.

Finally, the real reason I stand up as soon as possible on the cramped aluminum tube is simple comfort. As a tall human, being jammed into an airline seat for anything more than a few minutes is akin to punishment. My knees are sore from the seat in front of me, my back is killing me, and my foot fell asleep. I gotta get up and start the blood moving!

Then again, it could be my parents’ fault. They were “plane sitters” to the extreme. They would make us wait until every single passenger had left the plane before letting us depart, no matter how close we were to the front.

Maybe it’s my way of getting back at them.

About the Author

Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.

Author: Brent