An Airplane Etiquette Question I Struggle With — To Stay Seated, Or Not To Stay Seated

Filed Under: Travel

There are a lot of hotly contested airplane etiquette topics out there, ranging from who controls the window shades, to whether reclining your seat is a right or privilege.  I have strong opinions on most of these topics, though there’s one thing I’m constantly going back and forth it.

This is minor in the grand scheme of things, and every time I consider writing about it I say to myself “this probably isn’t significant enough to warrant a discussion.” But it happens to me so often, and I’m curious to hear how you guys handle this.

“Please stay seated to allow those with connections…”

I feel like this has been happening more and more lately. Your flight is running behind schedule, and either shortly before landing or just after landing, the flight attendant announces something along the lines of:

“I’m going to ask you for a favor. We have some passengers making tight connections, and we would really appreciate if you could stay seated after the seatbelt sign goes off to allow these people to deplane first. We know you’d appreciate that same courtesy if you were in their shoes.”

Or something along those lines. Sometimes they’ll ask the passengers making tight connections to ring their call buttons so they can be identified, sometimes they’ll give a specific time range for what they consider to be a tight connection, and sometimes they’ll just let people decide for themselves what constitutes a short connection.

On the surface this is a nice and logical gesture. If me sitting on the plane for a little extra time means someone will make it home to see their family, or make it on a well deserved vacation, I’m all for it.

But I’m becoming jaded when it comes to this, and I’m curious how you guys feel.

One problem: no one listens

The biggest problem with these announcements is that almost no one listens. So in those situations where I stay seated, I find that I’m basically the last person off the plane.

Heck, on a flight today we were over 40 minutes late, and one flight attendant recommended to the other flight attendant that they make such an announcement. “I’ve been doing it for 20 years, and I’ve never seen anyone listen.”

Yet she still made the announcement…

Actually, there are a lot more problems…

The fact that virtually no one listens is only one of the things that has made me jaded about this over the years. The other problems include that:

  • People can’t be trusted to self-identify — often the people thinking their connections are really short actually don’t have short connections at all (they just don’t travel often, misread the boarding time as the departure time, etc.), or they already missed their connections, so have no chance of getting on that flight
  • The people rushing are almost certainly going to miss their connections — American only cares about “D0,” which is departing on-time (and is ironic, because they’re not very good at it), so most of the time the people running off the planes have no way in hell of making their connection, when it leaves in five minutes from a different terminal (and they close the door 10 minutes prior to departure)
  • People book stupid connections, and airlines are at fault for creating a system that encourages this — airlines rely so heavily on banked hubs and unrealistic minimum connection times; people probably shouldn’t have booked a 45 minute connection in Dallas to begin with, but it’s not really their fault when the airline displays those convenient-looking options so prominently

So, what do I do?

How do I handle these situations? I try to be courteous, which is to say that if the crew specifically identifies a few people, or if some people push forward, I’ll of course let them off first. But I’m done being the only person who listens.

It makes me feel bad to do that, but I also feel like there’s no point.

Goodness knows airlines waste enough of our time, and an extra five minutes upon arrival every other flight sure adds up.

Personally I think airlines need to do a better job managing these situations, rather than relying on passengers to step in and help. In other words, we’re supposed to do our part to help people make their connections, while gate agents close the door 10 minutes early on those people because those are the metrics they’re rewarded on.

This is something United has been doing a great job with lately. They’ve created a system whereby they do hold the flights for passengers strategically based on a variety of factors, and that has proven quite successful. I’d love to see more airlines apply a little more logic to holding flights for passengers.

Where do you stand on this — when flight attendants ask people to stay seated, do you listen? Do you appreciate when flight attendants do this?

Comments
  1. AA does strategically hold flights but much more likely if there is more than one inbound flight involved and a concentration on a couple of outbound flights, and also only on very high volume days when there’s no hope of rebooking. Definitely not often, but they do. Eg Christmas week, dfw sees more delayed outbound flights due to this, but they don’t proactively disclose that as the official reason for the delay, so there’s no way to know from the outside unless you’re in the flight.

    I’ve even seen outstation ground staff hold flights multiple times just for 1 passenger if it’s an EP, which I’d say is even taking it too far.

  2. Nothing is stopping that same person who booked a 45 minute connection from paying the extra money for a main cabin extra or even preferred seat. For that reason, I refuse to stay seated.

  3. I split the difference. I wait for people to pass and assume that they are all hurrying to make a connection…but inevitably some moron will take too long to get their overhead belongs and hold up the aisle. That’s when I make my move and get out.

  4. Well what I have seen is that in India, they never make such announcements. It has always been like a madhouse.

  5. Your middle bullet point is the big problem. I was one of many who were delayed due to AA mechanics at MIA this past summer. We were trying to connect at DFW to AMS. A 3 hour connection buffer quickly became 30 mins. Not ideal, but definitely still possible.

    The FAs informed me upon arrival that we were arriving at the gate next to the AMS flight, and that they would allow me to exit the aircraft first (not too difficult in J on a 772).

    But alas, my sprint up the jet bridge to the adjacent gate was pointless: they closed the door 20 mins before scheduled departure. Didn’t matter that 3 EPs were on the late connecting flight and that they obviously knew we could make it. D0 is all that matters to them.

    The majority of my spend the rest of the year was with Delta as a result.

  6. Cascading weather delays and switched flights had me in the back of coach two days ago. Only made my 8 mins to door close connection bc most people did listen and stayed seated. Grateful to all those people, last flight home of the night.

  7. I have once flown from TRS to MAD via MUC with LH. I had about 40 minutes connection in MUC and I was traveling with hand luggage only. After my flight from TRS was late and I arrived to MUC with 20 min connection time the crew made an annoucment that for short connection to MAD, HKG and NRT there will be special bus and if we could exit the plane first to ensure on-time departure our connection flight.

