This has been on my mind for a while, but recently on a flight from DFW to MSP I realized how much it bothers me when passengers hold up the line of passengers trying to leave the airplane while they collect their baggage from the overhead bins, I think the process of deplaning can go much quicker if passengers wait a few moments to grab their bags.
On a flight from DFW to MSP a lady and her two children (around 4 years old) boarded the plane with more carry on baggage than I have ever seen in my life. Each child had their own backpack and the mother had two bags of her own. One of the mothers’ bags was overflowing with a large toy still in the box. Since they were nearly the last people to board, overhead bin space was very tight at this point. As everyone got situated the mom stuffed the two backpacks in two separate spaces, her carry on in a separate location, and lastly the large toy box was stuffed in the remaining first class overhead bin space.
All of this is perfectly acceptable and I can’t imagine the stress that comes from traveling alone with two young children. Also, they were two of the most well behaved kids I have ever seen on a flight! I sat in their row and had zero complaints for the entire flight… but then, when we landed, the trouble began.
Once the row of people in front of us were out of the way the mom stood up and blocked the aisle. She was scrambling to grab all of their bags, load the coloring books back into the children’s backpacks, and grab that toy from the first class overhead bin (we were in Row 8 on an AA E175). The whole process seemed extremely stressful, and again I sympathize with the mom in this situation, but took nearly a full minute (which often seems like an hour if you are held up trying to deplane to make your next flight). I also especially feel bad in this situation because after about 45 seconds, audible groans from waiting passengers began which obviously did not help.
Often the moment the plane is stopped at the gate, passengers will immediately stand up and gather their bags. I think the whole process would be much smoother if passengers who do not have their bags out of the bin would let those who are immediately ready to deplane go by and wait for a gap in the process to grab their bag(s).
I ultimately do not know if this woman and her kids were pressed for time etc., but I wonder had they waited just 20 seconds or so to let a few passengers go past before collecting their belongings if the process would have been much smoother and less stressful to everyone involved.
I understand the desire to get off the plane immediately, but with overhead bins near capacity on almost every flight these days, the deplaning process has become extremely slow. I am not suggesting passengers with overhead bags wait to be the last people off of the plane, but I think it is important to be mindful of passengers behind you to see if they are ready to pass when the aisle becomes clear.
Also, I want to be clear, the mother and her children only brought the issue to my attention recently enough for this to become a topic for this post. I ultimately have no issues with her actions. Since I myself do not yet travel with children I cannot begin to understand how stressful it can be, especially when traveling alone.