Will Airlines Start Charging New Fees to Get Off the Plane First?

Skift ran a piece, “The Next Great Untapped Airline Fee is Getting Off the Plane First” and it’s a rather silly idea even in a world of seemingly-silly fees.

Getting off the plane is just another stress point in the passenger experience, and some people would be willing to pay extra to get to the head of the line.

…In a recent OAG and FlightView survey of 2,339 users of the FlightView mobile app some 22 percent of respondents indicated they would be willing to pay a premium for “early deplaning privileges.”

This one will not happen. Not even on Spirit or Allegiant.

  1. It would be terribly difficult to enforce.

  2. It would increase the time it takes to deplane passengers.

Deplaning an Etihad Flight at a Remote Stand, Abu Dhabi

Let’s assume there was an easy way to handle the queuing of those who had paid a premium for early deplaning, the airline still won’t want to do it. It will be far more costly to the carrier that adopted such a policy than the revenue that would be raised.

The value of the plane, even for a short while, exceeds the fees you’d generate. If you increase the time it takes to turn an aircraft, you reduce its utilization, and need more planes to meet the same schedule.

What’s more, lengthier deplaning times mean a longer required minimum connection time (or more passengers missing their connections), which further reduces the efficiency of an airline operation, especially in a world of re-banking hubs.

Longer connecting times mean a given airline’s connections are less attractive when consumers are choosing whom to fly. Trips appear to take longer. Trips sorted by duration appear lower on the booking screen, even when price is the same. That means consumers are less likely to buy, so revenue for the airline is lower.

Deplaning an American Airlines Flight at a Remote Stand, Paris

The article does point out, though, that passengers are already paying a premium for early deplaning and in a manner not disruptive to airline operations which is probably the simplest reason there won’t be a discrete fee for it: “When airlines charge for seat assignments, the first rows in the cabin are sold for a higher price.”

That’s the only manner in which this hypothetical fee will manifest itself.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The ability to deplane earlier is built in to the advantages of sitting forward (which often does cost money or require elite status). Trying to enforce it independent of seating would be impossible.

  2. Dido what Questioner said. Sometimes when people try to sound smart they just sound stupid.
    Good article Gary with some good points made. The title had me a little worried.

  3. Yeah, this one is a stupid idea in a world of stupid ideas. You can’t even get enough people respectful enough of people who legitimately have a tight connection and need to start running the moment the door opens. And nevermind the situation that arises when someone pays to get off early and is in a window seat at the rear of the aircraft. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb

  4. There are many ways airlines can make additional ancillary revenue. For example, an airline could sell an option for coach passengers to have the opportunity to take a crap in the first class loo. For even more profit, an airline could sell an upgraded three poop punch card, with complimentary passenger poop priority designed for travelers always on the go.

  5. What’s really dumb is the continued use of the non-word “deplane”. It’s a stupid, made up word and should be stricken from our vocabulary. What’s the matter with “exit”.

  6. The other reason I wouldn’t ever see any real market existing for this is that despite taking ~30 minutes to board a plane, everyone gets off in about 5. So there’s really very little marginal gain to be had here, even if you figured out a workable way to monetize it.

  7. blacksheep , do you constantly search for flimsy excuses to be unhappy ? Just stop it ! Happiness is a choice . Or actually a continuing series of choices . The English language is constantly changing . The realistic choice is to be accepting of this change because you can’t stop it . ‘Exit the airplane ‘ or ‘ egress the conveyance’ or ‘evacuate’ or ‘bail out’ or ‘deplane’ is one phrase intrinsically better than the other ? If you can understand what is meant then why is it significant ?
    Choose to be HAPPY !

  8. I’m not getting ON the plane…I’m getting IN the plane! IN the plane! There seems to be less WIND in here!

  9. “Getting off first” really means getting on your way first. And yes, enforcing a deplaning order is challenging. But for flights on regional jets, they could easily charge for delivering your valet-checked rollerboard first….

  10. How about a fee that get’s your checked baggage to you at the moment you get to baggage pick up? No waiting at the carousel.

    Or a fee so you can ride those “beep beep” carts that seem to want to run me over anytime I have to deal with the Dallas airport?

  11. Just commenting to give a shout out to Captain Kirk for referencing one of George Carlin’s very best routines. 🙂

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