    It was CRJ 900 and I was seating at the emergency exit, row 15 I think. I stand up but there was already about 60 pax standing in the tiny aisle of CRJ900. I start to say “Execuse me, I am having short connection can I go first od the plane, thank you ! “ and most of peopel gave me the way to the front, till the row 4 or 5 where there was an arogant guy not giving me the way. I reapted my request to move 2 or 3 times and he was cleary ignoring me. Luckily other passangers told him to move but he had very rude remarks about my request. I exited the plane 3rd and entered the special bus. In the end I maded to Lufthansa Business Lounge for the beer before I board my flight to MAD.

  8. @JG you never know when Karma would hit you up and you would miss your connection for just 3 minutes and you would spend next 18 hours in the airport not with your love ones. I always give the way to short connection passangers.

  9. I get your point @Jack however how am I supposed to know the person is actually running late or just trying to make it to the lounge to grab a drink before their flight to MAD. Again, nothing stopping you from buying the seat up front.

  10. I had a situation like this on a recent Alaska flight – I thought I had mere minutes to make my connection. No one let me pass, and so when it came time for me to move up the aisle I was in a hurry. A man stepped in front of me to get to his overhead bags and met the business end of my shoulder as I pushed past him.

    In the end, my connection took off an hour late anyway.

  11. I know things happen way beyond our control when traveling. Having said that, I always leave myself a longer layover intentionally and try as much as possible to never schedule the last flight of the day!
    This to me is no different than letting people get in checkin line because they don’t leave home in time!
    My airport is OKC, and I’ve never been more than 45min from parking to the gate, but I always give myself 2 hours.
    Bad planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on me!

  12. I haven’t had a tight connection in about 5 years. When I’m in that case, I plan ahead of time. I put on my coat. I gather all my things in one place, usually one personal item bag. My carry on remains overhead. When they announce it, I bolt almost as fast as if the plane were on fire (except I’d leave my bags in that case).

    When I bolt, I can usually get 6-8 rows ahead.

    I also cheat. If I think there’s a tight connection, I’ll put my bag 3 rows ahead.

    I usually found that if they make the announcement, that gives you about 3 seconds more time than if they didn’t. In that time, I can run 4-5 rows usually. If I can make it 8 rows, that saves 5 minutes.

  13. People are idiots and always get up as soon the plane gets to the gate. Whether they are in row 60 and won’t be able to get off until 10 minutes later or in row 20. It would be nice if everyone listened but it ain’t happening.

  14. Oh, what do I do if I don’t have a connection? I usually wait a few seconds then stand up in slow motion. That allows people who are bolting to pass but doesn’t allow the whole plane to go.

  15. I deal with those situations the same way I treat being forced sitting stuck in traffic: to me it’s like the weather, and there’s nothing I can do about the weather…

  16. You should sit when the announcement happens.

    The only time I’ve been in this situation was when I was flying DCA-MIA-BOG. I originally had a schedule with a long layover in Miami, but due to a long mechanical delay from DCA-MIA with the next flight to Miami full, I was forced on to a DC-Tampa-Miami-Bogota routing instead.

    The Tampa flight departed on time. However, for a reason that was undisclosed, we sat on the tarmac for nearly an hour after leaving the gate. I realized I would have trouble making my flight from Tampa to Miami, and then the last flight to Bogota of the day.

    The flight attendant did not make the “please let passengers with tight connections deplane first” announcement until after I asked her multiple times. After we landed, I loudly shamed and yelled at passengers ignoring the announcement and got them to sit down and let me deplane.

    It was Tampa, so most passengers were not connecting on AA, except for a few people on my original DCA-MIA flight who were also re-routed.

    I made the flight to Miami by five minutes. Letting the connecting passengers deplane first saved my trip. The other re-routed passengers thanked me for making a fuss.

  17. @jg Nitwit. There are plenty of perfectly valid reasons why someone isn’t able to get the right seat up front to avoid ass——s like you preventing them from getting off the plane.

  18. Only once has everyone actually stayed seated for me. In the back of the plane landed in LAX from ORD with a connection onto AKL had less than 30mins due to delays. A person actually stood up and a flight attendant told him to sit back down. Of course Virgin America and Air New Zealand didn’t fly out of the same terminal. Made my flight as they we calling my name for the last time over the PA.

  19. I’ve heard this announcement many times, but it never makes sense to me!
    Unless everyone with a tight connection is seated on an aisle the solution is, by definition- unworkable. The aisle passengers have to get up anyway, to let the right connections out, so the aisle becomes blocked automatically.
    Perhaps, on a delayed flight, before the seat belt sign goes on the the last time, an announcement could be made to swap seats.. but in reality, I don’t see many takers of that.
    I love it when a planes been sitting at an airport for hours, but United only find a technical issue as we’re ready to pull back. The flight’s delayed, but now WE’RE responsible for people making their connections. The Airlines should be more respectful of people’s time and try harder to get us where we’re supposed to be in schedule.

  20. My favorite examples of passengers pushing through the aisle for a tight connection:
    — when the plane lands 10 minutes early. What kind of connection did they book?
    — when they’ve gate checked their carry-on luggage on a regional jet. They’re going to have to wait 5 minutes for their bag haha
    — when I pass them on outside the gate because they’re staring at the monitors, unsure of their gate. Seems like something they could’ve done on their phone while taxiing.

  21. Too many of these tight connections are caused by the airlines. Tight connections. Mechanical issues. Inefficient boarding or turnaround times. If we are circling the airport because of weather I’m more sympathetic, but if flight attendants would actually ask people to be seated while a manageable amount of passengers come forward, that’s different.

  22. Hey @berisha Our friend Jack talked about how he almost missed his connection and then went to a bar with his new extra time. I’m supposed to let people go ahead of me so they can go to a bar?

