Without fail, it happens: The plane pulls into the gate, the seat-belt sign turns off, a little "ding" sounds throughout the cabin, and a category of people I will never, ever understand rush to stand up in the aisle. Meanwhile, I continue to sit — maybe pack up my book, grab a piece of gum, check my phone. Because then, of course, everyone just stands there for 10 minutes while the flight attendants open doors and coordinate gate-checked items and, I don't know, do other flight attendant things. But thank GOODNESS you've snagged your place in the aisle, Bill in row 32, because who knows what insanity might ensue if you sat in your seat and Donna from row 33 squeezed ahead.
You guys, what is the deal? Why, why do people insist on jumping out of their seats like all the passengers have quietly agreed that we're playing the hot-lava game on the playground, and the only safe space is the aisle? Why is there always a Bill in row 32 making sure he's first out of his seat? And not just one of him, but like, 15?
I understand that most people are just trying to be efficient, sliding into the aisle so they can open the overhead bin and grab their luggage. It's fine to do that! Maybe you're just trying to be kind and quick for fellow passengers' sake! We all have places to go, people to see, and legs to stretch. But, ma'am, do you really need to have your hands on your seat belt just waiting for the very second you hear that "ding" so that you can jump up and get the process going? Probably not. If you've stored your bag a few rows back, by all means, let the man or woman standing beside your bag know. Just slow down and allow them to carefully pass your bag forward. This isn't a race, and we're all literally just sitting here anyway.
Why is there always a Bill in row 32 making sure he's first out of his seat?
I tried to be a Bill once. Just for kicks, I was sitting in an aisle seat and I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Maybe there was some secret perk that comes from being the first to stand up. Maybe I'd enjoy the bird's-eye view of the tops of my fellow passengers' heads. But alas, I did not, and dear reader, there are no perks. Did I perhaps save myself .5 seconds in beating the man across the aisle to standing? Sure, I guess. Did I look like a bit of a spaz doing it? Yep.
So here's my plea, people: Let's all just relax. Let's stay seated, take a deep breath as the plane pulls into the gate, feel grateful that we got there safely, scroll through Instagram, laugh at the flight attendant's silly joke about whatever city we've just arrived in, and then, after those ahead of us have stood and exited the plane, let's finally — it's officially your turn! — stand and do the same.