Back to Basics: How to Get Off the Plane & Not be Stressed

The best part about getting on the plane, is knowing that you’ll be getting off at your destination, and that you  have loads of great times ahead of you.

For many travelers, however, the landing and deplaning process can be just as confusing and challenging as the boarding process.

Here’s the scoop on how the landing process works and some tips that will make it easy for you to get off the plane.  Frequently flyers – pay attention, because you should take some of the suggestions to heart.

  • Once the aircraft is on the ground and taxiing into the gate, most airlines allow you to use your cell phone.  What you cannot do, however, is stand up and get it out of the overhead, or unbuckle your seat belt and get it out from beneath your set.  If you’ll want to use it on taxi in, keep the phone handy.  And stay buckled up and in your seat.
  • Even though the aircraft is on the ground, it takes awhile to get to a jet way.  The taxi time can change with inclement weather, so a short taxi last time does not necessarily mean a short taxi this time.  Stay in your seat, keep your seatbelt buckled, and leave all your carry on items where they are – which should be properly stowed.  If there’s a wait to get to the jet way Flight Attendants will be making this announcement again, and sometimes  it will come from the Flight Deck as well.  When we can see the end of your seatbelt hanging in the aisle, we know you’re not buckled in.
  • Even though the plane stops, you might not be at the gate.  There can be lots of stops and stops before you get to the gate, so just stay in your seat, keep your seatbelt buckled, and leave all your carry on items where they are – which should be properly stowed.  (Are you noticing the theme yet?)
  • When the seatbelt sign is finally turned off, it’s okay to unbuckle and start putting on your coat and gathering your items.  Stand up if you’d like to, but know that you’re not going anywhere for a little while longer.  As you move around and get your things, be careful not to bump and bang into other passengers.
  • The jet way has to be attached to the plane, or stairs rolled up to the door if there are no jet ways, and that still takes a bit of time.  The front door doesn’t get opened until these are in place, so it’s going to be another couple of minutes before anything more happens.

Finally, though, the door WILL open.  There may be an exchange of arrival paperwork, and then passengers can deplane.  Here’s where it can get a little tricky once again.  Remember the process for boarding – well, think of the deplaning as the same process in reverse.

  • Be very careful when taking your bags out of the overhead bins.  You may have heads below the bins and you don’t want to conk someone on the head. 
  • First off the plane will be the first class passengers, because they are sitting up front and closest to the door.
  • After that, proceeding in an orderly fashion, row by row starting with the row closest to the door, will make things move most quickly.  Let the people in front of you get off rather than trying to climb over them.  This seems like common sense to me, but every day I see people at the back of the plane try to make it off first!
  • If you’re going to need a little extra time to gather your stuff and get off, let people behind you go by and wait for a break in traffic.  If you have kids that need longer, this will help them take the time they need and reduce stress for you, them, and the people behind you.
  • As you slowly walk forward and off the plane, take a moment and thank your flight crew.  It’s a simple thing, but it will make our day.

You have finally arrived at your destination.  Let go of all your travel stress and forget about all the headaches involved in getting there.  Put on a new attitude, even though you may not feel like it, and be a fun, happy person to be around.

Happy Holidays everyone, and may all your travels be on time!

Photo credit:  SXC

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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

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