    Disagreements aside, there is no need to use such rude language.

  23. If you have time to sit and wait, sit and wait. If you don’t, don’t. Regardless of who you think is or is not following the rules.

  24. Sorry, Ben, I’m not with you on this one. It doesn’t matter what anybody else’s behavior is. If I don’t have a tight connection my own, or another pressing need to get off a plane, I’ll wait an extra minute or three if there’s even a possibility that it might help someone else.

  25. I wish planes would board and deplane via 2 doors. And it isn’t just everyone getting up, there is inevitably people with too many bags and move at a snail pace and try to block the entire jetway. I’m usually a fast walker so even if I don’t have a connection I’m moving fast.

  26. If it is obvious there is going to be a late arrival the cabin manager should make an announcement WELL BEFORE landing asking for those with tight connections to identify themselves. Crew can then check with each to see if they in fact do and make a list.On landing keep the seat-belt sign on (mustn’t disobey crew instruction) and call BY NAME those already identified to make their way to the appropriate exit for immediate disembarkation. Make it clear there will be no general deboarding until those called have cleared. Too much to ask for in the US? Probably.

  27. Airlines should be allowed to coordinate information that would identify those flyers who book connections with less than the suggested minimum connecting time and proactively cancel their connecting flights.

  28. @JG

    People like you makes this world harder to live, I hope you are never on the same flight as @Larry Miller’ brother.

    @Alonzo

    You would think people are idiots and always get up as soon the plane gets to the gate.
    Obviously you’ve never been to India or China. These people are in the aisle before the plane even made it to the gate. (@JG you will lose out and still get beaten in India or China, lol)

  29. Odd that you say nobody listens. Every time I have been on a delayed flight I have found a fair number who do listen and give right of way. Not sure where you are sitting when such a situation occurs. If you are up front it might seem like you can never get out as the flow of passengers get going.

  30. It’d be 10x more helpful if the jetway driver was there when the aircraft arrives, than anything else. I can’t remember the last time the door has actually opened within a few minutes of chalking into the gate.

  31. I was on a plane this past year where they announced that six people had to make an international connection and everyone waited until they deplaned. They thanked people as they walked down the aisle. So civility ruled that day.

  32. Living in CLT I hear this on many, if not most flights. Usually this is after we have landed on 36R, taxied for an hour to D12, held short of the gate for twenty minutes while equipment is moved or the delayed flight already at the gate actually departs, and then waited for another ten minutes while the ill-trained gate agent takes five tries to dock the jetway correctly. When I am in first class especially in row one I will not wait because I would not delay anyone who had not managed to bolt up the aisle anyway. I’m tired of the airlines making their poor operations and execution my problem to solve and sometimes 5 minutes can make the difference between kissing my kids goodnight or missing them completely. Not a connection but also important to me. Like others have said, one can always pony up to get in the pointy end of the plane. The guy paying $83 for basic economy doesn’t get much of my sympathy, sorry. And when I’m in row 22 and don’t make the connection I certainly don’t hold it against my fellow passengers.

  33. @JG excatly I was’t plan to use the Lounge beacuse I had 20 minute connection but the Star Alliance Connection van (which was suppose to take me to the next plane or the terminal 2/2 Sattelite dependint on time) told me that I have 15 minutes for duty free or Lounge, and I did had 10 minutes for beer at Lufthansa Business Lounge before I had to gate and even waited for few minutes before there was Final Call because I don’t fancy to wait in jetway bridge :). If I would knew that before I would be 5 minutes longer in lounge. And then I took my 1C seat to MAD.

    And I still laught to that angry guy who was trying to lecture me on connection times :), it is my discretion if I use extra minutes for lounge anyway.

  34. Wait. Didn’t you just tell us about the incredibly short connection you purposely booked on this trip? Now you’re going to complain about other people being allowed to book short connections? I personally don’t quite understand why everyone jumps up as soon as the wheels hit the ground. Especially way in the back. I don’t recall hearing an announcement like this very often. But I wouldn’t mind waiting an extra couple of minutes to let people make a break for it

  35. @JG Karma woukd hit you one day trust me. And then you would remember the times when you did’t give the way to peopel need it to catch their connection, while watching your missed flight beint pushed back. Karma my friend, Karma.

    BTW I am wondering why would Lufthansa bothering sending me special bus to the plane if my connection was’t critical. Maybe because of Business Class onward ticket.

  36. Even if some of the people are lying and some of the people might not make the connection, just sitting for an extra 3-10 mins seems like a pretty easy thing to do. I’d want people to do it for me. I don’t see why it’s such a big deal.

  37. Reading these comments I can see that it’s not the weather or mechanics or distance to the connecting gate.
    No. It’s the self-loading cargo that’s the problem. Jesus, how about doing what your supposed to do and listen to the FA’s? ( You’re probably the same self-important types that must take your baggage with you down the emergency slide). ( Didn’t listen then either).
    Let the dishonesty be on the ones who have to be first off for a tight connection but in actuality don’t have one.
    Let the arrogant slob who won’t move because he’s a dick live with his behavior.
    Give that one honest person who actually does have that close connection the chance get off first.
    What’s the big deal?

  38. I’m confused how you end up being the last person off the plane. Do you just sit there thinking “wow, every single other person on this plane has a tight connection”?

    Can’t you just stay sitting down until the people who seem desperate to get off have gone, then get up? If you completely ignore it then you’re no better than everyone else doing that.

    In fact, I’d say the attitude of “wait, he’s benefitting from this, I must therefore also benefit – screw the others” is one of many reasons why the US is such an unpleasant country.

  39. Can’t remember which airline(s) now (somewhere in Asia Pacific), but I’ve seen cabin crew proactively find out which pax had tight connections then moved them up to empty seats near front of cabin exits just prior to final seatbelt warning and landing. It works very well. But I can’t see this being done in the U.S. It’s reliant on empty seating being available and of course the level of airline/regulatory strictness for being in your assigned seat. Other than that, I was very impressed with this method!

