Whether you are in a rush to catch a connecting flight, tired at the end of a long journey, or just eager to get off the plane to wait for your next connection, everyone dislikes the chaos of deplaning.
Much discussion, planning, as well as the implementation of innovative procedures have surrounded the efficiency and speed of boarding a plane, evacuating a plane in an emergency. On the other hand very little time seems to have been spent on coordinating properly clearing out a plane after every flight. This seems like a major oversight as its in everyone’s best interest to get passengers quickly and efficiently off a plane just as much as it is to get them on the plane.
Most passengers seem to default to just standing up, moving into the aisle, waiting until people in front of them have left, grabbing their bag, and then exiting. This means that everyone has to wait for all the rows in front of them to clear to be able to move. Deplaning, just as with boarding a plane, is slower when done in consecutive rows.
The simplest way of improving deplaning would be to require passengers to stay in their aisle until they have all their luggage ready to leave the plane. Those that have access to their carry-on luggage and are ready to leave can then do so as soon as the seatbelt sign is turned off. Those that still need to pack up their belongings and retrieve heavy items from the overhead bins can then do so from the aisle seat in their row. Standing in this seats area allows access to the overhead bins without obstructing people from passing along the aisle. This also means at least one person in nearly every row can get ready to leave at the same time, leave the aisle free for others, and still be able to get get out when they are ready.
Using this strategy also allows those who need to get off promptly to do so even when seated at the back of the plane. Those passengers who have more complicated luggage arrangements can wait until there is more room to maneuver around when others have already left.
The efficient deplaning of passengers is often overlooked in importance and as a possible area for improved operational efficiency. It would be prudent for airlines to consider implementing similarly stringent deplaning procedures for the sake of speeding passenger departure and turn around for the aircraft.