In particular, the usual modus operandi for the average traveller seems to be:
- walk as slowly as possible
- check every seat for yours
- when you find your seat, stop in the aisle, then start looking for space for your barely-legal carry on bag
- after the bag(s) is(are) stowed, stop to admire surroundings
- contemplate degree of butt-squeezing needed to fit into seat
- take 20 last deep breaths
- watch people further from the window act surprised when you tell them your options are them to unbuckle, stow baby etc or else crowd-surf
- take seat, bitch about it
- wash, rinse, repeat
However, I propose using MATHS to address this problem. There is but one narrow aisle, and around 180 seats to be filled. Also, seats are numbered sequentially (skipping 13) from front to back, and lettered alphabetically from port to starboard. Every plane is the same - this isn't rocket science.
Therefore, approach the vicinity of your seat as quickly as possible. Once there, place bag on ANY empty seat nearby and get out of the aisle. From there, throw bag in overhead locker, or wait for a break in the traffic. While waiting, take your breaths, and indicate to fellow sardines where your butt is to be squeezed, so that they can prepare themselves (mentally and otherwise).
Finally, with grace befitting of a ballerina, park in your allotted space having not blocked the aisle with pointless shenanigans. My favourite method is the 'arm rest two step', also useful for late night toilet breaks on long haul flights. The rules dictate that you may not touch any part of anyone else's seat. Only your own seat, the ceiling, arm rests, and cabin floor is permitted. Convention maintains that a successful execution's celebratory grunts and yelps be kept to a bare minimum.
Therefore, if you, dear reader, cause an aeroplane traffic jam henceforth, you shall incur my mighty (though virtual) wrath.