The Rush to Exit


Landing and Standing!

Anybody who has traveled in India or even globally by air is likely to be a witness or may be even a part of mad rush of travelers to get off the plane as soon as the plane touched the ground. There is an unmistakable cacophony of continuous clack-clack sounds of unbuckling of seat belts and the passenger stand up, as if there is an emergency. While they would have been sitting decently for last 2 hours, they suddenly behave as if they were kept hostages in the flight. All most everybody wants to be the ‘first’, to exit as if they will lose the most precious time and opportunity of  their life otherwise. It is also interesting to note that all of these in-to-much-hurry-passengers would be actually standing to exit as the plane would take time to taxi and some more time to pair with a ladder or an aero-bridge. Loaded with their cabin luggage, they would wait as restlessly as a man would wait when his wife is inside the operation theater before delivery of their first child!. This phenomena is also not limited to Indians. You can see this mad rush or stampede in all parts of the world.

All Exiting

All Exiting

I have been in few similar situations. In fact it becomes very irresistible not to join this mad rush as everybody else seems to be doing that. This may be a subject matter of deeper study that why do people rush to get out of a plane which has anyway landed and any rush to get out first is not going to practically save much of your precious time. After all where what are you going to do after this stampede? Is there a trophy for for coming first? Did you have a meeting with the Prime Minister and you don’t want to miss this once in lifetime opportunity?.

Usually these are not the reasons. So out of my travel experiences, I have tried to list out below, few possible reasons of this mad rush to come out of an plane which might have just landed. A prominent periodical, ‘Psychology today’ recently published an article on flyers’ rush to exit. My list of probables reasons though includes few of them, but is primarily based on my own experiences and my take on our sociological milieu.

1. That they might have Agoraphobia or fear of flying. After travelling for hours at a speed of 600 miles per hours and reaching at an altitude of 35000 feet(10000 feet above the mount Everest), they feel scared and want to quit as  soon as possible. The safety demonstrations at the start of the journey if taken literally and seriously, can also generate a deep wish to rush out and place your feet firmly on earth, at the first opportunity.

Agarophobia Stricken!

Agarophobia Stricken!

2. Sitting in a plain with limited opportunities for going to loo, can be a real pressure to exit fast. The increase in diabetes due to over all sedentary life styles, also means more urges to visit the loo. But as soon as the plane is airborne, selling of food and the merchandises by air-hostess starts, and if you leave a seat to visit a loo in that period, you will not only get a good stare from her but may get admonished as well. Who wants to be embarrassed by a good looking 22 something girl when 300 more may be looking at you?. Gone are the days when passengers were talked to only politely. So many passengers are scared to visit a loo, else the wrath of the air hostess may be too much to handle. In fact with stress on safety, any tiff may with flight personnel may land you in the stinky loos of a jail instead of those of a plane. Therefore the passengers want to rush out of the plane to the loos of the arrival lounge asap.

3. The cabin baggage of passengers, particularly in India may include the pickles, the sweets and fruits. The flights from Lucknow in the summers are loaded with mangoes, while those from Nagpur may be laden with Oranges and those from Hyderabad may be loaded with Hyderabadi Biryani. These all are the precious(?) and soft luggage and therefore the holders of them want to secure these things quickly from over head cabin baggage holders, before any body else may spill or spoil them. They stand up to secure them and once they start doing that, everybody else too starts picking up his or her luggage and then, they all stand up waiting to exit. In fact, if a passenger does not have any checked in baggage and had only cabin baggage, he wants to fast track his exit even more so as to leave the airport earlier than those who would pick their luggage from the baggage belts.



4. The seat space of an economy class seat is limited one and the journey experience for many may not be as enjoyable. Therefore they want to rush out as soon as possible from that scary limited space. If the passenger in front of you is keen to recline his seat backward to feel ‘not there’ pleasure of a first class passenger, you will find his whole body too close to you and your breath may be knocking at the top of his seat. It would be a really cramped experience. In this situation few would wait as a gentleman, sitting with 300 other passengers for gates to open. While all may not be suffering from claustrophobia, standing in last 10 minutes seems to be less complicated therefore, than sitting on those cramped seats.

5. The luggage conveyor belt area of the arrival lounge also plays a role in the hurried approach of the many passengers. The passengers want to get hold of trolleys quickly and then want to pick their luggage from soon to be overcrowded conveyor belts. Many a passengers take possession of the conveyor belt areas with elbows out and you can not see your own luggage standing behind them, unless you have the heights of Big B to help you out.

Baggage Crowds

Baggage Crowds

6. The desire to exit the plane as soon as possible is sometimes, in proportion to the number of co-passengers you got. If you had got a snoring passenger or passengers with small kids, you may think of no other relief except getting out of the plain as quickly as possible. Also sometimes, you get passengers who talk incessantly from take off to landing and you feel like running to save your already pressurized ears. Its after all a basic human instinct to protect his body!.

Co Passengers

Co Passengers!

7. One may want to go out of the plane quickly to smoke too. For tobacco users a long flight can hardly be an enjoyment with smoke detectors in lavatory and all they feel chained and want to assert their liberty by exiting fast and lighting a cigarette just as they exit the airport area.

Sign in a Airplane

No Smoking


8. One may be interested to exit from the plane and buy some food out of the airport. Who will want to spend 700 rs inside plane for a pair of sandwiches and a cold drink. Getting hungry naturally, the travelers just wait to land and may rush to shops away from airport to buy a full meal at half the prices.

9. Many a times at smaller airports in particular when the plane is full and you exit late after landing you may find that the bus to carry you to arrival lounge is already full and you may need to wait even more before you will be boarding a bus.

Going Nowhere!

Going Nowhere!

So the possible reasons of exiting may be any or few or may be all of the above to rush to exit and its difficult to pass a value judgment on those who dos this but may be we need to pause a bit and think about it. You may chose your own reason to do so and if any possible reason is left out, please write back to me. It may enlighten us all.

One thought on “The Rush to Exit

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