It's survival of the fittest in this ill-tempered marathon, writes Kevin Pilley.
"Cabin crew: doors to manual."
The seatbelt buckles snap as the passengers jump into the aisle. And already there's a lot of jostling and jockeying for position as we await the start of the perennial, ridiculous, Disembarkation Derby.
There's a lot of head shaking as the First and Business-class passengers - the elite runners - get away first.
And back in Premium Economy, taking deep breaths and looking at her watch, we have the flushing filly in the Gant tartan, who's eager to get going. Behind her we have the Tommy Hilfiger clothes horse. And the long-nosed chestnut-maned mare who's already lathering up. Very irritable, she wants to get home.
And back in Economy, we've the man with the Dick Emery vicar teeth. The pre-race favourite because he drew the first aisle seat by the exit door. But he's just found out they'll be exiting upfront and he's already baulked by a very wide American. He's just come back from suspension after being cited for eye-gouging getting off a plane at Gatwick.
And there's the long-necked, tow-haired Nordic type, who did so well at O'Hare getting off the plane and through customs in a personal best time of 27m 46s. Behind him, it's the wimp in the neo-nerdy Moscot black specs. He's just back from injury after fracturing a cheekbone trying to disembark at Dusseldorf.
Travelling's become a very physical thing. Disembarkation's a brutal sport, worse than rugby league. Steroid abuse is rife.
These days, you have to bulk up to have any chance of getting off a plane quickly and in one piece. Last week, a weedy Belgian died after being stampeded by several mammoth Canadians disembarking a domestic flight from Winnipeg to Vancouver Island.
And there goes the woman who was caught with a pretend baby. Just so she can get off first.
And they're off!
And the daft Disembarkation Derby is under way. A classic spectacle of travel.
It's a quarter-mile course from Gate 32 to the baggage carousel. With lots of nasty corners. And stairs. And what an international field we have.
And it's Two-Rings-In-The-Eyebrow who makes the early move.
She doesn't even acknowledge the smiling cabin crew as she spurts from the door, closely followed by the man unpopular at school and now unpopular at work, and the man in the hat who doesn't like people to see how bald he is.
And there's a lot of ill-tempered pushing and shoving. People are standing up and getting in each other's way as they get their stuff out of the overhead locker.
Out front it's Elbow Patch. Right behind is the Dan Brown fan who tucks himself into the slipstream of Stuck-Up Black Trousersuit. Ken Follett's there too.
And it's the yob with the charnel-house armpits who pushes his way to the front a the lady in the leggings slips back and on the outside comes The Cleavage. And showing a great turn of speed is Sunbed Woman. She knows how to use that duty-free bag. Ow!
And as they race towards home, it's Conspicuously Moisturised Man who takes it up from Inorganic-looking Business Drone. And they're closely followed by Toothy Copperhead with the small, rodenty eyes.
And from the right, the Copenhagen flight joins the pack. And Madrid. And here comes Istanbul. Tiddly Red-Faced Man has gone! He's gone to the loo. High-breasted Long Legs strides to the fore, wearing lipstick reflecting her hope for the evening ahead.
And as they pass the Tiger Woods billboard, Ghastly Snob in the ham-and-egg MCC tie leads on the moving walkway. And Limping Man is boxed in. And the ill-looking bloke falls backs behind Bespectacled Twat. And Slim Square Briefcase.
And now it's the orange-haired girl in Bovver boots. But she's stopped by a wall of Japanese people. And now it's the man with James May hair and Richard Quest teeth.
He jinks. He sidesteps. He throws a great dummy and takes the pension expert who dresses like a pallbearer on the inside. And speeds past the property economist with the keg-like paunch.
It's going to be an exciting finish; they're all bunched up.
And now it's the J.K. Rowling reader breaking away from Andy McNab. And the bald fatty with "Rooney" across his shoulders is nowhere. I don't believe it! Here comes The Nun! It's anyone's race. The finishing line is in sight. But what's the rush?
There's a huge queue at Passport Control. And the baggage handlers are on strike.