  40. Hooray for @Callum! Hit the nail on the head regarding the parlous state of the USA! If everyone thinks they are special, then no one is!

  41. The best way this is handled is for FA’s to ask those with tight connections to identify themselves by putting hands up as the plane is preparing to land. This marks who they are. Reinforcement when the plan lands that others wait a moment while they move quickly to the door. I have seen this done well and gets the job done. The rest of us are off the plane just ask quickly as we would have been.

  42. As a platinum elite, I deserve to get off the plane first. I couldn’t care less about people with connections.

  43. On a recent flight in Europe, I mentioned to the flight attendant that I only had 20 minutes to make my connection. She was polite and got back to me with a answer of – an announcement would be made if the airline thought anyone would miss their connection. So, since no announcement was made, i should make my connection.

    Of course, I missed the connection although I walked as fast as I could for what felt like a mile. I get to the gate, my flight was at the gate, door closed.

    Allowing passenger with short connection times to exit immediately would have been nice.

  44. In my experience, I found the Southwest FA’s are more forceful by repeating the request (including right before the door opened) and announcing the number of people who have short connection, and because of that, most people who were not in a hurry did sit. AA, on the other hand, only announced the request once or twice before the plane landed without any indication on how many people who had short connection. By the time to deplane, nobody seemed to remember.

    I personally would and have followed the request, and I certainly have had short connection and found people ignoring the request to be very selfish, regardless the reason for short connection. However, if I’m not in a hurry, I let people go first, always! Pay it forward!

  45. If you don’t need to rush to make a connection and you have the time, why not just be a little bit relaxed and groovy, and wait. Logically, the exception to this would be First Class due to the wider aisle, etc.

    Sometimes the only available flight involves a shorter than ideal connection. Just had that happen recently – not fun.

    If you happen to see a passenger struggling to get their bags out of the overhead bin – help them out, if you can…it would make deplaning much faster for everyone.

  46. It’s an easy choice for me. If there is a tight connection for some people and I’m not one of those I will wait until they can get by. Compassion and kindness are things we can all give freely, and if it helps another person, or is even an attempt at helping someone then why not try to make the world a better place?

  47. Since I live in an AA hub, I see this ALL the time. I’m usually in a MCE aisle, so I stay seated (unless someone in my row needs to go) and let about 10 rows of passengers with tight connections go by. Usually by then there is a lull in the de-planing as passengers wrestle with their carry-ons. At that point, I see no problem in going if no one else is.

    I definitely agree with you – it seems like a lot of folks don’t care about others’ connections and just go when it comes to their row. Waiting a few minutes is an easy courtesy and gets you some good connection karma for the future. 🙂

  48. This has happened to me several times and when it doesn’t work I’d say it’s mainly because FAs aren’t aggressive enough with their announcements. Once it was particularly effective because the FA announced for anyone not traveling on (specific flights to so-and-so destinations at so-and-so times) to please stay seated until the crew says they can get off, and they repeated this several times before the aircraft even got to the gate as well as after the seatbelt sign was turned off.

  49. Isn’t this article more than a little hypocritical given the one you wrote the other day about your very own short connections (which being on separate tickets aren’t really connections) so you’d want people to let you off the plane when it helps you.

    Can’t have it both ways.

  50. @John

    Moving passengers with tight connections further front regularly happens in Asia and Europe. It works a lot better than asking people to stay seated.

  51. SInce I was on Ben’s flight – maybe he is talking about me.
    But here is what I do.

    People on the aisle need to get up so those at the window can get up. The key thing for quick exit it to have you bag with you at the seat – so you can dart off.

    When I get up (being tall) – i pass around the bags to the people you can’t reach them.

    Since I was 2 rows ahead of Ben, I got the bag for the man at the window next to me (and others as well), then let him go ahead of me since he had a tight connection. But with my bag in hand — I would quickly dart off behind him. When there are gaps that means people are fetching their bags from the overhead.

    On a flight from SEA most people are connecting. I want off so I could try to get on an earlier flight which had 2 J or D seats left, and then stand by with my D class seat. But I did not make it. So waited for my scheduled flight.

    Again – if the people at the window need out and those in the aisle do not – then those in the aisle need to get up – and then they might as well fetch their bag and dart out with the others.

  52. I agree with you 100%. I fly primarily for UNITED, it seems they are working on their customer satisfaction and working with me if I do have delayed flights/connections. I wish there were more articles about etiquette because there are a lot of ppl that need to read about it.

  53. So I’m one to stay seated unless I am the one with a tight connection. What does it hurt? It’s not like there’s a person handing out cash in the lounge and if I don’t get there 5 min earlier then I’m going to loose out.
    HAVING SAID THAT…. I flew into DEN this week on a flight that arrived 30 min EARLY, and the FA made the announcement. “ I know we’re arriving early, but some people may have tight connections so please remain seated if….”
    That’s when I say no go to following the request.

  54. It’s crazy to me that this is even a debate. Don’t be a jerk. Stay in your seta and let people off the plane. I hate how our world haas become a place where people question event the most basic courtesies and just being thoughtful to one another (they could buy a seat up front? really?)

  55. I work for state government and have no control over booking my flights when traveling for my job. Last February, I had a tight connection and the AA attendant made an announcement requesting that I be allowed off first. I hustled off the plane first and alone to cheers of “You go, girl!” and “You got this!” from my fellow passengers. Made my day AND I made my next flight, although I admit my only thought racing down the aisle was “Please don’t trip…please don’t trip…”

  56. People don’t comply because it’s not their problem. It’s the collective airlines’ problem. They are responsible and should stop passing the buck.

  57. A flight attendant’s perspective:

    I’m an Australian flight attendant and from time to time we’ll ask people with specific connections to be let off the aircraft first, this never really seems to be a problem. I honestly tend to think that Australians are generally more courteous (or less ignorant?) than Americans in this regard.
    The same goes for people standing up before the seat-belt sign goes off. This will happen occasionally on our flights in Australia, whereas I’ve found when travelling in the US most of the aircraft is standing up before the seat-belt sign turns off.
    So in-part it seems like it may be a cultural issue as well as an issue with the way US airlines are run (due to scheduling).

    My advice: just do the right thing. Just because everyone else is doing the wrong thing (intentionally or not) it doesn’t mean that you need to as well. I’m a flight attendant so I have a lot of patience for people who don’t understand air travel, make sure you bring your patience with you when you travel.

  58. Soooo we received a memo shortly before the holiday season to refrain from making such announcements.

    Personally, I will leave the ball in the customers’ court. I will ask those connecting to flights departing between XXhXX to XXhXX to raise their hands to identify themselves and ask everyone to look around at those with their hands raised. I will ask that those terminating or with time, give way.

    At that point, it’s out of my hands and passed to you guys

  59. This happened to me once on a flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco on United. The flight attendant asked that ALL passengers stayed seated so ONE girl sitting in the very back of the plane could deplane first because she “had a connection” so when the door opened everyone had to stay seated for this one girl to walked down the aisle and leave the plane and several other passengers made comments about how them too had connections to make. I myself had a connecting flight as well and had 45 minutes before departure.

  60. Comments from those like JG “ Nothing is stopping that same person who booked a 45 minute connection from paying the extra money for a main cabin extra or even preferred seat. For that reason, I refuse to stay seated.” exacerbate my issues with our society. Everyone largely assumes its the fault of traveler for lack of foresight and planning. It is narcissistic to presume others lack planning and you are more important than everyone else. My wife recently missed a connection because of a very late departure through no fault of her own. A passenger had a medical emergency on the previous flight for which my wife was awaiting to board at her terminal. The inbound flight had already been delayed leaving before the medical emergency occurred. The combination caused my wife to arrive at her connection over two hours late. There was still enough time to make her connection if an announcement were made and if passengers didn’t all disregard the request as JG does. My wife did make a request for this announcement in hopes of catching her flight (the last remaining flight to the destination), but the flight attendant stated they do not accommodate those requests. Unfortunately, being seated near the back of the plane, she missed her connection. FYI, many airlines no longer have counter representatives or concierge so we were scrambling to make an adjustment to her itinerary online using airport terminal wi-fi. Why must some people always think that they are more important than anyone else?

  61. I once almost missed my connection at MUC just because I couldn’t get out of my seat. I was seated in the last row of business class in an LH A320 who arrived with an hour delay. Many passengers had tight connections including myself. Even before the seatbelt signed was turned off economy passengers stared to rush by the door. Because of that flow of passengers I wasn’t able to retrieve my bag out of the overhead bin so I had to wait till nearly half of the passengers had deplaned before I could rush to my connecting flight…

  62. Almost every other airline (here in Europe) I have experienced, will have a van ready to ferry passengers directly to the connecting plane if the connection is very tight, but they can make it.
    I am unsure why this is not an option here (cost saving?).

  63. @JG, you must have been the guy I had to shove to pass because he refused to allow mw to move and. make my connection into a long haul flight. Sorry, buddy, but if you are going to cost me a 24+ hour delay you’d better get out of my way after I ask 3 times politely. Oops.

  64. I fly from BDL to LIH often using my frequent flyer miles on AA. I dont have many options in booking. I find that the connection times are extremely short or extremely long. I’d much rather have a long connection time. I find that I usually have less than 45 minutes to get to my connection which is just about impossible in Dallas or similar airport. If I miss my flight I may not get another until the next day.

  65. I don’t mind waiting because I would like to think someone would do the same for me (in an ideal world). One thing that really bugs me when I fly is when the flight attendant says wait until the plane comes to a standstill and the seatbelt sign goes out before undoing your seatbelt. Nobody listens to that so many people undo their seatbelt before then for a quick getaway. They are not really going to get out the plane any quicker. These instructions are for our safety.

  66. Was on a Qantas domestic flight that was nearly 2 hours late. Number of people including me had tight international connections as a result of the domestic flight. The flight attendant asked everyone who did not have a connection to remain seated – I was shocked as people did. That is where it ended though. At Brisbane you have to exit the terminal and take a bus to international. There was literally no help to ensure we got to the international terminal on time. Once in the international terminal it was a long queue. I fly a lot for work and pleasure so thought bad luck I am going to ask to go to the front of the queue – fortunately they let me – so I dragged along everyone else who had the same issue. We all literally had to run to the flight as they were calling final boarding. Ironically we then had a delay of 3 hours as Qantas put the wrong amount of fuel in the plane – too much to land safely.

  67. I understand your cynicism but over the years I have seen many people listen to this announcement, and others, as a result, have made connections. But couldn’t Flight Attendants better manage this process? Like calling out the 5-8 passengers who really could benefit from others delaying exit?

  68. Pretty often, at least with American, the connecting flight will be delayed too, and updated departure times won’t have posted yet. So even if you know you “missed” your connecting flight, maybe you didn’t. Also, gate information changes all the time as their endless rolling delays cause constant gate changes. It is hard to know the accuracy of the information you check on your phone on landing – who has a close connection, who has missed one, and who actually has a longer connection than they thought. How many times have I sat in a gate area waiting to board a plane whose currently posted departure time has already passed? AA’s unreliability results in people acting on incomplete and inaccurate information, and the resultant deplaning inefficiencies are a rational reaction to it by the traveling public.

