I’ve taken more than a thousand flights and there is always one thing which baffles me. That is why do I have to get off the plane when it is on a stop over? There is a lack of consistency as to how passengers are treated by airlines or locations around the world.
My time as a frequent flyer has given rise to lots of different experiences. The most bizarre one I found was the Singapore Airlines flight between Manchester and Singapore. On this flight on both routes there is a stopover in Germany (I think it is Munich). Outbound on flights to Singapore we all have to get off the plane in Germany, wait at the gate then re-board.
However on the flight back from Singapore to Manchester we don’t HAVE to get off the plane in Munich then re-board. You can get off and re-board if you want to at your discretion.
On more than one occasion I’ve queried this with the flight crew. From the ones I’ve discussed this with, they are just as unsure of the reasons why as I am.
Reasons why I have to get off the plane
Now there are various reasons thrown around as to why you have to get off the plane. These include:-
- clean the plane
- change flight crew
- turnaround time
- regulations of the airport/country that the stopover airport is located
- airline policy
They all sound fairly sensible to me. The only problem is that in my thousands of flights I’ve seen inconsistencies which virtually everyone of these (just read my Singapore Airlines example above).
I have seen someone quote tax reasons as a possible explanation. As a passenger we just don’t know the ins and outs of the rules and are purely at the control of the airline probably for their benefit.
So you might think why am I so bothered about why I have to get off the plane. Well let me give you some reasons why.
Firstly, I might not want to. You can say there is a great opportunity to wander around the airport and stretch my legs. Yes that is true but I could wander up and down the plane. It is nice to have a choice.
Secondly it can often be at an ungodly hour. Sometimes no matter how comfortable the plane seat is I can struggle to get a good sleep. Also if the total journey is around 7-8 hours, breaking that up in the middle with a 1-2 hour stopover just ruins your sleeping pattern.
I would much rather stay in my seat and try to snooze for 40 minutes than go into the terminal and force myself to stay awake so I don’t miss boarding.
Thirdly there is the dreaded airport security. Don’t get me wrong I fully support the concept of airport security and know it is needed.
However I’ve been through security already to get on this plane. If I stay on the plane during the stopover how can my security risk change? What am I going to do?
If you make me get off the plane then you are also forcing me to take my carry on luggage with me to the terminal. Now I have responsibility to lug this around with me for an hour or two.
Then airport security can really peeve me off due their lack of consistency. Not only is this lack of consistency between countries and airports but lack of consistency between security staff at the same airport!
The rod that broke the camels back for me was a stopover flight about 10 years ago. The plane stopped somewhere in India (I think it was either Mumbai or Bangalore). First off the airport was pig ugly, a really awful place.
Then when I went through airport security one of the security staff confiscated the alkaline batteries from my camera! For some reason it is okay to have these batteries with me on the flight into India but not on the flight out.
There is also the hassle of queuing, removing your belts, shoes, computers, electronic devices and so on. This is a pain when I’ve already been through a security check at my starting airport. It’s not as if I’m even changing planes. Let me stay on the plane then I can’t pick up anything dangerous from the airport.
On a rare occasion you don’t have to go through security again, such as my earlier experience at Munich airport.
I must admit that now when I look at flight options I try to keep an eye out for any stops en route. If there are any then it is a major disincentive for me. I want to get on a plane and stay on it until the plane reaches the destination.
Please don’t make me get off the plane to get back on again. Let me rest, I’m too tired.