One thing that always surprises me is how people seem to lose all manners and etiquette as soon as they enter an airplane or airport. Suddenly, everyone behaves like a buffalo amidst a panic stricken stampede.
Ever wonder why everyone tries to rush out of an airplane at the same time as if it's about to explode? Or why people stand at the luggage belt, blocking the view and access for all other passengers? I think it's time for a quick rundown on air travel etiquette.
Boarding and disembarking etiquettes
At the gate
First of all, once you are at the gate on time, the plane is not going to leave without you. So, there really is no reason to simultaneously jump up and run to the gate entrance as soon as boarding commences.
Relax!!! First off, pay attention to the boarding announcements. Boarding is usually in groups, and if your group hasn't been called, there is really no point hanging around the gate entrance blocking the other passengers who are allowed to board.
Inside the airplane
When inside the aircraft, walk to your seat and sit down. If you can't find space for your carry-on, put it on your lap and wait for an airline assistant to help you. Do not hang out in the aisle, looking around, trying to squeeze it in somewhere. And please... do not walk back! The aisle is already narrow for one person, let alone two.
This brings me to the third point. When the plane has arrived at your destination, there is not enough space in the aisle for everyone to stand up. So, again, relax!
You probably have to wait for your check-in luggage anyway, so what's the point of trying to gain one minute by jumping up and standing in the aisle? And no, you're not that important; whatever you traveled for can wait one minute.
At baggage collection
I know you love your bag and that it can be emotionally disturbing to be separated from it during the flight, but please do not stand on the side of the luggage belt until you actually see your bag! This is especially relevant advice if you're pushing a cart.
Now, if everybody would just follow these rules, wouldn't air travel become so much more enjoyable?
It would. But guess what: it's not happening. Why not? Because we're stubborn, impatient, and a little bit neurotic:).
That's why I think the airlines should guide us in the right direction. Here's my two cents on the perfect boarding protocol.
Instead of boarding by row number, why not start with the window seats, middle seats next, and aisle seats last. This ordering system would prevent people from having to get out of their seats to let someone else in.
Moreover, it would speed up the boarding process by eliminating the need for folks to step into the aisle as their neighbors slide past them. Lastly, this process would ensure that the overhead space is filled up proportionally, reducing the need to walk across the plane to find space.
Hmm...doesn't this concept work for unloading the plane too? Yes, it does! Killing two birds with one stone.
This problem is a little bit trickier to solve, but here's what needs to be done. First of all, there needs to be a "no-cart-zone" of at least 3 meters around the luggage belt.
Second, we need people to line up in staggered rows along the belt. This way, everyone can see the belt and there is space to grab the bag once it reaches you.
Simple, right? The ball is in your court Mr. and Ms. airline owners :).