  69. Hi everyone – I’ve had the opposite experience happen to me (not that I was bitter or anything – but just wanted to post an alternate situation). United held our flight to wait for connecting passengers in IAD. In fact, we actually left the gate and came back to get the connecting passengers (I know! this has never happened to me before). As a result, our flight was delayed by about 1.5 hours. We had a solid 4 hours connection planned but barely made our connection flight (Lufthansa) at Frankfurt, because of further delays during the flight (weather related). We would have surely made the connection without issues if we hadn’t gone back to the gate to wait for the other passengers.

    Given that there is only one flight every day from FRA to MAA, missing it would have meant a 24 hour wait at FRA. We were glad to get to our connection (our bags obviously didn’t :-)).

    To answer the question in the post, I will surely wait for the connecting passengers to deplane.

  70. AA makes this request so often, it’s becoming part of the regular arrival banter for flight attendants as the aircraft taxis to the gate. It’s a clever strategy. When the short connection misses his flight because of D0 he will attribute the fault not only to the fact that his inbound was late, but also to the fact that “nobody would let me off the plane.” It’s a clever way for AA to deflect some passenger anger to something they can’t control, when in fact they did absolutely nothing to help the passenger make his connection other than make the announcement. I can hear the AA gate agent now: “Yes, people are so rude these days. Let me see what we can get you on tomorrow.”

  71. I travel a lot by plane and have learnt to stay seated till nearly the end if I don’t have a connection because it is actually more pleasant being seated than standing impatiently at the carousel waiting for your bags to appear. I find this keeps me relaxed and and in a good mood for immigration & customs.
    If I have a connection to make I usually give myself ample time to make it (usually a couple of hours or more) so I can not have to panic during transit time.

  72. @DaveS

    Yes, one good thing coming out of AA misery is your connection is likely delayed too, so even with tight connection you should still try.

    Delta on the other hand are crazy about on time departure and happen to be good at it too.

    After many misconnect from delays I stop trying to run and just wait for the next flight. If they keep selling me 30 connection in ATL and never sending the Porsche anymore, I wouldn’t try to make my flight either. Part of the problem is all these unrealistic minimum connection time. To make things worse, because Delta is so crazy about departure time I’ve seen so many people got offloaded even they made it to the gate before the cutoff time. I often standby for an earlier flight and once got pulled out for the guy who made it. Too bad DL (sad but correctly) didn’t see this as IDB but did compromise as VDB and gave me some vouchers.

  73. Common sense and common courtesy are at a new low.
    Announcements are nothing more than suggestions that no one listens to because they don’t apply to you , just like rules .
    If you don’t like them , ignore them. Or whine about it.
    Once that plane is on the ground , it’s every man for himself .
    People want OFF and that’s the bottom line . Just get out of the way and don’t hold up the line . No one else cares.

  74. The issue is all the junk people bring into the cabin. Boarding and unboarding takes too long, not to even mention the idiots who will not sit immediately but keep standing and those who open the bin every minute.
    Unboarding is an equal madhouse with some people blocking the exits while fiddling with their 6 bags.
    So no need to wait as long as people bring all the junk they have into the cabin.

    Airlines should force people to check in and only allow one small bag into the cabin.
    It would save 10-15 mts in boarding and unboarding time.

  75. My opinion is that, in any matter, if one decides to extend a gesture of good will, then it really doesn’t matter if there are others taking advantage of situation.
    It’s nice to feel a good deed done is just as simple as that. Feel good. Not over analyze the negatives.

  76. It is always nice to help someone in need but I had a recent experience with this that left me disgusted. I now feel that flight attendants need to verify tight connections before they make an entire plane wait so that certain passengers can get off first. I also don’t feel these requests should be made when a flight is on time.

    On Jan. 2 I witnessed a mom and her two teenage daughters board a flight in JFK bound for CLT. I point out the familial relationship because I find it incredibly sad that a parent would be such a poor example to their children. As soon as the mom boarded the plane she made a spectle of herself to the flight attendants, we were seated in the first row so I could hear every word. She was nasty to them and I can’t believe they would want to try to help her given her behavior. Her story was that they were connecting on different airlines and only had 1hr 10min to collect their luggage, re-check it and get back through security. She demanded to be let off the plane first as they were seated near the back. FYI- This flight was not late. As she told this story it was clear to me that things were not adding up. She did not provide important details such as where they were headed and what airline they were connecting to. If she indeed booked separate tickets with that tight of a layover and checked luggage then frankly she deserved to miss the next flight. Charlotte is our home airport and we have never had our luggage take less than 30 minutes to arrive at baggage claim when flying AA into CLT. Most of the time, as it was on this occasion, it is 40min. to an hour. Her baggage would need to be re-checked in at least 45 minutes prior to her next flight so frankly if her story was true this was indeed a near impossible feat.

    Here’s the thing, if she really did have to pick up her luggage then allowing her off the plane first would do absolutely no good. She would still have to wait with everyone else for the luggage to come out. There also weren’t many more flights out that late at night so not believing her story I pulled out my phone and attempted to find a flight on a different airline that left around 1hr 10min after our flight arrived that fit the details she provided and I couldn’t find one.

    The flight attendants gave into this woman and indeed asked the entire plane to stay seated so that her and her daughters could de-board first. People kindly honored this request. To no surprise to me, this woman met her husband down at baggage claim and walked straight out of the airport. All I can say is that I hope this liar never actually finds herself in a situation where she really does need help making her connection. I simply can’t believe that someone would make up such a story and be so nasty in order to get off the plane first. This level of entitlement is disgusting.

    So while I commend flight attendants for trying to help when they can, I think they need to be very careful to only make this request when they know it can actually help people make their tight connections. In the situation I’ve just shared, they should have requested flight information from the passenger.

  77. KL connection TLV-AMS a couple of years ago, the FA moved all of those with tight connections (we were about 60 mins late) move to the front of a 75% full flight. Very effective solution for all of the idiots mentioned above.

