Travel experts say always be the last person to board the plane, but what are the cons?

Travel experts share why boarding the plane last could have more advantages for you.
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For frequent travellers, getting the best seat possible and avoiding the chaos that comes with travelling in a packed aeroplane cabin are some of the most important things they consider.

Waiting to board the plane until the very end so you can get the best seat in the house seems to be one approach that could solve these issues. A savvy traveller, whose Instagram video has raked in thousands of views, said this method resulted in him securing a premium economy seat with more legroom.

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Instagrammer Lucas Chesterton shared a video of himself at the airport about to board a flight. He said: “Today I am going to share a little travel hack with you all. So, whenever you are waiting to board a flight, don’t stand up and line up like all of these guys, sit down, relax and be the last one on.

“Because when I know it’s the final call and nobody else is coming and I will go and scan in and then I walk on the flight I will look have a look around for two or three seats by themself because I know no one else is coming and i’ll take those seats and get a row to myself.”

But does this approach always work? According to Lonely Planet, the answer is yes, although many other frequent travellers would disagree as they could easily lose the space to store their luggage in the overhead bins.

Lonely Planet said: “Not only does waiting to board let you bypass the often stressful and crowded lines, doing so lets you enjoy more legroom, open seating, and less claustrophobia for a few minutes longer in the gate rather than the plane.

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“Remember, you still have a confirmed seat 10-15 minutes before the gate closes. This is especially true for people with checked bags, as security doesn’t want them separated from owners.”

Lonely Planet said while overhead bins may be full by the time you board, there are almost always a few spots left in overheads. It said: “If you made it through security en route to the gate, you have a confirmed seat and bag.

 Perks of boarding the plane last, according to travel experts. (Getty Images) Perks of boarding the plane last, according to travel experts. (Getty Images)
Perks of boarding the plane last, according to travel experts. (Getty Images)

“Of the dozens of final-call passengers interviewed, not one had their carry-on bag denied at the gate for boarding. In some cases, those bags got gate-checked when all overhead bins were full - but even then, there are almost always a few spots left in overheads.”

Although the ‘hack’ seems to work for many, other frequent travellers say this may not be a good idea, especially when you’re on a long-haul flight. On a Tripadvisor forum, travellers shared their thoughts of why this could be an ‘awful start’ to your trip.

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One said: “Nothing worse than finding no room for your hand luggage resulting in the flight attendant storing it 10 rows away making de-planing a nightmare. And being last to board and you are in seat J resulting in everyone having to move to get you to your seat, is an awful start to longhaul. Board early, find your seat and stow your luggage,switch on your Kindle and relax.”

Another traveller said this wouldn’t work for the economy class. They said: “Absolutely not in economy, and I very doubt a ‘seasoned traveller’ would do this unless they had minimal hand luggage.

“You’re hanging around at some place anyway, I’d rather be hanging round in my seat with a bag in the overhead without having to wander up and down the aisles looking for a space.

In my experience, many frequent flyers tend to board as soon as they can in order to grab the overheads and stuff their oversized and more than allowed bags in.”

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One agreed, saying they have now switched back to being among the first to board the flight. “Used to wait to board last or near the end - now I’d rather board first - that way I am sure of getting my carry-on stowed in a bin near my seat.

“I can sit down and not be pushed and jostled by everyone else - and can usually also get the flight attendants to snag an extra blanket or pillow, which are long gone by the time everyone else boards.”

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