If you're a frequent flyer, you know secrets to making your trip go smoothly. From choosing the right seat on the plane to navigating the airport when you're in a hurry, you've spent all that extra time during flight delays figuring out tricks to cut minutes off your time at the airport. We've been there, done that and there's still one thing that continues to frustrate passengers around the world — deboarding the plane. So what's the answer to the problem plaguing millions of tired and frustrated passengers? It's time for priority deboarding.
What Is Priority Deboarding?
Most airlines have priority boarding. For a fee, passengers can jump ahead of the line and board before other passengers. There are many reasons why passengers choose to upgrade to priority boarding. For some, it's all about convenience. Plenty of people would rather pay a fee than have to wait in line to sit on the plane. Another perk is overhead storage space. If you have ever been in the last group to board a plane, you know it can be difficult finding a spot near your seat to store your bag.
But what about priority deboarding? Priority deboarding, in essence, is priority boarding but flipped. Pay a fee and be one of the first to get off the plane. Right now, none of the major airlines offer priority deboarding. And really, there are no set rules for getting off the plane. At the end of the flight, it usually comes down to common courtesy. Line up single file from the front of the plane to the back of the plane and wait your turn. Of course, you will always have those few who grab their bags as quickly as they can and run to the front of the plane.
Who Would Want This?
We can hear you now: "Another fee for another service? No, thank you." Between baggage fees, priority boarding, and premium economy, we don't need another service to pay for. Just like priority boarding, priority deboarding would be an upgrade. For some people, they have no problem sitting in their seats until the people ahead of them get off the plane. So who would want this option?
Frequent flyers: When you have a job that requires a lot of traveling, it can feel like you are spending more time on the plane than you are working. For these people, the last thing they want to do is have to wait in line to get off the plane. It may be worth it to spend a few extra dollars to get straight off the plane before everyone else.
Flyers with short layovers: Sometimes we get stuck with layovers that only allow us hour or less to get all the way across the airport before the plane takes off. For these flights, every minute is valuable. In these instances, it only makes sense to pay for priority deboarding, rather than run across the terminal and potentially miss the plane. For more tips on how to handle a tight layover, click here.
Passengers with overnight or long flights: Does your flight land at 2:00 a.m.? Have you been on the plane for eight hours? Maybe it's worth it to upgrade to priority deboarding to be able to skip the line and get some rest.
The Benefits of Priority Deboarding
Okay. So we've talked about who might enjoy priority deboarding, but is there any reason why the average flyer might benefit? In addition to the perks discussed above, priority deboarding could have wide-range appeal to the average traveler as well. Let's take a look at a few potential benefits:
No stress for last-minute flight bookings: Sometimes we are able to plan our flight months in advance and get the seat that we want. Other times, emergencies or unexpected trips happen. This could mean you're stuck at the back of the plane. With priority deboarding, it doesn't matter where your seat is. If you want to skip the line, you could pay a fee.
Time to get your bag: What happens when everyone gets up at the same time to get their bag from the overhead bin? Some people get bonked in the head by someone that's not paying attention to where they are swinging their bag. Some people get stuck hunkered under the bin waiting for their turn to get their bag. And still, some have to wait for everyone to get off to make it rows ahead of them to retrieve their bag because the compartment above them was already booked. If you are tired of trying to snake your bag between other passengers' heads, this upgrade may be worth it to you.
More time to do what you need to do: Whether you have a short layover, need some breathing space, or want to get your cranky kids off the plane, sometimes you don't want to wait. This is the target demographic for priority deboarding.
Are People on Board With Priority Deboarding?
Would people actually use priority deboarding? Judging by a 2017 Reddit thread, the answer is, overwhelmingly, yes. Several people commented that it only makes sense to have the option to get off the plane first, with one person writing, "I have no idea why people want to get on the plane fast. I want to be on that plane as short of a time as possible."