  78. Ben, I know you fly a lot, and those minutes add up, but in all honesty, what are those 5 minutes really worth to you if you are not on a tight schedule? It’s not going to ruin my day letting a few people by me, and whether they have a tight connection or not, I can have a clear conscience knowing I did the right thing trying to help others. (On a side note, you almost always fly first an business, so aren’t you at the very front of the plane most of the time anyways? So even if you let a couple people pass, aren’t you still going to be one of the first off?)

  79. All of the passengers pulling down carry ons from the overhead are a big annoyance. And it often looks like luggage that should have been checked in the first place.
    Those without carry ons should be allowed off first.

  80. Thanks for your comment Brooke. Unfortunately, there will always be people that take advantage of others as this woman did on that occasion. It is frustrating to be taken advantage of by another thoughtless individual. I agree with others that airlines could improve many processes such as reducing carry on baggage to help stay on schedule, and verifying connection flight information for those that request priority to deplane. If the flight attendant can announce the specific passengers and seat numbers to deplane first upon arrival (upon verification of imminent connection) that would be even better. The point I was making in my post was that we just don’t know the circumstances of the other passenger. Certainly everyone on my wife’s flight already had known arrival was 2 hours late for everyone on board. The person we might prevent from making a connecting flight might just be someone’s final opportunity to see a loved one pass away due to illness or other situation that most people would gladly remain seated to give this individual a better opportunity to make his or her connection.

  81. The biggest problem is that people bring waaaaaaaaay too much crap into the plane. Seriously, it takes forever for people to get very heavy carry ons from overhead bins, bags, more bags and more bags. If people would just travel light and bring what is allowed in and out of the plane would be so much faster. It amazes me those passengers that wait at the gate area for a long time before boarding the plane but once they get to their seat they have to take everything from their bags, set down, get up again, set again, et up again, etc… It is a nightmare!!! Why don’t people just get their a.s down and sit quiet while others are getting into their seats? Same on the way out. Stand up, grab your stuff and leave. No, it takes forever because they always bring more than they can carry comfortably.

  82. It astonishes me how so many people here assume everyone’s either traveling First/Business, or otherwise has the money to sit up front every single time. Seriously? A reminder to those who might have forgotten this:

    1. Not everyone travels on company paid tickets
    2. Not everyone has top-tier status with airlines to get “free” upgrades up front
    3. For many travel is still a luxury, and might be flying on the cheapest ticket they could afford
    4. Many times, travelers just aren’t aware how “short” a connection is OK

    Obviously I’m not saying to let others take gross advantage, but it doesn’t cost anyone anything to avoid assuming shit about others. Many of you have figured flying inside out, but there are many others for whom it’s still a big deal.

  83. I must’ve been on a plane full of good Samaritans as I was flying from Mumbai to Bangkok. I had a ridiculously tight connection at Bangkok for a flight to Manila, the flight attendants made an announcement and only a couple of people stood up to get off. It was like something out of a film as I sprinted off that plane and made my connection by the skin of my teeth.

  84. The FA’s could make the announcement before landing, saying if you have a tight connection, turn on your call light and have your boarding pass ready for us to see when we get to your seat. Surely it wouldn’t be too many (most of the time). Then tell, not ask, everyone to let them out first. It is not rocket science.

  85. If I am near the front, which is nearly always, I will wait until a logjam behind me to get up and disembark. As long as it doesn’t hinder a seat mate.

  86. Reading these I am not surprised. While it’s true people should plan better, some people do not fly often if at all. They may not know to leave an hour or two between connecting flights. What I see is selfish people in this ” it’s all about ME ” society saying they really don’t care about anybody but themseves!!!

  87. This has happened multiple times on flights I’ve been on and more often than not people do in fact let others go ahead of them, so a blanket “no one listens” is not true. I would say 80% of the time people have listened and followed instructions. Of course, I live in the Midwest – maybe that’s part of it? I have been on both sides of this, and am infinitely grateful to have the ability to make a connection that went from comfortable to too-tight to almost missed it.

  88. I had a tight connection. I was in the back of the plane because I had just booked the flight. My mother was dying. I was flying back East to be at her deathbed. I could not find a non-stop to a New York. I’ll always be grateful to those passengers in Boston who stayed seated so that I could make my connecting flight.

  89. I am one of those that will let those pass. It might slow me by a few minutes. We have no idea what their situation is. We need to show each other more kindness. As for comments about paying more for better connections, or better seats, sometimes that’s not possible. One thing that will help is to charge for carryon bags and let the first bag get checked for free. Or at least enforce the carry on rules

  90. I will happily give a few extra minutes of time to my fellow passengers. I would say shame on them for booking such a tight connection, but with the rather pathetic operation of some airlines (ahem, AA), I’m happy to stay seated.

    It saddens me that so many do not. Losing faith in humanity at this point. Even if I’m the last one off the plane, I’d rather do the right thing.

  91. Another thing that bugs me is all the people in wheel chairs. They get on first and they should get off last!! it’s a mess in the tunnel full of wheel chairs and their familys in the way no one can deplane….. sSomeone is going to get hurt and its going to be the airlines fault.

  92. I have a very easy solution to this: I am not in a hurry. I usually book at least 2.5 hour connections just to be able to relax between flights in a lounge and get in the mood for the next plane with a few gin/tonics, or proseccos. So if it gets time to deplane, I am often last. I don’t like to rush, or feel all that frantic panic energy around me. I just sit there and observe the herd behavior.

