After years of flying experience, I think I’ve devised a solid metric people can follow to determine if they’re deplaning efficiently.

It’s simple.

There should always be someone in the aisle walking toward the door to leave the plane. Period.

That’s it.

It’s tougher at first, because there’s so little room between those first rows that are getting off the plane. But as you get into the fourth, fifth, and sixth rows, it should be easier to maintain that kind of flow.

When a plane gets to the gate, usually the people in the aisle shoot right up and start getting their stuff in order. It’s more difficult for those in the middle or window seat to be immediately prepared.

But as people leave, those on the aisle can head toward the door and keep the line moving. As they get closer to the exit, that should have been enough time for the person in the middle, and maybe the window, to get their things and proceed down the aisle.

If we can make this part of the pre-flight presentation, I think we can save a lot of people sitting in the back of the plane wondering why it didn’t occur to half of the travelers on the plane that there’s going to come a time when they have to get off.