Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The GREAT British Queuing Tradition

In Love Actually, as the Prime Minister, Hugh Grant says, “Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that.” Unfortunately the same isn't true of departures.

Coming back from Riga late on Sunday night, we arrived just over two hours before our flight, despite already having pre-printed boarding passes. We're always a tad paranoid and overcautious when flying but on this occasion our feelings were justified. The queue for Ryanair was enormous to check-in bags and ate up a lot of this time. Security was surprisingly painless, despite virtually needing individual changing rooms to meet their demands. It was at the boarding gate the whole experience suddenly became rather stressful.

Descending the stairs, we entered a small room rammed full of people reminiscent of a gig venue and moshing crowd. There were groups of passengers waiting for two different Ryanair flights who'd merged into one rowdy mess. The scene was stressful to watch from a distance let alone become a part of. Completely lacking any form of queueing system, people stood shoulder-to-shoulder awaiting instructions that never came.

Eventually one uniformed woman pushed her way through the irritable crowd and started pen marking checked boarding passes – a futile job without queues to track who has been checked and who hasn't. As she passed from passenger to passenger, rumours spread where each flight queue actually began and passengers frantically turned in different directions in order to avoid being at the back while others blatantly stormed towards the doors completely disregarding obstacles in their path – two men actually battered a toddler around the head with their luggage.

While I hate queues in England, I appreciate the fairness of them so found myself getting progressively more incensed by people feigning ignorance and unashamedly pushing in. But hey none of this matters when we land because after the famous fanfare sound we're told we've just had the privilege of being on yet “another on time Ryanair flight”.

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