  93. I just recently made this announcement in a 321 landing late Into DFW with connections to Asia. Some of the passengers made comments to me later that they were amazed that my announcement worked and wished flight attendants would do it more often on late arriving flights. Shortly after this a memo came out telling us not to make this announcement. We set people up to fail with 30 min connections 15 min to get off the plane from the back of a 321 and the door closing 10 min early on the other end, ultimately giving you 5 min to get to your plane. Maybe if executive compensation wasn’t tied to on time performance, things would change

  94. It’s not that complicated. If you are not in a hurry, and if you actually listen to the announcement, and if you are willing to be helpful to others, stay seated to let other get of the plane before you. It may not help everyone, and many people may *not listen to the announcement/*choose not to be helpful/*decide to take advantage of the situation, but the right thing to do is to allow others to get of the plane before you. Plain and simple. Nobody should struggle with that part. The part about people not listening or not being helpful, that’s a problem, but that’s a problem that is going to exist whether the “remain seated” approach is used or not.

  95. I was on a southwest flight to Houston a couple of months ago, that got to Houston a bit late. There was a large group of very happy (aka LOUD) LA Raiders fans on this flight in the first few rows. When we landed, the FA’s announced there were people in the back of the plane who had tight connections, and she asked us to stay seated. Without missing a beat, one of the Raider fans inquired “ARE THEY RAIDER FANS??????????”. About 15 seconds later, the FA in the back of the plane got on the PA system and announced that she had personally confirmed that the two passengers were indeed Raiders fans. Needless to say, we didn’t just all stay seated, but the two passengers were applauded and cheered as they broke for their run across Houston Hobby….

  96. I’m so glad dipshits like JG are the minority in cases like this. Then again there’s also people like me that believe in vigilante justice lurking. A simple “huh” while swinging my backpack around is the typically start. Bonus points if they have their phone in their hand and you’re able to bump it free. Followed by a confused, innocent being sure to look around obliviously. By this time typically I’m far enough ahead and pushed past the blockers that I can hear their, shock, anger etc or a “hey!” trail off without ever looking back. I’m sure I’ve broken some screens but have never stuck around to confirm lol.

    This also works great on people who stop at the top of escalators and/or block doorways.

  97. I suppose @dana gets annoyed that families with young kids get to go before her too. The reason wheelchair pax and some families get to pre-board is because they take longer to get into their seats. So they will not be knocked flying when the likes of you charge on with four carry-ons.
    The vast majority of wheelchair passengers are taken to the aircraft door and are able to make their way to their seats unaided, or with a little assistance.
    I can assure you that they would happily swap places with you (with a major attitude adjustment of course) any time!
    There but by the grace of god go I, might be a handy saying for you to pack for your travels.

  98. Totally OK with waiting for connecting passengers to deplane first in the circumstance of a late arrival. However, with CLT as my home airport, it gets a little old hearing this ask every single AA flight even when we are at gate on time or even early! Shows exactly how tight AA schedules their banks and focuses on D0. I have no sympathy for that.

    I go out of my way to fly Delta these days.

  99. I agree with your comments about the fact that nobody listens. This makes it demoting for those of us who are doing the right thing. I’m not trying to sound like I’m in school days and need a reward for doing what I should, but I lose out as a result of people not doing what they should. I also agree that airlines are at fault for providing super short connects especially when arriving internationally. For example, from time to time, I will connect from an international destination in Atlanta and always allow at least 2 hours or more because of collecting bags, clearing customs, etc. Some people just don’t think it out. In Atlanta, one hour domestically would be a stretch! Others I think are trying to “milk the system” – they may purposely book a tight connection because of possible benefits for missing the flight. In some cases if there is only one flight out a day, the connection time may not be a choice. I can’t believe that so many people are as naïve as they act!

  100. Last week on a BCN to EWR flight we arrived at gate 20 minutes early. A woman rushed the front trying to use the connection excuse. That is why it just doesn’t work. We no longer respect honesty.

  101. Just so happens today on my Cathay Pacific flight we were an hour delayed on a mechanical. With 30 min left in the flight the FAs reseated a number of Economy passengers into the business cabin so they could get off first. A rather proactive and commendable solution

  102. The Sherrif…and that’s why I avoid economy like the plague, because obnoxious rude people like you back there are a definite plague on this planet. I just hang out relaxed in my comfy seat, and wait until all of you are gone, far far away.

  103. The first couple of times I waited. When I saw people with short connections unprepared expecting for others to stand down forever and the fact that no one seems to care I stopped waiting. Now I just get up with my row and exit.

  104. Solution: stop flying AA. Start flying DL – if the flights are on time, no reason for these announcements in the first place. I honestly can’t think of last time I heard that announcement – but 2019 was mostly DL, AS, and NH metal.

  105. @Rich “I wish planes would board and deplane via 2 doors. And it isn’t just everyone getting up, there is inevitably people with too many bags and move at a snail pace and try to block the entire jetway. I’m usually a fast walker so even if I don’t have a connection I’m moving fast.”

    Ummmm…most large planes do use 2 doors / 2 separate jetwways – the A380 even more than that. I love the feelng of the First/Biz jetway to Door L1.

    @mauipeter AMEN!

    @JG – don’t let the haters get you down – you’re absolutely right – nothing prevents people from booking a reasonable connection, getting a seat up front whether in J, F or premium Y, etc. No excuses in the information age. And therefore, in 95% of the cases, I am with you. Now, if the original flight really is severely delayed (hours, not minutes), then sure, I’ll wait for folks with connections to deplane first.

  106. I was on a flight once a while back and we were transporting a deceased military member’s casket in the body of the plane. The captain and announced very loud and clear that this was happening and please stay seated so the deceased can be the first one off the plane and he (the captain) would announce when that was done.

    The handful of oblivious passengers who attempted to stand were quickly pulled back into their seat by surrounding passengers. I’ve never seen an entire aircraft follow that rule so hard before.

    So, yea, announcements do work. Fact. It’s just how much we as people want to respect them.

  107. I was on AA a month ago and this happened. Overall, people on the plane were pretty courteous and it seemed like it worked out. I was actually pretty impressed. But I think this is the exception rather than the norm…

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