Etihad Airways economy class
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

“I Hope You Miss Your Connection”: What If Another Passenger Blocks Your Path Off of the Airplane?

“My coworker and his wife were in the window and middle seats of Economy Plus on a United mainline aircraft. A stranger was in the aisle seat. Nothing went awry during the flight, but upon gate arrival, my coworker stood up from his seat in a manner that apparently irritated the stranger. The stranger, an elderly person, griped: ‘A lot of other people on this flight are trying to make connections, too, and you’re not special.’

“I Hope You Miss Your Connection”: What If Another Passenger Blocks Your Path Off of the Airplane?

We have all been there at one time or another: the airplane has finally landed and pulled up to the gate late; and some passengers aboard the airplane are nervous about having a tight connection, hoping to catch the next flight in time — even if they have to run as fast as they can to the departure gate.

A member of the flight crew might have even announced that other passengers please allow those passengers with tight flight connections to leave the aircraft first — but there always seems to be at least one passenger who feigns ignorance and demonstrates blatant ignorance to the plight of fellow passengers.

“My coworker, a nice and non-confrontational (and non-arrogant) person, did not respond to this snide remark”, posted FlyerTalk member davie355, who imparted the first paragraph of this article here. “The stranger then purposefully remained still in the aisle seat, allowing everybody else on the plane to exit first. Despite being seated in Economy Plus toward the front of the plane, my coworker and his wife were the last passengers to disembark. In the jetbridge, the stranger lobbed one final comment: ‘I hope you miss your connecting flight.’

By the way, if you cannot access the FlyerTalk discussion via the aforementioned link, the reason is because since I began writing this article, the discussion was moved from the TravelBuzz forum to the OMNI forum, which is more restricted.


For the record — from my experience of being a gate agent for a day more than once — gate agents usually know whether or not you are at the airport once you have checked in somewhere in the system, as there is an indicator as to whether you will arrive at your flight on time…

…but they are also under pressure to ensure that an airplane departs on time for its scheduled flight. To hold the flight for a straggling passenger jeopardizes the on-time performance of the airline; and the gate agent responsible for a delay could be disciplined — which is the main reason why airplanes rarely wait for late passengers.

Discerning who exactly is telling the truth about having to catch a flight during a tight connection can be virtually impossible without asking to see the boarding pass of the passenger in question — and doing so would be none of the business of the person requesting it unless that person is a member of the flight crew…

…but to purposely stand in an aisle and block the egress of passengers out of spite is inexcusable. “”I would step over him like he did not exist” was the response of one FlyerTalk member. “Actually have done this couple of times.”

Another FlyerTalk member would threaten to have him arrested for false imprisonment; while another FlyerTalk member would simply elbow his way out of the airplane.

“Sir, I have a bladder issue”, posted one FlyerTalk member. “I’ve reached my limit to hold it and if I don’t get to a restroom in a few minutes I will have an accident.” Another FlyerTalk member added that he or she was about to vomit all over him if he does not get out of the way.

I personally would start with the polite and civil approach, which has worked for me in the past during those rare times when I had a tight flight connection and someone was blocking my way, as the person usually complied with my request.

What would you do?

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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