Rachel Lees: Ground rules for arrival

Rachel Lees has tips for exiting the plane and getting away from the airport.

Despite the enthusiasm with which travellers board the plane, after a long-haul flight everyone has one collective thought: “Get me off this thing!”

There has never been a better time to travel than right now. New flight routes seem to open up every other week, and air tickets are more affordable than ever.

Yet, despite the enthusiasm with which travellers board the plane, after a long-haul flight everyone has one collective thought: “Get me off this thing!”

Why, then, does it always take so long to disembark?

As a frequent traveller, I know the answer: Somewhere between take-off and landing, people seem to lose any shred of common sense.

And there’s justifiable reason, to a point.

That flying tin can that transports us to our much-anticipated destination can actually leave a lot to be desired.

The space between seats seems to shrink with each passing year, the food is abysmal, and my heart goes out to those who end up with a seat near the loos (and all of those pedants stretching their hamstrings with an intensity usually reserved for Olympic athletes).

Surely we all fly often enough these days to have figured out a few basic principles to make the experience less painful?

That’s not to say airport arrivals, check-in and the flight itself aren’t also fraught, but let’s hone in on the portion of the journey when our reserves of patience are at their lowest.

So, although they should go without saying, allow me to present “The Rules for Getting Off the Plane”:

1. When exiting the plane via the airbridge, follow Beyonce’s advice and move “to the left, to the left”. You may not be in a hurry but other people have flight connections to make.
2. Yes, your little darlings have been so good during the flight, and now they want to stretch their tiny legs. But rather than walking at a snail’s pace, four abreast, up the airbridge, maybe wait until you’re inside the terminal to let small children loose.
3. Do not take out your mobile phone and start the distracted, zigzagging, social-media-drunk walk up the ramp. Do not be that guy.
4. Waiting for someone in the bathroom? Don’t stand in the middle of the terminal, tutting as people trip over your ill-placed suitcase. Sidle up to a wall and allow the sea of humanity to flow past you.
5. Your whole party doesn’t need to stand right at the edge of the baggage carousel. If you’re in a group, bag retrieval is a job for whoever has the strongest arms. It’s best if everyone else stands back out of the way.
6. Collected your bag? Step away from the baggage carousel, so other people can collect theirs — do we really need to spell it out?
7. The baggage carousel is no place for kids. They’re rarely strong enough to lift a suitcase off the conveyor belt, and they invariably end up getting in other people’s way.
8. In case it still isn’t clear, for goodness sake, step away from the baggage carousel!

Collecting bags was never meant to be this difficult. See that line painted on the floor?

Stay behind it! If you do this, everyone can see the luggage filing past, everyone has room to step in and retrieve the pieces that belong to them, and no one needs to lose their mind.

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