May 17, 2015

May 17, 2015

The Quickest Way to Get Off a Plane

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Sunday, Dab the AIDS Bear and I hope you are having a beary safe and great weekend so far. We are enjoying a nice peaceful weekend catching up on movies and television shows we have been wanting to see.

Luckily, we do not have to travel this weekend. We have several trips coming up including the AIDS Life Cycle (ALC) in California this month. So we have learned how to get off a plane (and through customs) quickly which I would like to share with you today.

It's possible: to deplane quickly with your personal items (and sanity) intact. Here are six steps to getting off the planeóand through customsóin 12 minutes. I have two great skills as a traveler: The first is my disciplined, even punitive, approach to packing. The second is my ability to get off the plane and through immigration in under 15 minutes (my all-time record: Narita, off the plane and through customs, in 12 minutes).

Sometimes, of course, thereís no quick way to make it through immigration: Different airports have gluts of incoming flights at different times of day, and short of rearranging your flight schedule to ensure youíll land at a low-traffic hour, thereís nothing you can do. On the other hand, there are some things you can in fact do in order to improve your chances. (And you donít need to belong to TSA PreCheck to do it.) Hereís how itís done.


Yes, it helps if youíre sitting near the front of the plane, and yes, you have a head start if youíre in business or first class. But itís not necessary. What isnecessary is that you have everything set and ready to go, so youíre not one of those people fumbling around in the aisle, stuffing their magazines and makeup bags back into your carry-on. Right before the plane begins its descent, move your bag in the overhead bin so its handles are easy to grab. Put away everything you took out over the course of the trip. This is your big opportunity to get all of your belongings in orderónot when the plane lands.


As soon as the plane touches down, settle your purse (or whateverís under the seat in front of you) in your lap. Take out your passport and landing card and hold it in your hand or slip it in your pocket (obviously, you shouldíve filled these out as soon as you got them).


Once the seatbelt sign goes off, get into the aisle and scoot as far ahead as you can. This is sort of obnoxious, but on the other hand, youíre keeping the traffic moving and not blocking the lane out of some misguided and antiquated sense of politeness. No one benefits from your dawdling.


The most important rule: Donít be one of those people lingering for who-knows-what in the ramp or ambling like cows about to be sent up the chute. Walk briskly, as briskly as you can. Stick to one side of the ramp so you wonít impede the flow of traffic. Donít make a call; it slows you down, and youíll have plenty of time to make your call later. Donít let yourself get stuck walking behind someone poky. (Added benefit: The burst of cardio after a sustained period of sitting is highly refreshing.)


...but keep moving on them. This means escalators, moving sidewalks, etc.: Get on them, but donít slow down the pace.


Once you join the queue for the immigration line, pay attention to what the expeditor tells you. Have your papers ready. Donít have your cell phone out. Take off your hat. Open your passport to the page with your photo and present it to the immigration officer already open. If you have a visa you have to present upon entry, flag that page with a sticky note so itís easy for the officer to find.

Bonus step: Brag about your victory to your friends and coworkers until they all want to kill you. Then brag about it to strangers.

Hope you have a beary safe and great Sunday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab